Sunday, May 10, 2009

From Imaginary To Real Life Heroes (Part Four)

It took me about 10 months to sift thru the crumbling debris of my brain. To unravel a part of me that I thought I had long forgotten about. I began to see the light again and was able to come to grips with a lot of things. Having people asking me the right questions at the right times and showing an enormous amount of patience when I chose to clam up. Letting me know that it wasn't my fault. That it was okay to feel and to cry. It was time to move on and so I did. Slowly. That was in the summer of 1996.

When I was told that I would have to decide to cut the ties of some of the people in my life, I was very deliberate about that. Too the extreme so it seems. I never spoke to my mother again at least not in a normal fashion. After about a year or two, I was in a bit of a turmoil. Every year on her birthday or at Christmas I would get as far as picking up the phone, punching in her number but then hanging up before the call went thru. It became my greatest fear and I remember telling a close friend that if would probably crush me if she were to die without me ever speaking to her again. Yet every year I went thru the same pathetic routine. I don't know what was preventing me and yet I allowed it to consume me.

Then one day I received a call at work from my sister. She told me that my mother was rushed to the hospital in Montréal and things were looking bleak. I contacted the doctors and they filled me in on her condition. She had a heart attack and they also discovered that she had cancer. A heavy smoker, I remember some of the coughing fits I witnessed. My father was just as bad. I went to my boss, filled him in on the details and took off. It took me about 8 hours to get there and I went directly to the hospital. It almost killed me to see her like that.

The doctor would not be around until the next day so I sat with my mother. The nurse told me that she was in and out of consciousness and would probably recognize my voice if I spoke to her. I felt weird but I did it anyway. When I spoke, I told her who it was and distinctly remember her squeezing my hand. I was relieved. I stayed for awhile but was told that I would have to come back in the morning. I gave them my contact information and left.

The next morning, I returned to the hospital and sat with my mother hoping beyond hope that she would open her eyes. It didn't happen. Finally, the doctor came around and filled me on her condition. He told me that she was stable but that she was heavily sedated. He told me that at best she had 3 months. I quickly told him to do what needed to be done. I will take the three months. He said that there was nothing for me to do there now and that he would keep me informed as to her progress. I sat with her for awhile and just relived the few cherished moments that I had of my mother. I drove back home on the Sunday and went to work waiting for a progress report.

Just before lunch I got a call from the doctor's office. He now told me to get to the hospital as quickly as possible, that there was nothing further that he could do. I was stunned. I made a couple of quick calls and a friend picked up the ball arranging for a flight and hotel while I went home and grabbed a few things. I arrived in Montréal in the early morning hours. Dropped my stuff off at the hotel and then walked the block to the hospital. I got to her bedside around 5:30 in the morning and at exactly 6 a.m. on the morning of June 06, 2001 she was gone. My worst fear came true. I never heard my mother's voice again.

In the last 5 years of her life, I let stubborn pride take away any final relationship I could have had with my mother. Never letting her know how much I truly loved her regardless of the events of our lives. I wouldn't have cared if we lived in a dirt floor shack. I'm sure we could have made it. I know now of some of the events that could have contributed to her decision to give her children up. Mostly issues with my father. But the fact of the matter is she did give us up and turned to alcohol to numb the pain. My father, on the other hand, never took ownership for any of this. His narcissism and lack of human decency allows him to sleep at night. I can't explain it.

Heroes. That is how all of this began. To me, any mother who puts her children first, makes sacrifices and never gives up hope in order to keep her children with her, that is my definition of a hero. No mask, no costume, no fanfare. Just the unconditional love for her children.

I'm reminded of something that happened when I went back to school. I was in the grocery store standing in line with the few items that I need for my lunch. My budget was slim with little in the way to spare, but adequate. Behind me in line stood a mother with 3 or 4 of her children. In one hand, she held a fist full of coins. And in the other, about five or six packs of those noodles in a bag. Hardly nutritional, I thought but I recognized the effort. My heart cried. Amongst the items in my basket was a bag of oranges and I could see one of the little guys eyeballing them. I paid for my purchase and when the cashier was bagging my items, I told her to give the bag of oranges to the lady behind me. She just looked at me with a weird look but did it anyway.

I stopped at the counter on the way out to pick up a newspaper when I felt a tug at my shirt. It was one of the little boys. He just came to tell me that his mother wanted to say thanks. I just smiled and then my heart smiled. Heroes. God love 'em!

Just in case you are wondering, I still love my mother and miss her everyday.

I read the following quotes on a couple of different blogs;

"Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. "

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."Anais Nin


Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing Bogey. I am very grateful that I came to 'terms' with my mother issues before she got sick. This way she knows I am here just because I want to be and that is all. I also appreciate the story from the childs veiwpoint and am grateful that I never walked away from my kids.

You are a very nice man.

Love to you


lakeviewer said...

What a tough journey you've had. You are all grown and yet, on days like this, your childhood returns to remind you of that long journey, the times that crushed you to a pulp.

We all have stories that we wish we could change, modify. We have to make peace with what it is that we have become, the person that is the product of all those paths we took.

Your parents had tough times and their lives were messed up beyond their abilities to fix.

You learned from their lives as well as yours. What journeys we live to tell!

Anonymous said...

Bogey, your story is so moving. It evokes all kinds of emotion in me, and I am grateful to you for sharing. I think you are a hero - you rose above it all and became a good and decent man. THAT is a hero!

Lori ann said...

