Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
- Community Blog
- Vista Blues
To Rebuild--Then See It Gone Forever!
"What a lie to say we're immortal! What a lie to sell me your pain! Where is God, now that I'm buried? Can't he stop this bloody game?" --Accept, from the title track of "Russian Roulette."
October 19th, 1999-- I get a call at 7am from Michigan City, Indiana. It's my stepbrother Greg Jr...informing me that my Mom had just passed on from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. We chat for a few minutes, then I hang up.
You would expect to see tears in my eyes...but there are none.
There is a very good reason for this...
From the time I was six, until I was thirteen, my mother had physically, emotionally, and vebally used me as her personal punching bag. It had gotten to the point that my grandparents took me in after Mom and Dad "split the sheets," rather than leave me with her.
Many reasons were offered as to why I was put through a living hell for an early childhood. Mom was a very heavy drinker, liked to play around with other men, and often stol coins out of my desk bank to pay for her debauchery.
Also, the fact that my dad was in the Navy, and often gone a lot on deployments, was suggested as a "contributing factor." And since I was the only male child in the family (and the eldest, to boot)...what happened to me still causes me nightmares, even today.
Even in March of 1977, when my grandparents took me back to Woodburn, Oregon (before then, I was living in Imperial Beach, with my father stationed at the helicopter base's dispensery...long gone from base closures), I still had hellish nightmares...enough that I kept a 1-iron in my bedroom, with the intent on outright homicide if she even tried showing her mug at my new home.
In 1997, my mom decided to make peace with me. I had grown quite a bit since then...but I would still refuse any invite to Michigan City, Indiana (where she made her home). We soon got to talking, and we were pretty much communicating by letters.
She also sent me a Green Bay Packers quilted jacket, as kind of a "peace offering." Since I had no real warm coat at the time, I wore it with pride, often with a Packers ballcap. If anybody teased me about it, I merely told them that they were both a gift from my mother...which shut them up right quick.
In late 1997, I was informed that she had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma--and it was terminal. Considering she smoked two+ packs of unfiiltered Chesterfields a day, plus was a heavy drinker until five years before her death (she had joined AA then), I figured that something would get her.
Still, we made our peace with each other. I forgave her--but I cannot forget the living hell she put me through. However, a friend of mine said that it would be best to let God handle any afterlife retribution...that was His job, after all.
In 2000, I was working at 99 Cents Only in Escondido. We were running a " new store opening" event, and I was tasked to hand out balloons to the kids who came to our store. I had my Packers jacket on under my apron (very cold afternoon), and had to remove both to use the restroom.
I left my jacket outside, since the store was rather stuffy. When I came back...the jacket had been lifted, and nobody saw who did the dirty deed! It wasn't the jacket itself that I missed...but the concept of some jerkweed taking the "peace offering" my mom gave me before she died seared into my soul like a branding iron on a steer.
October 19th, 1999 was the day that I not only lost my mother to cancer, but also destroyed our attempt to reconcile properly. The pain still is there...and will be with me until my soul is in the Mists of Time.
Ten years have passed...and many more (Deus Volt!) are still to come!