"She was a lovely mother, daughter, and person, and will be forever missed and loved. I trust she is sitting happily in heaven watching down on us." the words unemotionally leaving the woman I call Aunt Jane's wrinkly lips. Droplets of rain clinging on to my arms and face. Salty, thick air cloud my lungs. I can't focus on the fact that my mother is dead, I can't focus on the fact that the family members who collectively hate her, are pretending (quite badly) that they are going to miss her. All I can focus on is the wet grass, the smell of pure dampness, and the way the cold is making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, as goosebumps litter my body.
I haven't cried. Haven't felt particularly sad either. Waves of strange nostalgia wash over me again and again. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I don't feel sad at all. I feel as if she needed to die, she messed up her life too much in this world. A fresh start should do her good. I don't miss her either. I never really needed her and she wasn't the greatest mother I would think. Not like the ones on the television or books. Wasn't like the common antagonist either. Just troubled, drinking through her problems and sleeping the most likely hurt away. Not abusive. Just empty. I have no pent up anger or aggression towards her, no ill wishes, or resentment. My mother is a soul best observed from a distance. Couldn't hold a relationship with anyone to save her life.
"Thank you" Aunt Jane finally states. Jane was a wrinkly woman, her hair thin with plenty of bald spots at the back, a shade of box blonde too yellow with a somehow ashy appearance. Her thin lips always pursed with disapproval. Disapproval of everything, the young women at the mall with crop tops and ripped jeans. The mothers trying their best with screaming toddlers, tutting at them as they anxiously hush their children. Carrying the old-fashioned belief that unmarried women are somehow less worthy of those who are married. So she disapproves of them too. You may have noticed a pattern of how she mainly disapproves of women. Personally I feel as if that the misogyny she carries will someday, somehow, drown her. Safe to say she heavily disapproves of me as an unmarried, 23 year old woman, who isn't apposed to a short skirt.
Jane although has always been very desperate for male attention, but not in the way you would expect. She is the type to make excuses for every damn thing a man would do. Never the man's fault. That is how she sees it. The man she would most commonly excuse was her husband Brian. You would think after 30 years of marriage, they would be completely in love. But no, Brian is a horrible man who enjoys putting down his wife in public places, screaming at her, and sometimes even beating her after coming home extremely drunk. This is a secret affair, only known from memories of my childhood, sleeping at my aunts house and hiding in the towel cupboard at the top of the stairs, peeking in the cracks and watching it go down, trying to stop the silent tears from falling down my face, because although I've never liked Aunt Jane, I didn't want her to be beaten black and blue. I never wanted to hear the sound of her begging for mercy from him, the hiss of the hard slap, and the blood-curdling scream of pain exiting her lungs.
But alas she still stayed with him. I don't blame Aunt Jane for that though, while on lookers may think "How could she stay?" The abuse victim thinks "How can I leave?". Abuse rarely comes in one form, I'm sure their was plenty of gaslighting, manipulation, and pure pain involved. But she also disapproves of women who have had divorces so I'm not sure what to think. Maybe Jane projects her insecurities on to the women she "disapproves of" maybe Brian broke her down and built her up to a version of her that he likes better, with his ideologies. A version of her that's easier to control.
Although on the flip side. Brian never hid the fact that he was not a good man. On the rare times my mother was neither hungover, drunk, or asleep we would talk. She told me that Brian was a disgusting human being from the beginning (in much cruder language). But Jane was desperate. She wanted a child badly. They never knew why since Jane would brag how she wanted a child to discipline, she would say how the child would never play and scream, she would frequently say how she would make sure that that it would never show emotions. But months after the marriage it became known that Jane was not fertile. Left without a child just with her negative emotions and judgements about divorce, she didn't get one. Jane was quite a hypocritical human being. She would look down on my mother for her alcohol issues, and yet her husband was in the same crashed boat sinking even faster than my mother.
Mom had demons. Demons that she tried hard to fight off. But they got the best of her. Was she the best mother? No. Did I raise myself? Essentially. Was I embarrassed about the state we lived in since it was always so dirty? Yes. But she tried. When I was 17 she tried going to rehab. My hopes came up. I thought she would get better, and she could live out the rest of her years alcohol free. She could come to my graduation. She would hug me and say she was sorry for all the years she slept through. I knew it wasn't going to happen that smoothly (if at all) but I clinged on to hope for dear life and couldn't let go. I wanted a mother a healthy one, I fell in love with the picture I had in my head of her. The picture I imaged normal mothers to be like, a picture I hoped would be the future but it wasn't.
She began to have withdrawal symptoms. Aside from the never before seen anger, she started having seizures. Those scared me, and sure as hell scared her as well, because she ran straight back to the alcohol. The alcohol over her daughter. I know how addiction works. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but I was sad and frustrated. My dad died at this time too. He wasn't a drinker and was the "normal parent" in my childhood, they split up when I was a child and I remember the arguments blurrily. I remember the emotions though. They scared me, and gave me horrible guilty feelings I could barely decipher as a young child, I remember feeling bad for my mother in the arguments, since my dad would have a shouty voice, and my mom would be dazed her voice being slurred out and like she was barely there. I thought that was normal for moms to sleep all day and not want to talk with me, since it was all I've ever known. I realize now that my dad was trying to get my mother to quit the alcohol and be a mother. He cared about all of us and helped my mom to great lengths long after the divorce.
It killed me when he died but I couldn't show it. Growing up with sleepovers at Aunt Jane's would be horrendous, she would teach me questionable things about human life, trying to push her prejudices on to me. She would be utterly disgusted with everything I did. She would hate touching me, and would tell me "No dinner for ugly crying girls". She would lock me out of the house if I teared up. "No crying children" She would scream at the top of her lungs. Eventually it worked I couldn't cry in front of people and I find it difficult to be able to cry, I cried a bit when my dad died but I couldn't cry anymore, their was no use. I just had this heavy feeling in my heart that I carried. I wish I could explain it better. But I can't.
Is Jane evil? I don't know.
Is my mother evil? I don't know
Does evil exist? I don't know
I don't know a lot of things. I'm so split down the middle about most matters. I pretend I know a lot. I go to medical school like my father did many years ago. I know the books. But do those really matter at the end of the day? Is it worth knowing things that are seemingly insignificant? If I don't know the "important" things? Importance of something is subjective so its all just knowledge. Well perhaps all knowledge has value. But what's the point of knowing anything at all? The real point aside from the money, or pretending your better than people? Maybe that smug feeling in your heart, the feeling that you know more about this complicated life, that you know a pixel more than your neighbor across the street. But I feel in my bones that the universe laughs. Laughing at the fact that humans think they know all, but the little they know could be completely taken away or invalidated by a strong breeze from up above.