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My Mother’s Birthday April 26, 1923 -1978 April 26, 2017

Posted by voolavex in birthday, mother, serial monster, funeral, life baggage, loss, dead, death certificate, despicable, Domestic Violence, guilt, Mann & Mann, marriage, murder, My Mother, serial monster, Social Issues.
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Back in the days when domestic disputes were shameful and unreported, my mother was the dead body in a domestic murder.

In a small blue-collar town in Massachusetts. On January 24, 1978.  It was a long time ago and it was a moment ago.  It was the tragic finale to many phone calls and plane ticket reservations and telephone commiseration for a mother who simply couldn’t.  She fought back, she screamed, she saw a doctor, she drank, but she could not leave with my two much younger siblings, or the pony or the house or the lingering affection she carried for a man who was a serial monster.  Bigamist, philanderer, narcissist, sociopath and murderer.  One sib says many calls of service were made to the local police – their hands tied by 1977/1978 concepts and legalities.  Another sib tells of death threats  made to them on the night of my mother death.  I did not know anything about this part.  I only knew my mother wrote and cried and simply said “he” had a girlfriend and she was confused and didn’t know what to do.  At 54 she was probably menopausal. Not much to go on.  She didn’t want to move out with the children or leave the pets and the laundry list of excuses women have conjured for time immemorial.  I was in Los Angeles and not welcome in her house. (Actually on February 10, 1958 I was no longer welcome in her life.  At 12, I thought it was because he really loved her.)  I blame myself for not listening harder and asking more questions.  And I had no idea that physical violence was part of the picture.  Neither of my siblings (19+ and 15) called me to ask for help. My mother had pride that went before all else.  Including her funeral.

Her death certificate from that time reads  COD: undetermined.  A residual fear stops me from requesting a new one.  She will still be dead.

She was only 54. Today is her 95th birthday. May I say she was beautiful and gentle and kind? May I say by the time I arrived at her house, anything of sentimental value that had belonged to her was gone?  That her grieving husband knew I knew and it was not pleasant?  That I swallowed my rage, stepped back and stayed for the children ( I am my mother’s daughter)? That I drank and sobbed and that the tables overflowed with funeral meats and that 200+ attended her funeral in Boston? That mourners continued;  people I never knew, arrived in tears? That it was the same funeral home by her high school best friend’s parents? Mann & Mann. That I had played as small child in their huge house upstairs? That my family went back as close friends of the Manns? That the grieving husband read a sickening tribute?. And that my own father wept with me in stunned sorrow?

In 1978,  it was simply another domestic dispute. Perhaps still in the local police records – on paper in a box; with so many others of the time.  

There was no investigation.  I knew of no interviews with siblings. That police never asked me anything.  My grandmother thought it was a heart attack.  She had just lost her only child.  Was it mine to reveal?  Information continued to seep through and very long after  I found out the history of the man she had married in 1958.  From his children; who loved my mother.  I should have wondered more about the words of my dear step-brother who walked in, in 1978,  crying, and said to me, sotto voce, “what did he do to her?”

 I have always known it was murder.  I have always known he patiently waited.  I knew she did not wash down 40 or 50 pills with vodka.  She didn’t ever take Darvon and that’s what they found. I know he sat beside her and watched. I have no idea how he managed to make it happen.  He died five years later; alone  in a rented apartment in Lawrence; the other woman long gone.  He was soup when they found him.  Dead five days of a heart attack in a fall from the up high liquor shelf. One he needed a step stool to reach.  In a closed apartment on a sweltering summer day.

 

He was short and bald and had good teeth.

I could kill him again and again for his crime but she would not have wanted that.  And dead never ends. They would have been married twenty years on that February 10th.

She has been gone 39 years. Since the day my  broken heart and endless anger met all at once.  And no one of us leftover has ever been able to move on.  We try to unpack that valise, only to realize that some things travel with you forever,  in your life luggage.

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Appreciation and Depreciation April 8, 2014

Posted by voolavex in common sense, freedom, Random thoughts, Social Issues.
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In a blinding epiphany last night, I realized that I am beginning to appreciate my life Accomplishments are not appreciation.  Accomplishments are simply the things you have done and they have a positive aura – but even robbing a bank can be a sort of accomplishment.  It is not so much the “aha” moments – but the number of them that snowball down the side of our individual middens as we careen through the years. And we do careen – I can’t walk a straight line in bare feet anymore.  Sad.  True.

In my case it was like suddenly understanding string theory or hearing the music of the spheres or realizing that all the crap I think is crap IS crap.  I no longer ask why we cling to our 2nd Amendment rights, nor shoot each other or serial kill each other – that’s what we watch on the screen.  Big, little, on demand, anytime – click and kill.  There’s an app for it.  But I now appreciate that this is what is happening and I can see it and despair or see it and know I will not change my direction due to it. For example; I do not own a gun.  The reason is simple.  Fear that I will use it.  Most people don’t actually think of this when they shy away from the gun issue.  They are afraid it will get into the wrong hands, they hate guns,  it won’t make a difference in the long haul.  Not me.  I am simply afraid I will not be afraid, I will be the wrong hands and I will use it.  My feeling is that to own a gun you must be willing to use it.  My fear is that I would.  So no gun.  But it is the appreciation of that knowledge that anchors me and lets me out of the whole argument.  Guns may not kill people, but people with guns do.  I am grateful I am not a bigot.  I like being a Jew.  I do not trust Putin. I know I am being watched. I treasure the right to vote and still get a frisson of joy when I do it. I do not miss having grandchildren (from my own kids).

As I really begin to appreciate these small things, other smaller ones follow.  I hate to go to movies.  Very simple.  I do not like to go. And I get so many arguments (not offers) and find myself using hackneyed phrases like “it’s not my cup of tea” – and this works because everyone knows what a cup of tea is.    I have no desire to own property. I have by and large always been a cliff dweller (as my mother would say) and I like apartment living. It’s not for everyone, but it is for me.  And all this appreciation is not always positive.  I realize that I was a very terrible mother – something two other adults know too.  And in the fullness of knowing comes the reality there is nothing I can do to go back and do better. Even though I know better.  But I do know it and I can say it and I know why it is true.  I don’t want to have a dog.  I do like the way many dogs look, but they are not an animal that lures me. For some this is character flaw – but it’s just what I know.As I know I like red meat. And these shocks of wisdom – as I personally depreciate and time becomes more scarce also allow me to let stuff go.  Like movie theaters, mortgages and dusting.  They allow me to read India (my preferred subject matter), mystery novels, genetics, Jewish history, and anything else whose title sounds alluring.   Because I appreciate that time does flow like a river and we all sink at some point as we float.

Is there a message in all this – kinda.  If you can feel the shocks of appreciation, wait for even more. You will get them and for the fortunate ones who do, they will lighten it up as you drift – the buoyancy will astonish you as it does me and you may even appreciate that our demographic may be the last who can do this and probably because there is no app for it.