In 2000 my grandmother turned 80.
Our family gathered, we traveled 400 miles to see her and my mom was there along with her husband. I don't remember if she lived there or back in Wyoming at that time. I remember the photos of everyone around grandma, she wore a red sweater, she had lovely white hair and she smiled. That makes me laugh because grandma didn't have a natural smile for photos, a stiff, teeth bearing almost painful grimace. We would all laugh at it because she had a natural lovely smile, but, when the camera came out....it disappeared.
My aunt orchestrated the in-law and outlaw photo sessions poking fun of those married in, as she was. It made no matter, my aunts and uncles through marriage our as much our blood as anyone could ever be. I really don't remember a lot about the visit other than it was a nice time and it was the last time I saw my mother.
No. She is still alive.
As a mother of two the thought of not seeing my child for sixteen years...sixteen! I would be heartbroken, deeply heartbroken. As a grandma to an angel baby I would give anything that my daughter never would have had to go through that heartache, that I also could have never felt that deep piercing pain. I would move hell and high water to see my child, to hug them, to tell them I loved them. I would slay any dragon for my son and my daughter.
But that is not so for my mother. She was content to not see me, and so I became safe in not seeing her. We talked from time to time, less frequently as the years faded away. Phone calls were stressful. When you speak with a narcissist, you walk a fine line, you must not offend which means you cannot disagree- with anything. You must praise, repeatedly, every thought they have, you must compliment every act they have achieved and you must NOT expect any accolades for yourself. In fact, when talking to a narcissist you need to just leave yourself behind. Our calls were nothing more than her complaining about who did what to her, how awful so and so was and a myriad of hypochondriac complaints.
How can you not see your child or how can you not see your parent for sixteen years when you live a few states away? That alone seems surreal.
I remember her taller than me by two inches, with over processed, curly, usually brown hair. She had more hair colors, styles and home perms than any head of hair should ever go through. She wasn't big but she wasn't small, if that makes sense. She had a large smile and it showed her teeth and gums, that is what my memory stored and my photos show.
As time slipped, so did she. Imagine my surprise when a photo of an old white haired frail woman came to my phone.
My uncle intended to move her to his home town, about half way between her and I. The move did not go well and resulted in her now being 100 miles away from me,
in the state psychiatric hospital.
Saturday my husband and I went to an estate sale in a small town, as I walked out of the cafe my phone received a text. My aunt sent a photo.....
it was a woman with my grandma's white hair, deep wrinkles and she was small, very small.
I stopped on the sidewalk, the comment said, "she is having a good day today"
Had I not known who sent that photo, had I sat next to that woman in the cafe, had I walked by her on the street, I would not have known her. I would not have known my own mother.
I do not know my own mother, and my mother does not know me.
My breath was gone, my words were stuck and my eyes were full of tears.
A deep bizarre moment happened, a bewildering acknowledgement of just that.....I do not know that woman in the photo.
Sixteen years and one hundred miles later-
I went to see her.
part two http://shannonspigtales.blogspot.com/2016/11/sixteen-years-later-part-2-visit.htmlHERE