Thursday, March 23, 2006

Walls Fall Down

When I was around 8 or 9 my mother was diagnosed with some serious medical problems. She needed surgery & then spent the better part of a year undergoing various kinds of treatment. Before that, I knew my mom was different. At least I believed so because I was too young to really understand the show people put on for the sake of others. I was sure that ours was the only screwed up family in the neighborhood. Now I remember back & things pop into my head that make me believe many families were just as messed up. When she got sick my brother & I knew it was serious but we also knew she would eventually be ok. I don't think that anything could have prepared me for actually watching her struggle to get better. So many days she was too exhausted & too physically depleted to even get up & down the stairs. Many times she was admitted to the hospital for more intensive treatment & so that someone could keep a close eye on her condition.

Up until that point in my life, I knew that our homelife was dicey. I knew that she & my father fought horribly & I understood as much as a kid with no other experience to draw from can, that dad treated her pretty badly. Mom was the anchor for my brother & I. She did everything for us. Took on all of the parental responsibilities and seemed happy to do so. Even on her worst days she never, ever made us feel like a burden of any kind. When she first got sick she tried so hard to keep up with us & to keep all of our lives running just as they had before. it was just impossible to do that though. I look back now & realize what a bundle of energy she was to juggle us, work, the house and all the extra stuff without complaining. our lives sort of came to a halt as did hers for awhile.

Her focus on family & mini escapes couldn't continue because she was just too sick. Her thirst for books & knowledge was lost and replaced with a need for sleep. Instead of comforting herself, lost in the pages of a good read she had no choice but to rest. Her only respite became sleep & dreams were her most frequent distraction.

She slowed down physically & mental illness flooded her. She spent years keeping it at bay, fighting for every bit of control over it but once her defenses had to drop, there it was.

My brother & I watched mom fight to regain her physical health but the Schizophrenia was impossible to deny. I mean it was impossible. As her body got stronger so did her delusions. To see part of her healing while another part seemed to break a bit more each day was so painful.

She could save her body but the whole process cost her something almost more valuable, her mind.

5 Comments:

Anonymous caseyswife said...

Dearest Bobby -

Sounds like your Mom is one tough lady. Even though she is where she is today, she fought hard to maintain you & your brothers' security and happiness. The fact that she couldn't stem the tide of such a devestating illness doesn't - and shouldn't - take away all the battles she has won.

Let the positive memories of your Mother be a source of strength and compassion for you, Bobby.

You and your Mother are always in my prayers -

caseyswife

11:50 AM  
Blogger VDOFan said...

It could also cost her, her children, who she loves and adores the most. And no one wants that. Mental Illness is very difficult to deal with,I sufferfrom depression and anxiety and My kid is what makes me truly happy and able to get up everyday.. If it wasn't for her, I would just let it get the best of me.

Our kids make us fight "this illness" and it makes us want to keep doing everything "normal" and try to keep everything running smoothly as if nothing has changed, and as if nothing has happened. And that's what your mom tried and wanted to do for both of you. Despite the fact, that your father was an ass.

Delusions become part of your reality, and it's hard sometimes to live with them, and getting lost in sleep, is sometimes the only way that she can deal with it. instead of her love of books.

I am sorry for everything you had to endure as a child.. But just know that your mother truly adored and loved you guys, and did everything to try to make everything normal even when you and she knew it wasn't. If she could've, She would've put off the illness as much as she could,til you were all grown, and lead normal lives. But we're not God or miracle workers with the illness, and that couldn't happen, but she did do her best. and you have to give her credit for that;)

Hugs to you Bobby and your mom..and BogusBoobs too!

Janice

1:24 PM  
Blogger Riccie said...

Part of the reason I was 'cheated' out of my childhoon is because of my mom's mental illness. I hold no angry towards her for that-this was beyond her control. I get that from you through your writings, and it is good to see. So many kids grow up and remain furious with a parent who, through no fault of their own, is mentally ill.

2:37 PM  
Blogger ann said...

... and Bobby, you must never ever forget how good she was and try to focus on the good times. The more you talk about her, the more I love and admire your mother ... she's a remarkable woman and I don't believe, even if you had the chance, you would want anyone else.

lotsa luv ann xxxxxx

3:38 PM  
Blogger The Rev. Dr. Kate said...

Bobby, you have worked so hard to understand what your Mom has gone through and you have loved her and will continue to. Your Mom has struggled and she did her very best. That you are the man you are is testimony that she did her mothering well enough. She is/was human and like many women of her generation, I suspect she took much of the blame for the "dicey" situation at home upon her own shoulders, always putting the needs of her children first. It took its toll on her both physically and mentally.
None of that changes the way things were for you - what you experienced. Can you look back on the little boy you were with the same compassion and understanding? You talk about what you "knew" about your family life as a boy. Can you talk about how that boy felt? I think that might help you work through things . . .Stay with it - sometimes the only way out is all the way through.
You and your Mom continue in my prayers. (And how is she doing with the meds?)
Kate+

5:03 PM  

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