*DISCLAIMER* This blog isn’t intended to invoke any kind of sympathy for my sister and I, we’ve had truck-loads of it over the years and we’re well and truly OK. Sometimes it’s cool to be able to look at things from another perspective, and when I write stuff like this it’s with the intention of helping others with our story to be able to better deal with whatever issues they may be facing.
It’s the eve of you 56th birthday, and just like I do every year, I’m wondering how I go about acknowledging the day. It’s been six years now since I’ve seen you and not because you were ripped away from us in some kind of cruel freak accident or a nasty illness. It’s because on the 15th of February 2009 you made my sister, your other daughter, and I pack up our bedrooms, give away our family dog and move in with our Grandma so you could move away somewhere (you refused to ever tell us where or give us a forwarding address) to live with a man that abused your girls.
For such a very long time I have been so bloody mad at you. And then I get so sad for you, and then I get sad for me and my sister, and Grandma and our cousins, and your siblings and everyone really, because we have all been so affected by your strange choices for so long.
On the night of my 21st birthday, after celebrating with all of my friends and family and feeling loved beyond belief, I sat up in my bed and cried all night because you weren’t there. A similar thing happened when I graduated Uni. I was so bloody proud of myself for everything I had achieved, but it was veiled with the grief of knowing that you weren’t there, and even if you were you probably didn’t really even care.
I often think about what you’re doing. Where do you live? Who are your friends now? I tried to answer some of these questions by attempting to add you as a friend on Facebook a few years ago, but to be expected you denied my request (and just FYI I’m actually really quite hilarious on social media, far more so than in real life, so really the Facebook rejection is very much your loss). Sometimes I’ll be doing something really mundane like grocery shopping or thinking about finally cracking open the iron I bought back in 2010 and then BOOM, it hits me: MY.MUM.LEFT. It’s a really shitty thing to swallow, a sting that hasn’t really even dulled much in the last 6 or 7 years.
But the reason I’m writing to you today is not really to tell you off or question your choices so much. You see lately, Mum, if I can still call you that, I have been thinking some thoughts. The main one being that lately, beyond all the hurt and bewilderment that I, and we as a family have all trudged through over the years since your departure, have started to feel really grateful that you did what you did.
You see, I think you might not be that good a person. I hate to say it, particularly because half of my chromosomes have come directly from you, but it’s true! You can be a real nasty pasty, lady. When I was little you used to tell me how manipulative I was, or how much prettier I was than my sister (obvs true, but you cant say it out LOUD). You told me to quit school in year 10 and get an apprenticeship. You used to tell my little sister (and BFF) what an awful person I was and that I lied about everything and anything. In fact until really recently, we both kind of believed you! I have spent that best part of my early twenties honestly believing that I was some kind of sociopathic mastermind who despite my best intentions was destined to manipulate and destroy everyone that came into my path. I can now, with a bit of maturity, but more importantly, distance, see that these were all just things you told us to make yourself feel good. To plump up your self-worth which by this point has taken quite the beating thanks to the male company you kept and lifestyle you chose for yourself.
I could go on all day about the things that happened and what you said and how you made me feel, but then that would give my therapist nothing to do and it’s coming up to Christmas and the woman has children she needs to feed!
So Mum, on the eve of your 56th birthday, I want to thank you for leaving. Because if you didn’t my sister and I probably wouldn’t have spent the afternoon at the pool having a dinner picnic and laughing until we cried about all of the stupid things that happened in our day. During this ‘Pool Picnic’ we were talking about you, and how it’s your birthday tomorrow, and how far we have come and we both realised that at this point in time we are both really truly happy. We both have really good friends, a loving family, cool jobs, money and the ability to smuggle in more kabana and soft cheese into the Brunswick Baths pool area than anyone should really be proud of. So Mum, in a really strange way, I want to thank you for leaving and taking with you all of the negative toxic energy that you had swimming around us for a lot of our young life. I honestly believe that nothing that you did was ever intentional and I acknowledge that you find life really hard. But thanks to the decision you made almost a decade ago. You gave us the chance to be really happy and free, and for that, on your birthday, we thank you.
Love you always,
Bec (and Sarah/ the kabana ninja) xx