My Mom Committed Suicide
For the longest time it never occurred to me that I actually did have a mother. The facts I had just weren't enough, I needed more evidence.
t is the same thing every year. I find myself guilted into another mother-daughter banquet by my grandmother. As soon as I enter the room she senses my presence and immediately starts parading me around. She drags me from table to table trying to show me off as if I am some door prize she has just won. The dialogue is more or less the same. "Y'all, I would like you meet my granddaughter Julie." Under my breath I correct her, "My name isn't Julie," while still keeping that fake smile on my face that I mastered years ago. She politely restates her introduction: "This is my granddaughter Jobi, Julie's daughter, my middle child. Julie passed away a few years ago."
It is at this moment that all noise drowns out and the only words I hear are those spoken through body language and facial expressions: "Oh you poor thing, how tragic." It is also at this moment I feel like running towards the glow of the nearest EXIT sign to escape all the looks of sympathy that make me feel as though my mother died right before I arrived rather than fourteen years ago. I cannot even pretend to know the bond and relationship that these women are celebrating and feel I need to excuse myself for intruding on their special moment. I do appreciate the concern, but the apologies just aren't necessary.
I was so young when she passed away that I really don't remember her. This made it hard to relate to my Dad and my brother who were in fact deeply affected by this awful event, and when they talk about her it makes me feel extremely odd. They talk about their memories and the way she was and I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation. It is weird; I have utterly nothing to say about my own mother. All I have are questions.
The answers to the majority of these questions will never come, but must be imagined. Like the way she walked. Maybe she had one of those super-model walks that made everyone stop and look at her when she entered the room, as if they could feel her presence. Or maybe she just sort of strolled along. And the way she laughed. Did she have one of those laughs that was absolutely contagious and spread like brush fire through a room until everyone was in tears? Or did she just kind of giggle? How about the way she smelled? Maybe she smelled of those expensive perfumes that lured people to her and lingered in the air for hours after she left. Or maybe she just smelled of ivory soap.
These are the types of memories my family has of her and I resent them for it. It is not fair that one phrase or event can send memories flooding through their brains like tidal waves, while all I can do is regurgitate facts I have been told. They get the good stuff, the stuff that really makes a person and shapes their soul, and I am completely jealous. It is as if they were this whole other family...