The flow of the universe is nudging me back on track and I’m so grateful for it. Even while editing is on hold, I’m doing successful groundwork on networking. People even reach out to us about stories they want to share. I’m typing right now, so this part is being seen to. At the same time, I can pace myself physically while I deal with my health and all the additional goings on of life.
I heard from teenage quintuplet girls who were being abused so badly, after being abandoned by their mother, had to be put into foster care at age eleven. They were from Beverly Hills and the story illustrates how much the disease of child abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries. It got me thinking about a time in my own childhood where if people were truly aware of what was going on behind closed doors, my sister and I would’ve been taken away from our mom.
It really started when my father died, my mom’s addiction to sedatives. I can remember her taking pills as far back as my memory goes. She did have legitimate physical and mental reasons to be on medication, but it was completely unmonitored. By the time she re-married, they built a successful business and my sister was born when I was eight, our mother was a full scale addict. Only now with the hormones and the drugs, she began to have mood swings.
Severe mood swings. I never doubted that she loved me but I was being abused and neglected on a daily basis. During the day and sometimes into the evening, we had Ruth, our nanny and housekeeper, to see to our needs. She would try to make sure we always had something ready to eat. But at night I was on my own. Roger, my second father, slept like a log and I couldn’t wake my mom she was so out of it. That or she would be whipped into a frenzy and take it out on me.
There were nights where she woke me up to re-fold the laundry. She said I hadn’t folded it properly so she would burst into my room at two am and dump it all over my bed. Then there were nights my sister Lisa would wake up and neither of the adults responded. I went with my instinct and quickly learned how to change, feed and put her back to bed. When I would tell my mom of the spectrum of events during the night before, she had no memory.
After a while, I couldn’t take it. I started to become actively self-injurious and my friends got worried. They went to the guidance department of our school and explained that I was in danger. But nobody really believed it unless they witnessed it. My mother adored me and had been through so much and we were wealthy. How neglected could I be with a nanny? How bad could the affluent white suburban mom’s drug habit really be? It was almost impossible to reconcile that a girl with a credit card wasn’t having her basic needs met. Much less was being abused so badly she had tried to run away and threatened to kill herself.
I love my mother very, very much. She did her best, I truly believe that. I wish she could’ve found a way out of her darkness, but that’s not what happened. There was a brief time where she was trying to be more sober than usual. I told her about some of the things that she said and did that hurt me. She genuinely had no recollection of the events but she apologized anyway. For everything. The universe certainly does have interesting timing; only weeks before my mother’s life was to end, she told me for the first time how proud she was of me. It’s a small consolation I cling to when I find myself identifying with the foster kids I write about. I got something most of us long for desperately; a sense of closure and twisted yet true love.
Even only a piece of peace is better than none at all. Remember there are reasons to put up a wall.
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