This is my mother and my father. My sister Jeannie found these pictures. My mom is in a real kitchen. My dad is in a fake prison.
Last night I was trying to convince my mom that she needs to see people, get out of the house, do something that will take the place of the job she no longer has. Her memory is going quick, and I feel she needs to keep her brain active. She pointed her face towards the ground and spoke quietly under her breathe, as if to herself, but I was listening, and I heard her words.
She said, “I’d love to write a book, maybe about my life, but it’s not so interesting. I wouldn’t know what to write.”
I said, “Mom your life is definitely worth writing down, just start making a list of things you’ve done and you and I can hash them out later.
She restated that there really isn’t anything to say.
Mom, I would love to know more about your life before your kids were born, just your experiences alone before you were a mother would, I’m sure, make a fascinating story. But take that out of the equation and just remember the things you have done since, for others, at the sacrifice of your own wants or needs:
1. Dad left you with 5 kids to raise on your own. You had to go out and find yourself a new career on your own, to keep us fed and clothed. How did that feel?
2. Dad was married and divorced prior to you and he married two more times after you, and you never remarried. You barely even dated. Why was that?
3. Our house and lives were chaos, and you kept it together, even while two angry sons, going through their own personal hells, were taking drugs, beating each other up, and bashing down walls, and breaking doors. You had a teenage daughter too. She was lost and trying to find herself. The arguments with her were less violent but just as epic. We are stubborn and proud. And on top of that you had two younger children that you had to keep close and keep safe. You remained calm and loved us all. And even invited some of our friends to live with us, to keep them safe from their own fucked up situations and families. Many of those friends STILL ask about you and visit you, and think of you as their mother. What do you suppose that is all about?
4. Years and years later when dad got sick you took him back into the house and you nursed him until his death. That couldn’t have been easy. He lost his mind and could barely change his own clothes. You helped him to keep his dignity in the last days. Why did you do that?
5. Dad had three other wives, why didn't they do what you did?
6. You befriended Dad’s first wife. You two became best friends. That alone is a story in itself. What did you two talk about? What brought you together?
7. You not only became her best friend, but you were put in charge of her finances and legal affairs when she started to shows signs of Alzheimers. You were there as she slowly became a shell, and didn't know who you were anymore. You had to take care of the bills afterwards and helped to put her to rest with her only daughter.
8. Her only daughter, Nancy, died right when she was getting sick. You helped to take care of Nancy before your own children were born. Her death alone was hard on both of you. But having to deal with your best friend, her mother, losing her memory and asking you constantly when Nancy was going to visit. That couldn’t have been easy.
9. You visited her every day, as your own health declined. And now your best friend is gone and your own memory is fading. Mom? That has to hurt.
10. You have lived an important life, Mom. And you didn’t have to be famous or controversial to have lived a life worth writing down. You are more important than that.
This is my short story of my mom’s more detailed story. I did not say all of this as eloquently, to her, in real life, but I think the feeling was there. Maybe someone, maybe even me, will read it to her, for the full affect.