May 27, 2018

a god-damned shame

If you've ever wondered how my mother and I relate to each other on a daily basis, given the history I've shared in prior posts, the answer is that we don't.  Daily isn't in it, nor is phone contact.  I do try to toss her a fish once every few weeks, sometimes in response to a passive-aggressive "gee, haven't heard from you in a while" e-mail.

Conversation usually revolves around whatever we can each find that is superficial and occupies common ground ... leaf-raking, her varying degrees of success gardening in her back yard, the weather, and dog stuff.

And therein lies the rub.  Dog stuff.  My mother has loved and lost dogs, rescued greyhounds, and has adopted a high-needs dog and had to give her up because of the need to travel.  She has the warmest of hearts -- for dogs.  I told her we were losing Chester and she sent sincere condolences.

And because P.J. and I just waded through Hell and back home again, I thought that perhaps I would share a little bit more of myself with her, just on a lark, in recognition that this is one of the few areas of life in which we understand each other.  I did this by copying my previous blog post ("mud") into an e-mail to her -- being careful, of course, to strip out the bit about the Jewish zombie Jesus corpse jumping out from behind bushes, because even I can be respectful to those I know are to some degree religious, and more so to a parent.  My mother has been attending a church of some sort for a few years now and has mentioned this, so I sent the expurgated version in deference, while still allowing her to hear the story, which I think is good and needs to be told.

The more fool I.  This is what I got back from her later this evening:

"I'm so very sorry about Chester.  Truly.  I know he will be missed.

Lille, I love you very much.  And as I began reading the blog that you sent, I was amazed at the eloquence of your words and the depth of your feelings about the lady who has touched your lives so deeply.  I was so proud of you and thought to myself, "She should write a book or something"........

until I got to the last paragraph and was 'slapped in the face' by your taking God's name in vain.   As your mother, I am heart-broken.  As a woman who has humbly been forgiven by Him for all the years of sin and mistakes in my life, I am terribly offended.  I have let it go in the past, but I cannot this time.  This is not easy for me to write, but I feel compelled to write it.   Mom"

Stunned and slack-jawed I sat, for several minutes, because I was unable to move or speak or even think much.  I had been nothing short of sucker-punched.  When the fuck did she jump off the deep end?  And if my language at each of our yearly Christmas meals at Cracker Barrel has been so deplorable, why the hell didn't she say something then?  I took her failure to react to casual cursing as permission.  It's that dance you do, adult children and their parents.

She has been through enough in her life to know what matters and what doesn't.  I don't feel loss because there has never been much there to lose, but it bothers me, bothers me a lot, that she's gone and grabbed a paper cup of the Kool-Aid and sat down on the lawn beside my fundamentalist sister.  I thought there was a little space she had carved out for me, room for me and my weirdness and otherness, because I am her daughter, but it would appear there's a pew occupying that little space now.

For that matter, I'm gay.  Why the fuck is she even still speaking to us?  She probably prays for our redemption.  This I find ... pitiable.  But she's welcome to do it, if it helps her.

My response to my mother:

"I shall be more careful in the future to remove any such offensive language from my writing before sending it to you.  I apologize.  I will say that it would have been helpful to know, in that past, that it offended you, instead of you letting it go without saying anything.  I don't well abide false senses of security.  I'm glad you finally said something.  Thank you."

If it would have made any sense at all, I would have added, "Sincerely, Management" at the end.  And notice that I didn't say I'd stop god-damning every god-damned thing I god-damned see and write about, merely that I'd strip out the god-damned offensive content before sending it to her god-damned e-mail inbox.

It would be a god-damned shame if this drove another wedge between us and led to another five years of god-damned silence.  Such a shame.  How would I hear about her god-damned squash garden and the god-damned Weather Channel's forecast and how many god-damned pecans her tree is giving this year?

P.J.'s response to the whole thing:  "Turn up the 'fucks' to eleven."

Update:  I spent some time last night angry about my mother's fuckwittery and the callousness of her timing and the probable loss that will ensue, and I've been through it before and it is so very, very wearying, and I have cried some.  But all the while, I cannot get this out of my head:

Updated update:  The message back from my mother:  "Thank you."  Lengthy.  Concise.  Telling.  So here's another one:

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