Here I was again, new place, new people, no money no security, and wondering when in the world would this nightmare I called my life would end. Peace River, Alberta is a beautiful place nestled in a Valley. I could not deny its beauty, but of course I was to see its hidden ugliness as well. Simply because, my world was shrouded in untreated mental illness and complicated issues, it was natural to me to seek out others like me.
I remember we had to cross the road to get to the car and I was wearing these worn down wooden clogs that were very slippery on the road. The inevitable happened, I sprawled out in the middle of the road. Hot angry tears coursed down my face. Looking a fool embarrassed me so much, it probably goes back to school Daze, when I was bullied so mercilessly. I was waiting for some one to laugh at my humiliation. No one did, but that didn’t matter, what mattered is that again I felt a hot shame, why did it always have to be me. I was so embarrassed I threw those clogs and ran barefoot across the street and looked for a place to hide. My oldest aunt came over to me saying child, it is ok those shoes are worn out. I said they are the only shoes I have. I need them to get a job, as I walked back to pick them up. I apologized for my outburst and slipped my shoes back on and just walked very carefully.
My Aunt said those shoes wont do dear, let me get you a better pair. I said when I get a job I can pay you back for them. She said no please let me get them for you as a gift. I got a brand new pair of sneakers! They were so clean, I was so proud of those sneakers… she also bought me two dresses and a pair of slacks and two blouses and under wear stuff. I miss my Aunt who had passed on from a brain tumor. I felt awkward accepting gifts and not having anything to give in return. I was at a loss so all I could do was thank her profusely. No one had ever given to me out of kindness, so I was worried what the price would be when she called her bill in. However my aunt and I had a delightful relationship. My biggest joy was regaling her with funny stories. I seen her a day before she passed away. I just sense things like that, and we laughed and had a great time, and I hugged her good by for the last time. I’m digressing again , but I loved my Aunt E so much!
My mom got a house to rent and we all moved in, I got a job at a restaurant serving people. I actually enjoyed it, it was fun to-make people happy. I guess I had always been in the hospitality business one way or the other. My mom and her man would come in for coffee and watch me work, after a coupe of weeks of this by Boss pulled me aside. He said your mom and her man can’t come in her when you are working. I asked why. He said because they make the other customers uncomfortable. I looked at my mom and her man and seen haggard, sad people who were either drunk or high on drugs. I felt shame and I didn’t like it. I also did not have the heart to tell my mom what he said. So I told him let me finish my shift, and I will talk to them when I go home. He agreed. I only went back, only to get my pay cheque. I never told mom what my ex boss said, I just didn’t have the heart to hurt her feelings. I think she felt a little bit proud of me working at that restaurant.
After I quit working at the restaurant, both mom and I ended up in the hospital. Her for a nervous break down, me because I wanted to be close to her and look after her. It didn’t work out that way though I ended up in the psychiatric ward in Grande Prairie, involuntary commitment. You can imagine I freaked out!!! To be locked up gain! No Way! I was there for maybe two months, time is different in there, but you would never believe who came to see me. My Father and his wife. I was shell shocked after all these years how in the world did he find me or even know I was here? It was awkward he had not been in my life for at least 16 years, and now here he was. What was I supposed to do with this? I got the immediate impression his wife was not pleased with the circumstances, and I really didn’t blame her. I had not been in their lives all this time, and when I do come back into their lives I’m in a psychiatric ward!
My Father wanted me to come stay with him, but I had a very bad feeling about this. I really just wanted to go back to my moms. My father and his wife had a private discussion with my psychiatrist, and my father came out all smiles and gave me a hug.When I had my next visit with my psychiatrist he told me my father wanted me to come live with him and his wife and adopted son. I said nothing. He then said I do not think you should go back to your mothers it is not a healthy environment for you, however, I really stress that you should not live with your father either. Uhm, and were am I supposed to go? He said I do not know but those two places are not healthy for you. I then said but they are my only two options. He gave me 20 dollars and told me not to tell any one. What was I supposed to do with 20 dollars? I felt betrayed, alone, confused, and very sad. Why was it so easy for people to dismiss me, as if I did not matter.
I choose to give my Dad a chance and it was really bad, I made a mistake. However, I got to meet my little brother so for that I would do it again. I love children, and want to protect them from the ugliness of the world so that they are enchanted by the beauty of life. However, the woman of the house was not pleased, I tried to befriend her, make my self scarce, what ever I could to not tread on her toes, but anything I ever did was not good enough. Then I got a phone call from a boy that was in the ward 5 with me. I don’t remember giving him the number but I must have. We were young adults so I talked to him in private in my room. I thought it was private, but My dads wife was listening in on my conversation…He started talking about a nurse named Debbie on ward 5 who was a real battle ax. I laughed and giggled, just harmless flirting as he talked about how much of a bitch she was. I agreed with him, even though I didn’t really think she she was, but I liked the boy and would probably have agreed to almost anything.