I love what Audrey said, it's true. It was brave of you to share. You are a good man, and kind.
I am sorry about your mother, I don't have any experiance with that yet, I can only imagine.
I hope you will be very very kind and generous to the little boy that lives still in you.Bless your heart.
Oh, I like the quotes alot!
☺ lori

Natalie said...

I saw it in you, the compassion, the gratitude for simple things. I knew you had suffered and I was right. No more, give yourself the gift of a beautiful life - You deserve it. xx♥

Bogey said...

Hi Michelle,

Thank you so much for your kind words. More often than not we are so busy living our lives, that it seems it slips by in chunks of 10 or 15 years. Then we stop and say, "What happened"? For one reason or another we harbour grudges and or resentments that manifests itself inside of us until we are paralyzed. When it is time to deal with them, too many times it is too late. I am so glad you and your Mum did some healing and can enjoy the time you have now. Love to you too! xx

Hello Lake Viewer,

You are so right. These days are often bittersweet. Her birthday would be coming up next Sunday. We may not be able to change the past but we can definitely learn from it. Until I came to this Blog World, I have kept my life very, very private. There are few people in my life that know of my journey. They understand why I love the way I do. This forum has allowed me to purge some of this and still maintain a little anonymity. And I have been extremely blessed to have had followers such as yourself who have unbelievable understanding and compassion.

Hi Audrey,

Hero??? I don't know about that. However, I will admit to having a sensitive side. The problem is I have become very selective as to who gets to see that side of me. That is a part of myself I struggle with the most. This Blog World allows me to share freely for some reason and it makes me feel good. When I read some of the posts that have an undercurrent of pain and hurt entangled with the words, I can read it as clear as day.

Hello Lori Ann,

You and others here have touched on a very key component that was part of the healing process. The inner 'Bogey' was wrapped up in a cocoon for what seemed like an eternity. Back in 1996 when I was trying to remove the bandages from the wounds, some of the poetry I wrote focused on The Child Within. If you are interested you can read an old post called Creative Purging.

Hell again Natalie,

Great minds must think alike. I figured you either had great intuitive powers or you walked a similar path. Which, sadly, makes me right too. However, I also see a woman who has come to grips with a lot of her Demons and has decided to share her love, compassion, empathy and friendship to relative strangers. You are a great human being.

To all of you wonderful Ladies, Mothers and Friends,

Thank you so much for reading and commenting on this last group of posts. I apologize if I triggered any painful memories that you may have yourselves. It was not my intention. As I have said, I didn't have any agenda or intention as I began this. I started writing and my fingers just tapped out what my brain was processing. And thanks for sharing some of your wisdom and experiences with me.

Love to you all,

Lover of Life said...

Thank you for sharing, Bogey. And thank you for giving those oranges to that little family. Your kindness will multiply. I think we are more empathetic and soulful when we know what real pain feels like. It's clear you knew what that was, but still had the wisdom to forgive and be there for your Mom. She smiles down on you.

ms toast burner said...

Hi Bogey... I read your story as you posted it. And quite a story it is. I wish I had words of wisdom but I don't, not yet anyways. I do understand the conflicting feelings of love and various other feelings towards a mother though. Mother's Day is like shinning the high beams on that one, for me.

I love that Anais Nin quote!

smiles4u said...

I just got done reading these 4 posts on hero's...about your life. I will not lie...tears fell as I read this and continue now that I write in comment to your story. Your story hits home for me on different levels. As someone that grew up in a tough home and probably should have been taken out of the home. Honestly, as a child I wished for this. But more so, as someone that is now raising 2 children that I didn't give birth to.

Over the years of my life as an adult, I have taken in many different families of children for various reasons. Mostly so that they could get help or their lives together. I took them kinda like foster children but not getting paid. I mainly did it that way to keep the children out of the system. I did it for the children because I wished that someone would have taken and protected me when I was a child.

I am thankful that you came out on top after all you have been through. As I read your story, I kept thinking in my head, you are a hero. You did more then survive. You had the courage to get the help you needed so that you could have a happy life. You had the courage to forgive. You have the courage to keep on loving. This leaves me awestruck. I am feeling really thankful to have found your blog and to read your story. You have much wisdom that I can learn from. You have much to be proud of. Much to teach the people of this world. You fall into my definetion of a hero.

Bogey said...

Thank you Lover of Life. Sometimes it is very difficult when I see things when I am shopping or other places in regards to children. I've seen parent treating them just horribly. It's all I can do to smack them upside the head.

Ms Toast Burner, It just seems that a lot of people, women especially, have ongoing conflict with their mothers. Probably a million reasons for this. Sunglasses may help with the high beam issue. ;)

Smiles4U, thank yo so much for your supportive comments. They are really appreciated as I catch a glimpse of what your life has been like. Believe me, I do not consider myself a hero by any stretch of the imagination. A survivor maybe but not a hero. That is why I so readily to making mistakes. So many times in my life when decisions needed to made or advice was required, I looked over my shoulder and nobody was there to help. In earlier posts, I mentioned some of my regrets. No marriage, no kids etc. and these I wanted really bad. But life just kept throwing me curve balls. This isn't sour grapes, these are just the straight hard facts. Thanks again for reading thru everything and I'm sorry if this made you cry. It makes me cry too.

Amel's Realm said...

I've just finished reading your story...dunno what to say...except that I believe your Mom knew you were there with her before she left. Boy, you've come a LOOOONNGGG way...keep the faith in love and life!

Btw, I LOVE the quotes.