Wednesday, May 23, 2007

She wanted to be a writer

Most of her writing consisted of excuse notes or forms to sign for school for 4 children, doing the crossword puzzles that consumed her interest for a while, and making out grocery lists that were neatly divided into categories for Dairy, Meats, Dry goods, Frozen, Produce, and Misc. I can still see the writing in those grocery lists, with her distinct handwriting.

She may not have gotten that short story published or written a great American novel, but she was my mother. She lived, hoped, and dreamed of doing something big. Raising 4 children in a middle class family with all the stresses led her down the path of prescription drugs. One drug helped her lose weight and the other helped calm her nerves. She lived in a time when black beauties were readily prescribed as a diet aid.

The diet pills did more damage than good. She never acheived the svelte figure of her dreams. She lost her hair. Her nerves got worse and worse. She lashed out while trying to stop taking the pills. She lamented her marriage wasn't as good as she wanted it to be, all the while snapping pictures of the kids to help document the "happy family". She coped the only way she knew.

She belonged to a church that was kind of a legacy. Her parents raised her in that church, and she was going to stay, even if she didn't fully believe in it. Her attempts to fit in at church and in othe social situations often fell flat. She was inclined to fabricate or exaggerate stories to help her self esteem. She never drove the family car, something that I cannot imagine not doing myself.

She eventually fell heir to the family disease - diabetes, losing a leg and becoming bed ridden. Television became her closest companion and best friend. She died on May 6th, 2007 alone in her bed in a nursing home. She spent her last year there, because she had become unmanageable in her own home.

She may not have been a great writer, but she will not be forgotten. I can only hope she is happily resting in peace with my father and my late brother. I love you, Mom.