Submitted Date 08/07/2019

My Mother's Curse
Age 34, Southport, North Carolina, 1979
the death of my mother

-- This is one poem, from my autobiographical series of poems, that I posted here at WriteSpike. Go to my Stories section for others. They are in chronological order. --

The motivation of the vindictive parent is to exact revenge against the other parent...
~ Allan Schwartz, Ph.D. ~

When my mother died, I was angry
no - I was furious
and because I felt something
I did not want to feel
I was plunged into the same turmoil
that had been the trademark of her life

hating shows of emotion
she would not let me cry when she was dying;
after her funeral I still could not
as though my tears were now stuck in my throat

Australian with British grandparents
and having lived in London
she was known for her charming demeanor
her distinct accent and her poise

always restless,
she moved every couple of years
just to move
and when she wasn't moving
she rearranged the furniture -
growing up I hated this instability

I knew it was
hidden anger with a polite face
a rage underneath that leaked out
in unexpected ways

for thirty years she had taken my father to court
over the remains of an eight-year marriage
cases she never won
- caught in the middle, I refused to take sides
but it meant that my world was to be colored
well into my thirties
it meant that I could not stay at my father's house
as a teenager, the only stable home I had known
it meant that the sheriff showed up one morning
and took possession of my father's car

by moving to North Carolina
I got away from it all
but then she followed me
and bought a house in Southport
promising not to be a bother

yet when she asked me
to testify against my father
and I refused
she stopped talking to me
for a year
so her turmoil pursued me

after she died I had panic attacks
I actually believed the sky was falling
like catching an illness,
I was able to fight it off,
a year later I was back to normal
although still wrestling with the guilt

slowly as time passed
I was able to untangle
some of the ropes
she had tied me with

almost a religion with her
she believed in telling the truth,
in keeping promises
which was the basis of her lawsuits -
yet after she died
I caught her in a lie
and it was then that the wall
she had built around me
began to fade

decades later I was watching Dr. Phil
"Never use your children
like pawns in a marriage dispute,"
he told a parent
"They will hate you
and with good reason."

finally I was free
free at last

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  • Chrystal Graham 6 months, 1 week ago

    Beautiful, tragic. I know this story all-too-well.

    • Rick Doble 6 months, 1 week ago

      It amazes me how blind people are to their foibles and the damage that they do.

  • Andrea Hope 1 month, 1 week ago

    An important message. And makes me oh, so curious about the lie you found.

    • Rick Doble 1 month, 1 week ago

      The lie was that I had sent her a letter which she claimed she never got. It turned out she had gotten the letter but she did not want to deal with the message.