It's me, Lula.
I can't believe it's already been 2 years since you died. When I was taking care of you those last days I was so exhausted it felt like it was going on forever. Then poof!-it's 2 years later.
I feel like a completely different person than the one you knew. In some ways I'm kinder and more tolerant, and in other ways I'm a complete bitch. Well, bitch may be too strong of a word. I'm learning how to stand up for myself and not tolerate any bullshit from people. I still don't always say the right thing when I'm defending myself, but at least I have the courage to try it now.
I've lost those pesky 20 pounds that were hanging around my middle. I know you always thought I beautiful-I remember being very embarrassed on several occasions when you would introduce me as "This is my tall, beautiful, blond daughter, Lula". Thanks for that, by the way. I don't know what you would think now-given my history you would probably say I was too thin. But don't worry Ma-I'm surrounded by people who love me, and they won't let me get too skinny without staging an intervention.
Oldest had another son shortly after you died-I can't remember if I've told you that. I haven't even met him yet, and he'll be two at the end of the month. Oldest says he looks just like me-remember the baby picture where I'm shaking the prescription bottle? Spitting image! Between money, health issues, work, etc...we haven't been able to make it down. But we're going in June-I'll give them your love. Oldest is doing quite well with his business too. I've always said he was a musical genius, and as busy as his studio has been, other people think it too.
Youngest is turning into quite the little musician in his own right. I don't know where these children came up with this musical ability-it must skip a generation. Anyway, he sings, and plays guitar, and I think once his voice changes, with a few lessons, he could be very good. You should see him Mom-he's an inch taller than I am! He would tower over you, just like I did at his age.
Hubbs and I are doing quite well. It's taken us a few years, but we seem to have settled into a pretty good groove. We never have enough time together, but it is making us appreciate the time we have much more. Plus, we have stopped playing the blame game in our marriage-we have both learned to admit when we're wrong, and it's really helped.
I'd like to say I'm doing great, but on the eve of your death anniversary I don't know if I can give a fair assessment. My depressions seem to occur farther apart, but they seem to last longer and hurt more too. And my mania-I get mini spells at least once a week. I think it's why I'm so tired all the time-it's hard keeping up with my brain. But, I have learned to not let my self destructiveness and fear of abandonment run my life anymore. For the most part anyway. It's helped.
Newman died. It crushed me,Ma-I felt like he was my last link to you. Then I realized that letting go doesn't mean I'm forgetting, it means I'm getting on with my life. I've applied that theory to quite a few things regarding you, our relationship, and your death.
I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this, but I'm starting to believe you really did the best you could, and what you thought was right. I believe when you had me committed and when you put me in foster homes you thought you were doing what was best. You knew you weren't a good mother, and the only logical thing (to you) was to give me to someone who was better equipped to raise me. I appreciate the thought behind it, I really do. But I would have rather stayed with you. And you know, children do follow in their parent's footsteps. I think that's why I made the same decisions when my children were young. I have a hard time forgiving you for the way I was raised, but I think I understand now. Does that make sense?
I appreciate all the things you did for me when I was in the midst of my madness. You held me when I cried, yelled at me when I needed it, and (as an adult) never, ever gave up. Thank you so much for that. I could not have handled one more rejection at that point in my life.
I still think of you every day. In the mornings when I'm trying to do my hair, or think of what shoes would go best with this shirt-I think "God, why couldn't I have had a mother to teach me these things?" As you know, I went into foster care right about the age when a girl is learning all the fashion/hair/makeup tips that moms teach. And then I remind myself how far I've come, and how I really appreciate and like who I am right now-would I really change it? I don't honestly know. Changing just one thing could have made me a completely different person-I don't know if I'd be willing to give up all the pain for the lessons I have learned.
I'm surrounded by a wonderful batch of women. Becky and I have renewed our friendship, I've made a new friend, and I've cut ties with the ones who hurt me. I wish you could meet Little Wing. She's so grounded and strong-I think it would make you feel good to know I have people like her in my life. And Becky-she's going through a lot of the same things you did-did she make the right choice regarding her daughter? Does it make her a bad person that she's decided to let someone else raise her? Questions we may never know the answer to, but bottom line-bad decisions do not make you a bad person. Wow. It took me 40 years to learn that. This new self awareness I have still trips me out every day.
And blogging-it's strange how you find acceptance, love, and support in the strangest places. If you were here, I think this is something you could get into. Anonymous posting of your feelings-some people are supportive, some people suck, but there is such a sense of freedom in just writing it. I could totally see you doing it.
I love you Mom. I really do. I was going to tell you what my biggest regret is in relation to you, but you know what? I don't have one. Well, that may be a lie. I regret the stupid things, like not wanting you to smoke when you had about 2 weeks left to live (who knew!), and saying I'm sorry I never became the person I would have liked you to see, but I accomplished that. When you died, I had just bought a house, I was in a happy marriage, and I had a great relationship with my children. I also had the chance to thank you, and tell you even though you made mistakes, you did the best you could and I like who I am. I didn't really believe it at the time, but now I realize the things I thought I was saying to you to make your passing easier are actually true.
When I think of your death, the thing that stands out the most is when the coroner came, and the hospice worker told me I didn't want to see them load your body onto the stretcher and out of the house. I walked into the kitchen and kept my back turned, then suddenly I realized this would be the last time I would ever feel your warmth, your body, YOU-I ran into the living room, screamed "Wait!", threw my arms around you, and just let the tears and feelings go. I held you, and talked to you, and told you how much I love you and how much you would be missed. I bring up that memory and it's like yesterday-I still physically feel the pain of having to act like an adult and pull myself off of you so they could take you away. I look at myself in that memory, and I feel so bad for that poor little 38 year old girl. But, strangely enough, it is one of the memories that I treasure the most.
I love you Mom. I'll see you, someday.
P.S. I apologize for your ashes still being hidden in my closet. What does one do with the ashes of a loved one? It will come to me, I'm sure. But if you could send me a sign, that would be great.