Just to be clear I never called my Dads wife a bad name nor have I ever wished her any ill will. If she knew me at all she would have seen me for who I really was a broken child trying to be an adult.That evening we all sat down to dinner, and I was completely oblivious, My Dads wife kept shooting Daggers at me, and I had no idea why. Then shaking, barley containing herself, she said I am going to kill her!!! I felt fear and confusion, and ran through my mind what I could have possibly done to get such provocative rage directed at me. I could thing of nothing. I don’t think it mattered one way or the other; she would have found something to direct her ire towards me. I told my Step Mother and Dad I did not want to cause any trouble and would pack my stuff to go back to my mothers. Well then she really blew her top. She said if you leave you will destroy this marriage, it will be your fault! I got a job at a bar got my first pay cheque and proceed to get really drunk with some people my age. I was going to go home to my mom, but my dad came and picked me up, apparently he knew were I was. I felt so trapped, and when I feel trapped I run. I got a job with Hoffam catering and they took me to camp for three weeks, I had my cheque brought to the camp. It wasn’t a dry camp so I got to drink, and my alcoholism ramped up out of control. When my cycle finished, I had them take me to peace river to my moms house.
I gave her 1500, and spent the rest on my self, clothes, booze, what ever. When I got back to my moms she really was not in good shape, she was misusing her pills even more so than she typically did. When they took her to the hospital they took her off her medication and would not give her any more, and sent her home. She went to Edmonton to see the Psychiatrist she was seeing for like 30 years or more and got new prescriptions. I was worried, when she would cook she would forget to turn off the stove. One time My Aunt C came to the house knocked and she said the door was hot! She opened the door and a wave of blasting heat hit her with enough force that she was knocked a few steps back! She went in and saw the stove on and she turned it off. The side of the fridge was warped from the heat. Mom was were asleep in the bed. I do not know were moms man was probably at work. My aunt opened all the windows and let herself out after checking that mom was still alive. She was a RN so she knew how to check these things. She also left a jug of ice water and a glass by my moms bed.
I was only going to my moms on the week end as during the week I was a live in Nanny for a couple with three young kids. A pair of 8 month old twins and a four year old. I did all the duties their mom would normally do. Looking after the house and the children, The only thing I didn’t do was shop for groceries, she would do that. I suppose if I drove, that would have been a task that would have been done by me as well. I would cook supper, after dishes were done, my day was over. When the week end came I either went drinking or to my moms and went drinking from there, I drank every week end. I was sober when I went to work cause I would be picked up Sunday night, and would not be drinking on Sunday.
Our mother was not doing well she would sit on the couch and pee her self or soil herself and I would have to run her a bath and help her in. When she would get into the water it would turn black! I had to cut her hair short at her request she was 39 and completely grey. she looked old and defeated. She had cysts and black heads behind her ears that I would treat with peroxide.I think she was giving up. I would put her in a clean night gown and send her to bed. She was taken to the hospital three times for over doses, but the hospital just sent her home after they fixed her up. It was like seeing myself, screaming for help and just being casually dismissed.
Six months after our moms 40th birthday she was acting really strange, I mean she acted really strange a lot but this time I was concerned. She was talking in a little girl voice and she said to me”The angels are coming for me” and she giggled like a Little girl. She then said “I am ready.” I said mum are you ok? My boss pulled up and honked the horn to let me know she was there to pick me up. I said mom my boss is here. Before I left I woke up her man and told him to check on mom something was wrong. I knew in my heart that mom was leaving us for good this time, and I was helpless to stop it. Her heart burst, before she reached the hospital, she had no chance what so ever of survival. She had been 40 years old when she died. She had been a part of my life for 20 hellish years. Now she was gone, taking any chance of trying to repair our damaged relationship. The youngest, being about 12 years old took it the hardest. I do believe he thought he would be reunited with her one day.
I knew she was not doing well, and I was trying to to keep her going till summer so I could take her to her brothers. I failed…Do I believe she committed suicide? Yes I do, all the trips to the hospital were definitely a cry for help, didn’t I do that myself. However, my mother was a lot more knowledgeable about how much and what to take to do the most damage, and she succeed. She died, March, 1989.
I was saving money to take her to British Columbia to be with her brothers. She could not wait till summer I guess. I wanted all of us to go as a family for a two week vacation. She left her four children, to continue to fend for themselves. I was once again alone….The family including my siblings all came to the funeral. Tyra and I viewed the body, even though I did not want to. I did it for my sister. She needed to see for herself, since she hadn’t seen our mother for year and a half. As us children sat in the pews for the services we did not cry. It was hard to cry for a woman who treated us so callously and brutally. However, even despite that we missed her. I had not cried tears of sorrow for many years, I am not even sure I remember how to cry…
The legacy she gave to me was one of pain and suffering. She traumatized me to a point were I am not who I am supposed to be. And yet , I still miss her, and just wish once she would have said I Love you, with out being sloppy drunk. She never once said it to me when she was sober… The loss of our mother seemed to be hardest on the youngest and only boy. He would always say he was going to go find her and be with her. His life has been brutal, so maybe he really is looking for her, but I hope he chooses to stay with us Because we love him!