After recovering from my kidney rejection, I dared to visit my Mom every once a year or so around the holidays. When I visited, I was placed into baby-sitter role so my Mother and her husband had time to go out and fall in love all over again. My Mom would brainwash me with lies that her and I would spend quality mother-daughter time together when I visited, but we never did. She would say: “Oh, yes, yes, Mary-ah, we will spend time together. Whatever you want to do. We will go watch movies or eat whatever you want just you and me,” but then never follow through.
However, whenever I returned back home to my Dad from a visit that entailed me taking care Lea or when I saw her and my Mother bond or my Mother and her husband bond and dealt with their extremely religious practices, I was numb with grief and confusion. A week’s visit with my Mother, her husband, and Lea resulted in a week’s worth or longer of me so emotionally exhausted and downright miserable. Wasn’t I doing enough as a good daughter and good sister? What more did I have to do to show my love for my Mom and Lea? What else could I do to make things right with my Mother that I could not make right from my childhood past of sickness? How much longer was I going to be punished for being born sick and screwing up my entire family? What could I do for my Mom to just love me? To make matters worse, my Mother’s religious antics became more extreme. When I visited her, she had Lea and me almost at the crack of dawn to pray. She was reading the Bible to Lea and teaching her how to kneel and behave properly in Church and when in prayer. I felt that I had to be a sinner because praying, the Church, and God made me feel uncomfortable and frightened.
The emotional and mental turmoil I went through after a visits with my Mom would then hit my Father who fed me continuous pep talks that there was no need for me to feel guilty because I was growing up and there was going to come a time that I made my own choices about who to have and who not to have in my life, and that included family. By the time Lea was 3-years-old and I was 15-years-old, I was slowly coming to grips with the harsh truth that I did not want to see my Mother anymore.
The event that finally severed ties with my Mom was when I had an explosive encounter with her at her house. I was at least 15-years-old. It was an event just waiting to happen. I can barely recall where Lea and her Father were. They were probably out together and it was just my Mom and I, which was rare. I just remember that my Mom was sitting on her bed with a empty expression on her face. I went to sit next to her. Her thick hair was a knotted mess, her eyes were bloodshot, and her face was all wet. She was hugging herself.
All I knew was that I was scared. Very scared.
I honestly should have known better than to shout back, but anger outweighed fear and my immediate reaction to my Mother was, “Do you know what I’ve been through?! You were never there for me when I had my second kidney transplant! You were never there for me when I thought I was going to lose my kidneys! You were never there for me when I was recovering! You were never there for me when I needed you and when everyone else had or has a mother and I don’t! When I come here, it is just all about you and your family and you say stuff like we will spend time together, but we never do. You say that you want a mother-daughter relationship, but then you just push me away or just screw things up! Why do you do that?! Why are you this way?! ”
And, the next day came and it was as if nothing happened, but that memory always stayed with me that my Mother had issues that I could not solve or take care of. I could not be a mother to my mother, and I could not be a mother to Lea. All these years, I believed that if only I was the good daughter and good sister that I could make up for a lost and painful past, finally have real relationships, and save my Mother in the process, but I was no one’s savior as my Dad had instilled in me.
For the first time, I believed her when she said that she loved me.
**denotes made-up name to protect individual's privacy