At the time of writing this entry it is Mother’s Day. It’s a day when we celebrate the women who brought us into this world and for many it is a day of gifts, brunches, photos and hugs. I will state now that I love my mom more than she will ever know. I wish I could celebrate Mother’s Day with her today. Instead, I have chosen to write this entry.
You see, there is a dark side to the aftermath of surviving abuse. It’s the lingering hurt that affects not only the survivors, but in many cases, their families as well. My half-sister and I were both abused in Catholic school. My parents were not aware of the extent of the abuse. As I have written in previous posts, I have undergone a lifetime of healing. My mother, as a mother, continues to feel the pain of knowing her children once suffered.
I do not blame my parents for the abuse I endured. The priests who abused me were experts in how they groom their victims. However, my mother has continued to feel the guilt of what happened to this day.
My half-sister went into a life of drugs – the dark side. She ran away from home. I remember my mom getting a phone call one time from California. They were requesting my sister’s dental records as they had found a “Jane Doe” and wanted to rule out the body was hers. My mother held together very well. She cried, she worried, but she really did soldier on.
My sister eventually had children. She didn’t care for them well. My sister had dropped out of school with a grade 10 education. My niece eventually turned to a life of deceit, drugs and gangs. My parents took my niece in when she was a teen in hopes they could rescue her. She stole from them, lied to them and any joy they could have as seniors was shattered by their sense of duty to “make things right” taking care of my sister’s daughter.
My mother recently was visited by the Ministry of Children. My niece had inherited the pattern of being unable to care for her children. My mother, in her eighties was put in a position to take on two girls – 12 and 14 for only one night. The one night turned into 28 days. My mother was forced to buy groceries for three on a pension. The girls, like their mother and their grandmother, are going down the same path of drugs, gangs, and theft. They were not taught any type of respect or compassion. My mother was yelled at and mocked by these two girls. They would not tell her where they were going or who they were with when they were out. They were rude and selfish. When they finally left to go live with their grandmother in a hotel, my mother – their great grandmother – was left to clean up the mess they had made. Among the pile of dirty dishes, empty bottles and garbage left behind, my mother found a knife at the door of one of the rooms.
It’s Mother’s Day. My mother was a professional banker and was a proud woman. She had laboured hard to provide for her family. The Dark Side continues to haunt her and I have seen the effects of abuse through three generations now. My half-sister never found help. Instead she turned to a life of crime and drugs. Her daughter, my niece, following her path down the Dark Side into escape and destruction now has allowed her children to follow again the path to the Dark Side.
My mother, ever punishing herself for the past, tried again and again to help her children, grand children and great grandchildren. She needed help from the Ministry of Children, and they failed her. She needed the help from the Senior’s advocate and they failed her. She now sits in silence, wondering how her great grandchildren are. Even though she has been called terrible names, been yelled at and treated with no respect while she had these girls in her home for almost a month, she still has the compassion all true mothers have. She loves them, though there is no love in return.
If there were ever a true Jedi Master, it would be my mother. She is resilient. Even though she was at risk of being harmed when the girls were there, she let them in. She locked her door in her bedroom at night because she was afraid. She gave the girls money every day so they would have food. She bought their bus passes so they would be able to go to school. She never, not once, received thanks for any of the things she did. As a senior on a pension these things were not easy. She worried – the way all loving mothers do. In return she received nothing. Not that she was asking for anything, but I think it is a real crime how this can happen.
When my sister and I were at Catholic school, what would have happened if we were not abused? Would my sister have turned to a life of drugs, lies and crime? Would I have immersed myself in martial arts and education? Would the lives of my niece and her daughters have been better? I believe that we can trace all of the unfortunate events back to priests who could not keep their genitals to themselves. I blame those monsters who hid behind the Catholic Church.
For three generations the after-effects have plagued my half-sister’s side of the family. The after effects have also plagued my poor mother.
They say the senior years are the Golden Years. I wish I could do something to let my mother know she is amazing. What has transpired is not her fault. She owes nothing to any of us. I have watched my mother taken advantage of time and time again by my sister and her children who only want money. I know they are hurting too. However, when will they understand that they have a choice in what they can do.
Yoda warns Luke that once a person starts down the dark path, forever will it dominate their destiny. The Dark Side visits me sometimes, but I make the choice to the light. My sister and her family however continue to dwell in the dark. Maybe one day they will see the light. My mother, as a true mother does, always tries to show the light to her family. However, it is up to them now to choose the path they want to follow. My mother will always be there if the light is chosen.
This Mother’s Day I want my mother to know I love her truly, deeply, wholly. It is a day to celebrate moms. My mom was and continues to be my beacon. She is the light to which I strive to keep in my life. She is the person who taught me compassion and kindness. She is not a failure. She is the strongest person I know. Mom, I know you read my blog – I wish I could give you the best Mother’s Day present ever. You will have to settle for my love and for my support. The Province may not be there for you – but I will. The two of us. I have learned so much from you Mom. You are a strong, powerful woman and I love you. May the Force be with us. P.S. I found you some flowers…..