It was 9 years ago that I got a call from my father telling me someone had contacted him about my mother. I jotted down the phone number on a scrap of paper.
After I hung up with him, I stared at that strip of paper for what felt like forever. With butterflies in my stomach, a mixture of excitement and fear overwhelmed me as I mustered the courage to dial the phone.
A woman answered. Her voice shaky she explained to me that my mother had died. I needed to come to California to sign some paperwork in order for the processing of my mother’s body to be taken care of.
Within the span of what felt like a lifetime- but could have only been 10 minutes -I rode the worst emotional roller coaster of my life. Think of the happiest, saddest and most life-changing moments of your life playing out in such rapid succession. Could you process it? How badly would it hurt?
I was six years old the day my mother chased after that car. Tears streaming down her face. Desperation and horror in her screams; begging my father to stop.
I never saw her again.
The years following my father and his family told me what a horrible person my mother was. That she didn’t want me. That she didn’t love me. That I was lucky to have been taken from her. That I should be thankful my father loved me enough to do the right thing.
The right thing? Snatching a child from her front yard and speeding away; never to allow that child to feel the warm embrace of her mother again?
I was 12 years old the day we got our first computer and internet access. The first thing I did once unsupervised? Try to find my mother.
I asked Jeeves. He didn’t know but he did direct me to various resources that might help. I made accounts on various forums, wrote emails to Oprah and made friends with a boy my age, on AIM, who lived in the city I was born. He asked his mom for help but San Bernardino is big. It’s not like Oklahoma where everyone knows someone that knows someone.
Over the years as the internet evolved my methods for trying to locate her evolved, too. Long before MySpace and Facebook, there was a social network called Bolt and, of course, MSN and Yahoo chat rooms. I spent more time in those chat rooms than I did anywhere else. My entire adolescence was spent searching for my mother and no one in my life could know I was doing it.
All the mother/daughter moments came and went. I watched my peers complain about them. They had no idea how privileged they were to be embarrassed and ashamed of the women who brought them into this world. They had not a clue as to how lucky they were to give her attitude.
Can you recall momentous events from your childhood, teen years… even adulthood?
How prominent is your mother in those memories? If she were stripped away from them, what would they be?
My desire to find my mother, to know her, to argue with her, to be embarrassed by her at school functions was so deep. This desire grew stronger each day and became overwhelmingly painful once I found out I was pregnant with my oldest child.
I now knew the love a mother feels. I knew my mother felt that for me. I couldn’t imagine my daughters being torn from my life the way I was from my mother. I felt the hurt my mother must have felt just thinking about it.
I had to find her. She had to know she was a grandmother. I needed to share those mother/daughter advice sessions with her. I needed a mom as much as I’m sure she felt the need to have her daughter.
I was 21 the day I lost the mother I never had. All hope of ever seeing her face or hearing her voice again. All hope of my children having a grandmother. Everything. Gone.
It shattered my world. So much of my life had been consumed by an undying need to touch, smell and exist beside her…
Over the past 9 years, I’ve had to come to grips with the reality that that need will never be satisfied. It’s gotten easier but it is still hard. Immensely difficult.
The world keeps moving around me, no matter how desperately I wish it would stop, rewind and let me do it all over again but with her this time. More than once I’ve wanted to get off this ride we call life.
Why haven’t I unfastened the seat belt mid-loop di loop? Why do I stay on the ride?
Amazing little future adults that deserve to have the mother I never had.