part twenty-three

In August of 1994, I threw my mom out of my house. (This is a bit of a backtrack in my story. It’s an important piece of it though.)

I’d been having some severe nightmares and not sleeping well at all. My mom showed up one day and invited herself in. I didn’t feel up to company but there was no telling my mom ‘no’. She was playing with the girlies and asking me questions about what I’d been up to. I guess I didn’t volunteer enough information because I could see her getting more and more frustrated.

Finally, I broke down and just said “Look, Mom, I’m not sleeping well because I’m having nightmares that don’t stop. Let’s just leave it at that.” She couldn’t or wouldn’t leave it at that. I’m sure now that she meant well and really wanted to help me. I’m also sure she had no clue how to do that. She kept pushing me about what the nightmares were about. I ended up telling her.

“Mom, you remember the husband you had who locked me in the closet while you were gone? Locking me in the closet isn’t all he did. That’s what I’ve been dreaming about.” She stared and me and replied “What?” I said “Mom, that guy wasn’t just locking me in the closet while you were gone.” It seems now that my mom was simply unable to comprehend or accept that someone she was married to would hurt me like I was suggesting he had. She kept saying “What are you saying, Traci?” over and over.

I had to say at last “Mother! Your husband raped me!” I was shaking pretty badly by then. My husband was home and walked into the kitchen at that time. My mom looked at me and said, in one of the coldest voices I’d ever heard out of her, “So? You’re a grown woman now. GET OVER IT!”

Even now, 13 and a half years later, I can feel the snapping that I felt inside me that day. I literally felt something snap inside me. I looked up, directly into my mother’s eyes and said “You need to leave now.” She couldn’t believe it. It was as if her face changed before my eyes. I witnessed the transformation in total disbelief. She began spewing the most vile words at me.

I cannot write them yet. After all this time, I still cannot write them down. I’m not sure I even remember all of them. Mom was as angry as I ever consciously remember her being. As I’m writing these words today, I can ‘see’ the dining room table and how the August sun poured through the window and played on the table. I can see my then 22 month old daughter playing with her Granny at that table and even what my baby was wearing that day. I can ‘hear’ my two older girls playing in the family room and ‘feel’ the breeze through the windows.

I can also feel my determination; my resolve to take care of myself before taking care of my mother that day. It was an important turning point for me. Now, looking back, I’m sure the choice I made on that August day all those years ago, enabled me to finally hit bottom 7 months later and then choose not to give up.

I reminded my mother that I’d asked her to leave. She stood up in stunned disbelief and said something about a religion that would allow it’s members to keep grandchildren and grandparents apart. I let her know that I didn’t believe this argument of ours had anything to do with my religion; told her I loved her; that I’d always be available for her; and that right now I needed to take care of myself. I advised her that if she showed up again at my home uninvited I would have her escorted away by the police and then I told her that R would escort her to her car. She protested the entire way out the door. My husband was in rare form that day. It was one of the fist times I’d ever had him back me up and help me in a way that was truly helpful. He walked my mom to her car, explained that yes, I did mean what I said and that he supported me.

The next day I had our phone number changed and that was the beginning of what would be four years without seeing my parents or any of the family members that are now, in 2008, completely pissed off because I didn’t hold this year’s Christmas party. Life is weird.

to be continued

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Something fragile inside every child shatters when trust is broken to that degree by your mommy. I am SO sorry for that hurt.

    You are amazing, Traci. I keep telling you that, and it keeps being true. What a journey you’re traveling! Wishing you continuing strength for your journey, and pleasant company for the road ahead. Hugs to you, love.

    Reply

  2. Traci, I am so sorry she said that to you. I thought to myself, “Lady, you relinquished your Mom’s club card the day you said that to her.” Maybe she forfeited that honor before that day. I know that you went on to have a relationship with her. You have managed to not only survive, but transcend. Many things and people, in many ways. I do so admire and respect you.

    Reply

  3. Traci, you’re right, life can be weird. But that doesn’t translate to *you* are weird. Not at all. You are so brave and unbelievably normal. I’m in awe at your strength about this. You have my heart to carry in your pocket for warmth whenever you need it.

    Reply

  4. Get over it, huh? Nice. I’m so sorry you had to hear such a thing from your mother. I know what that kind of betrayal does. Mine said, “You should be ashamed of yourself.” You sure we’re not related, Traci?

    Reply

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