Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sleepless on Mother's Day

Tylenol PM has been a trusty friend to me over the last few months... and rarely lets me down.  Until tonight.  Instead of a deep, peaceful sleep, blissfully sucking air out of the C-PAP machine purring quietly in my nightstand, I'm sitting at my computer, restless, with a ponderous weight on my mind.

It's Mother's Day, 2015.  And this may surprise you, but this isn't about my mother.

No, it's about another mother.  The mother of my children.  My sweet wife.

Later on this morning, while mothers the world over are being pampered, indulged, and showered with love and attention, my sweet wife has yet one more annual reminder of the mean-spiritedness and vindictiveness of her oldest two children... another opportunity to wipe tears from her eyes and pretend that her heart is not permanently broken.  For reasons only known to the Almighty, my wife's oldest children have turned their backs on her and have shut her completely out of their lives.  For over 14 years now.

It would be understandable if she were able to point to some huge fight, tragic event, or life-changing incident to explain how this could possibly be, but neither of us can.  It is nothing more nor less than selfish vindictiveness, cruelty and spite.  It is evil and Satanic.  And utterly unforgivable.  And every year, we unwillingly are forced to relive this particular train-wreck in all of its technicolor glory and emotional gore.

A little back-story might help.

When my wife and I married in March of 1997, she had five children by a previous marriage.  The oldest daughter, Michele, was 14.  A strong-willed, intelligent young woman, Michele had happily and eagerly settled into the role of quasi-parent after my wife divorced her then-husband, a mean-spirited and abusive husband and father, who would later commit suicide.   My wife had just completed court reporting school, and Michele took on a significant amount of responsibility after her parents divorced.

And that's when it all started to go South.

When my wife and I married, all of a sudden Michele was no longer in the "inner circle" of parenting... and became deeply resentful and angry.  This anger seethed under the surface until she left our home around 4 years later.  Even though her anger smoldered over the next several years, my wife was still invited to be a part of her life.  Then, almost out of the blue, Michele changed her mind about having a relationship with her mother.  Apparently, she decided that her mother should be "punished" for replacing her as a quasi-parent with a real one.  For no apparent reason, she shut her mother out of her life completely, and to this day refuses to speak to her, or to allow her mother to see or have any relationship with her grandchildren.

I've agonized over this over the years... a lot... trying to wrap my arms around how a grown child could be so cruel to their own flesh and blood for no other reason than to "get even" for a perceived slight this ridiculous.  And I've failed.  I just don't get it.  It's beyond my comprehension and experience.  It's foreign territory.

In my world, families stick together.  They get mad, angry, bent out of shape, butt-hurt, whatever... but time heals all wounds, and the day invariably comes when things are made whole again... apologies are extended, forgiveness is granted, and feelings are mended.  Not in this case, however.

There is nothing in the world more difficult, I don't think, than watching someone you love grieve and suffer under the constant, oppressive pain of being rejected by their own child for no particular reason.

As I settle into my annual analysis paralysis regarding this travesty and what to do about it, I invariably draw a blank.  I'm a typical guy who likes to "fix things," and to make things right.  And yes, I'm well aware that "It's not about the nail!" for those who have seen that rather painfully accurate Facebook video.  But I have no clue what to do about this.  I'm out of my league here.

My wife and I have been married for 18 years now.  And tonight, as I have every Mother's Day for the last 13-14 years, I sit here agonizing over how this could possibly be, and why a child could be that emotionally abusive to someone who doesn't deserve it, and who sacrificed everything for them.  How can any rational person find nothing wrong with inflicting unspeakable pain on those who love them... just for spite?

Tomorrow, life will resume.  We will bustle about, tending to our jobs and family, and life will go on.  But for right now, in the quiet of the butt-crack of dawn, at O' Dark Thirty, my heart breaks again for my sweet wife and what she has been made to endure.

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