My mother has been ill ever since I can remember. Multiple sclerosis. Seeing her in a wheelchair was normalcy for me. I have never seen her walking at all. Helping her with her daily chores was hard, but I did it. After all, I wanted her to love me. And I wanted to please her.
When I was young, we (my sister and me) lived with my mother at our grandparent’s house. (Although my parents divorced when I was 9, they never lived together, at least not since I was born.) An aunt and two uncles lived there too. Primary caregivers of my mom have always been my grandma and me. I don’t know why my older sister never had to help around the house, but I had too. And if I didn’t, I was humiliated, yelled at, and ignored.
That was my childhood. I suffered a lot, but no one ever seemed to care. Whenever I dared to bring it up, I was told that I was ungrateful and that I had everything I needed. I had clothes and a roof above my head. What I needed though, was affection. Some days, I was told to go to my father’s if I had it that bad at home. The truth was though; my father was a stranger. A stranger named dad. When I visited him, he never tired of telling everyone that I was a real mommy’s girl. At home, everyone said that I was a daddy’s girl. Both didn’t show any affection. No pride, no praise, no cuddling, no bedtime stories. Nothing.
All that left deep wounds on my soul. I am still searching, always searching, for affection. I want to be loved. And I am not sure if there is a lot to love about me. All I ever heard was that I was nothing and that they wished I wasn’t born at all. But I was good enough to wipe my mother’s butt, cut her meals and feed her. I helped her to dress and brush her teeth… I washed her and put her to bed. I was a child… Someone should have done these things for me. But they didn’t do it. I learnt swimming from a neighbour. I was taught how to ride a bike by my aunts then boyfriend.
I feel rootless. I don’t have a deep bond with my family. My grandma died in 2016. I have never been as sad as I was then. Even though she was very cruel to me. My mother lives in a care facility. I have a hard time visiting her. And truth be told, I have only visited once this year. (Award for the worst daughter of the year is mine.) Her declining health and the memories of my childhood prevent me from seeing her. Whenever I visit her, I am a bawling mess for days afterwards. It’s really hard on me, and I am not trying to be a drama queen. I just can’t cope. I wish I was strong but I am not.
I was a child when I broke into pieces. My oddities come from that time. And sometimes it is a miracle that I am who I am. There has never been any support coming from my family. Not emotionally and certainly not financially. Everything I am, everything I achieved, I did it on my own.
There is a reason why this is flowing out of me. My aunt called and told me in a harsh tone that I am supposed to be there for my mother and that I should visit. Today or tomorrow. I have a busy schedule though. And I can’t drop everything right now. My own children and their needs are always first. She told me things that I didn’t know because my mother never told me, yet I am accused of being selfish and not caring. I care. But I also need to do what is best for me. At least I think so.
I am aware that people cannot relate to this. They love their parents and have a deep bond. I don’t. I envy you.
I was a child when I had to be an adult. I was lost, and it took until I was in my early thirties to work through the traumas. Usually, I am quick to forgive and to forget. But not that. I can’t forgive that they stole my childhood. And I can’t forget how they treated me. I didn’t ask for a lot. I knew better than to ask for anything. I just wanted to be loved. I was only a child…