My mother suffered from mental illness. I didn’t know what her diagnosis was but I do remember that her mood could change on a moment’s notice.
It was not uncommon for her to have a complete meltdown over a situation that some would consider “no big deal”. A meltdown could be excessive crying, throwing things, hitting the kids, or a hospitalization.
One afternoon I was in my bedroom and I was vacuuming. I think I was about 12 years old. Apparently, my mother was calling my name over and over and I didn’t hear her. She completely lost it.
In our kitchen was some heavy German beer mugs that my Dad had acquired while in the military. She picked them up and began to throw them one by one at my bedroom door. Each one left a very large indentation or hole.
I could hear what sounded like a series of explosions while I was vacuuming. I froze. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to move. I wasn’t sure if I was alive. I didn’t know if it was a gunshot or what it could be.
My brother was in the kitchen near my Mom and said to her, “Stop, if she opens the door, you will kill her”. At that moment she stopped throwing the mugs.
That began a complete meltdown of crying and anger and within an hour she was off to the private mental hospital.
I can’t remember how long she was there, but I remember being so afraid for her to come home. I was so afraid of upsetting her.
When she came home, she told me that the doctor said she was “homicidal” when she was admitted. It was almost like she wanted me to be afraid of her. And I definitely was.
My bedroom door stayed that way for about 3 years before the door was changed out. I could not have forgotten that incident even if I wanted to.
The last time I visited my mother, she was angry because my brother brought me to her house without a “warning”. He wanted to surprise her. Initially she seemed in shock, since it had been more than 4 years since our last meeting. But immediately after she became angry and upset and went to her room. But the look on her face and the attitude of her that day, reminded me of those mugs and how I was always afraid of her reactions.
This particular day upset my brother, but I was numb to it. I partially expected that it would not go well. The other part of me had hope that we would have a happy visit.
I’m not sure when I will visit again, if ever. I feel guilty for needing to have the separation, but I also feel like it’s my time to heal. I can’t heal if I’m constantly being broken.
I always felt like the most terrible daughter, even though I spent many, many years taking care of her.
There have been many times over the past year that I have longed for a mother to hold me and tell me everything was going to be ok. But the reality is that it will probably never happen.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.