The beautiful blue skies of April 1, 1990 were such a delight, as it was perfect moving weather. I finished up my 5:30 am to 2 pm waitressing shift at Cinnamon’s Restaurant, and headed to my Aunt Laura’s house to borrow the truck. I had collected many items, stored at her house, to move into my third floor apartment in Greenfield that I would be sharing with Heather and Aimee Jo. We were all GCC students, and yearning for our own place to call home, together. 62 Fort Square West was the place I called home for almost 2 years.
Dressed in my waitressing black and whites, I was tickled pink to finally have my own place, and no longer living with the secretary to the principal of my high school. My rent would be comparable, and the proximity to the college would be a much closer distance than driving from Orange to Greenfield every day.
I drove into my Aunt’s house, beaming about moving. As I walked through the door, my Aunt’s face was solemn. “I have something to tell you…” she said.
“Your mother is dead”. Her words were not jumbled, nor did she cry, or tremble about her sister. She waited for my reaction.
I laughed, as I was too keen to be tricked. “Ha-ha! April Fools!” I joked with her, waiting for the crack of a smile. “Wouldn’t that be funny…?” I still had not realized this situation was real. My Aunt continued with the information. “Tina, it is real…your mother killed herself…she OD’ed….”
I didn’t cry. I didn’t know how to react. There was a certain sense of relief, as well as anger. Estelle Barbara Emery Bunker Valiton Bailey was dead, finally. All of those times she tried to slit her wrists or drink and drug herself to death was culminated with her finally succeeding in taking her own life.
For many years, my mother was a coward in my mind. She had never fought hard enough, never loved someone other than herself enough, nor did she ever put the well being of her four children in the forefront of her heart and head. I was relieved that my mother would no longer cause me hardship and heartbreak she had throughout my 19 years of life.
My hatred of my mother became more intense throughout my 20’s, and I began the challenge of therapies- you name, I have tried it. In my late twenties, I finally did some Reiki healing sessions with a homeopath, in which I released my abandonment issues. It was important for me to resolve those intense feelings prior to fulfilling my own want of becoming a mother.
Becoming a mother provided me the most enlightening perspective, and has let me grow to have love for my mother again. As a mother, I cannot fathom ever giving up my child/ren to another person to raise. The bond I have with my children is unbreakable. I can forgive, because I now realize life was too much too bear for her. Through the intense love I have for my life, more specifically, my family, I can forgive. I am grateful for the times she could not accept responsibility for me, as others stepped to the challenge to provide me with love and care I deserved. It is through love that I can accept my mother’s mental illness. It is through love, I can only hope that my mother found peace in her afterlife, as she deserves it as much as anyone, regardless of the choices she made.
Today is another brilliant, blue skied day. I am filled with love, but not too keen on jokes.