My wife’s mother passed away only 5 months before we met. I was so close to getting to meet her. Almost. We just missed each other.
I think this is part of the reason my wife fell for me. I was new. I didn’t know her mom. I didn’t remind her of pain. I could start a new chapter for her without even trying. She needed that.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think she would’ve just settled on the first person that showed up after her mom’s passing. We have tons in common & the things we differ on is what keeps us both in balance. I think we are a great match! She is a beautiful person inside & out! I am blessed to have her in my life & forever grateful that she chose me to share this life with!
But I have a feeling of guilt that I can’t bring myself to tell her.
I don’t really care much for her mom – to put it mildly. This woman I never met. That’s pretty awful – I know. I feel sick to my stomach even saying. Actually I can’t say it out-loud. I feel disgusting enough just typing it.
We’ve all heard the mother-in-law jokes about how they are over-bearing, butt-in-ski, controlling & all the other things are somehow acceptable to say about mother-in-laws but you never hear anything about father-in-laws because – sexism. But I digress…
Please don’t misunderstand me – I have an indescribable amount of respect for her! Working mother of 4 – basically doing it all on her own! I would wither under those circumstances, but she somehow managed to balance it all! I could study at her feet! She made her kids, co-workers, family & friends ALL feel personally loved BY HER! I can hardly find the time to give anyone besides my 11 month old a second of my time! Let alone have it come across as even remotely genuine. I’m failing hard in that department – like – hard! But somehow she really did it all! Above & beyond! Every kid had their perfect birthday every single year with a homemade cake to match the theme! Piles of presents under the tree with every kid’s hands, hearts & bellies full by 9am on Christmas morning. She was a phenomenal woman – from what I have been told.
So why am I hatin’?
Jealousy? You know, the way women do – they hate on the mom that looks like she has it all together because she makes it look so effortless while the rest of us are wearing the same pair of underwear 4 days in a row because that was the last time we showered & our hair tie is lost somewhere in the knot of hair on top of our heads but we don’t reach up to find it because then everyone will see our caveman armpit hair. No I’m not jealous of her for any of those reasons – tho they may or may not all be true for me at this moment in time.
I am actually quite angry with her. That word is a very simple way to put it.
Let’s see…. Anger folded in with a healthy dose of bitterness & resentment. Put a middle finger on top where the candle should be. That should sum it up pretty well.
WHY?! What the heck did this amazing woman you NEVER met, who bore your wonderful wife & raised her into an amazing human being do TO YOU?!
Well, you see all those fun & wonderful things I mentioned before – the parties, gifts, happiness… she built a world where none of these things existed without her. She was THE bringer of joy, the maker of happiness, the builder of wonders. Only her. The impression was that without her MAKING the days good they could not be good days. Any other rubbish that may come along would be deflected by her – she protected her children from all the hurt & hard times she could & she was very good at that, too! Too good. Once she was gone – no joy could be made. No happiness could be shared. Life lost all of its wonder.
I understand her. When I see my son’s eyes light up because I have done something he likes – WOW! There REALLY is no better feeling on Earth. Honesly. It’s like a drug! I want to make him smile & laugh & never face hard times! I think that is your instinct as a parent.
I read a quote once that said something like “The job of a parent is to make your children so strong that they don’t need you. The most painful part is being successful.” WOW! Talk about a truth-bomb!
She loved that her children needed her & I get it! She wore motherhood like the dress that was custom-made just for her – it fit perfectly & she never wanted to take that dress off because it made her feel like Cinderella. Meanwhile I’m looking like a homeless person flailing & stumbling thru motherhood like someone has cut off my feet & placed me directly on hot coals.
Let me put this simply.
She stole from me.
She kept all the best parts for herself with nothing left to share (or at least no ability to know how to share it or make some happiness for yourself). She has stolen romantic dinners, care-free weekends, laughs, smiles, strength, open-conversations, joy, light, love, days, weeks, months, years of happiness & the biggest hit: hope.
She kept all of the hope that life could be beautiful again. Granted (& respectfully), never exactly the same, but still something to fully delight in without inhibitions or feelings of hesitation & guilt.
It pains me so deeply to see my wife – frozen & physically AFRAID to take a step forward. To be the strong woman that she can be. To be the mother that I know she wants to be. I watch her. She punishes herself for wanting to be brave.
It’s easy to get mad at her when she chooses her mom over our son & me. Not in such clear ways – but I see it.
Sometimes I think she misses her mom so much & wants to be with her so badly that she would even trade us for a moment of time with her mom.
Sometimes I think she hopes it happens.
Sometimes I want to tell her that I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive her if she dies before me by choice.
She wants to be mad at her mom, too. She’s almost there. But she’s frozen in fear. Afraid that showing some strength & independence would mean punishment. So, until she’s ready – I will be mad enough for the both of us. For our family, for all of the things that we have had stolen from us. Joy, laughter, happiness, love, strength & hope.
I take that back – I will not allow my hope to be stolen. That belongs to me & not a single person living or dead will take that from me. Even if that’s all I’m left with.