Growing up was met with special disabilities in many areas of mine and my sibling’s lives. Someone recently told me I could write about my mother all I want, so I will again today. From the eyes of a little boy, she was the most beautiful girl in the world. In 1945 my mom met my father and married. The next year, they were blessed with twin girls. There have been times when men of my dad’s age would tell me that my mother was one of the most beautiful women ever to hit the streets of our town and they didn’t know how my father ever caught her. There is a chuckle in my mind as I remember the elderly gentleman telling me this story. He said, “there were five of us boys that ran together and he was the ugliest one of us all and he ended up with the prettiest girl”. My dad passed away in 1989. My mother was 63. She never once looked at another man and never dated anyone else. When asked why, she would sheepishly grin and say, “I don’t want to raise another baby”. As the marriage was underway and baby after baby came, life settled in and struggles became their routine. Unfortunately, the routine had changed my mother. You see, my mother began to have delusions. Some of them were of grandeur and others were slight, with voices she didn’t understand and had no intention of playing part in their list of charades. I never remember my mother being that gregarious woman the twins and my mother’s sisters speak of, the one that easily made decisions and was the first to volunteer. I remember many fun times and many times of grief. I am sure as years progressed, for better or worst as the vows say, my mom grew worse in mind and spirit, surely causing my dad to drink more. Knowing what I know now as an adult, it was probably the only way he had to cope with someone he thought had changed, a different woman than he married. Even so, that doesn’t make it right. This is the progression of the disease schizophrenia. If one could be blessed in the disease, we were. She never lost her graciousness and kindness. Many years after hearing stories, I thought it was my fault that mom was the way she was. As a child, I was not equipped with the understanding of any disease process, much less that schizophrenia had peaks and valleys. Even though a little older than usual, my mom became afflicted soon after I was born. As I understand, immediately after I was born. Mentally, mother had no coping skills for the monster that had invaded her mind. My grandmother and grandfather took many a night with me and took me home with them often. These are stories I have been told from my aunt Audrey and Aunt Dora who are no longer around to tell the story. I suppose this is why I had such a grateful heart for my grandparents. The one strange anomaly in my life is that in 1993 when my grandmother died at age 93, I have no recollection of her passing or being at her funeral. I have been to dozens of funerals throughout my life, but hers is a complete blank. I know I was there, my wife tells me I was. There is a reason, not yet figured out why this loss of time has not made itself known. As mom became better, I stayed home more, and soon mother found herself pregnant again and twice more after that. At times, she was a shell of a woman, thin and frail. It is at this time I have told the story of my sisters being our teachers. After the 1989’s death of my father, there were many months one of us kids would stay the night with my mom. After several months, mom said she was ready to stay alone. As time continued by, my mother continued to improve. Her life became a real life, one of smiles and endearment for family and her sisters. It was like a remembrance had been shown to her that had long been hidden in the weak, darkness of her mind. For over 21 years mother improved and was able to live alone, not having that fear of the unknown that included my father, even though she missed him forever, and desperately. He was spoken of often with tenderness of heart and tears of memories of the past. Her sisters would come to visit, meals were laid out, laughter was present, and her green eyes glittered with joy. No, she was not completely healed, because even though we know my dad had a large part to play in much of her madness, he also played an even larger part in her learning to love. My mother was all love. At the end, we were once again blessed with the prettiest girl in the world.
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