I have spent the last 5 years and 10 months stuck in an impossible situation. One that was driven by obligation, fueled by responsibility, and thrived upon by selfishness of another. Those of you who know me know that since January 1, 2008 when I made the decision to move home to help my dying mother, my life has not been my own. My first role was not person, it was daughter. My second role was not actor, as my college degree says I should be, it was caregiver. My life was not my own, it was my mother’s. And over the course of five years it became apparent, that my life had never been my own. It had always been hers. I’d been on a collision course with losing what I thought was my identity, only to find out the identity I thought I lost, I truly never had. I was always just her daughter. And would always be that, until she finally took her leave of this earth.
Selflessly I headed back to the town of my birth. The town that I ran from at 18 so fast it made everyone’s head spin, including my own. The town I dreaded visiting during holidays for a dozen years. The town that I loathed so badly, that I cried as I drove everyone one of the miles it took to return here from Seattle. And I did it all for my mother. Yeah, I’m that selfless. Or was it more that I was just that obedient. I would learn, over the next five years that it was the latter. I had a choice to stay where I was. I had a choice to leave her to fend for herself. I had the choice. Although, 30 year old me didn’t see the other choices. All I saw was the choice to do my duty.
Five years, five months, and countless hospital and doctor visits later, my mother lost her battle, and finally took her leave. And in that moment, on July 7, 2013 I felt complete and utter freedom. A freedom that I can’t even find the words to describe. It was so powerful and so strong that it took over for almost three weeks. It took three weeks for the grief and tears and mourning to arrive. And when they did they came with the thunder. Literally. They were quickly replaced by anger and resentment at the financial situation my mother left me in. Tons of medical bills and house bills that I never knew existed were now sitting heavily on my chest. Family members, who I never knew, who never wanted anything to do with me, were suddenly coming out of the woodwork. I’m not a very open person to those who have wronged me. I’m not a very forgiving person to those who abandoned me. And these people are those persons, and so I have no use for them or their offered support.
My friends all have lives of their own, and the ones who see me as family supported as much as they could from a distance, as none of them live in this hell hole of a town. So, as I had done for most of my life, I dug into my inner strength and got through it on my own. Were there tears? Sure. Was there anger? Absolutely. Did I hit a wall or two? Perhaps. But through all of that, I kept my strength, for only my strength was going to help me through.
My strength, and the support of a few friends who always, and i do mean always, answered their phones when I’d finally need more strength that I had inside me. Vincent ‘VJ’ Orduna takes the gold medal in support. My best friend and brother of my heart always there when I needed him. Always says the perfect thing, and I’m so grateful to him. Nathan Larsen, and this may surprise some, him most of all, was a huge support system for me. We are creepily linked cosmically, and Nate always managed to call right when I needed an ear and some tough love. And I will forever be grateful for those calls. Pete Warfel talked me off the panic attack ledge more than once, the last one being the scariest one I’ve ever had, and if not for him, I don’t know what I’d have done. Thanks for answering the phone on those, Indiana Pete. Thank you so very much. Thank you to Cathy Desgranges and Tara Lint-Burling for being at the hospital with me during her passing, I’ll never forget that support. Thank you to Dara Foster, my mom’s best friend, for secretly paying off some of her bills that I didn’t know how I was going to pay, and doing so without my asking. She’s an angel. And lastly, thank you to Dakota Russell for all the help you gave me in the days following my mom’s death. I truly couldn’t have done the things he did for me, and I’ll never forget him for that.
I got through it all, and with 2013 coming to a close in a few days, and 2014 upon us, the end of this horrific time of my life and heartbreaking year is near. Jamie Nathaniel posted one of these blogs and it inspired me, as everything she does inspires me. I will use this blog to record the next chapter of my life, because it is truly the first of my life. My life as my own, obligated to no one. Responsible for only myself. It’s a freedom that is a little scary and unbelievably exciting. I’m taking the next week between Christmas and New Year’s to make a list of all the things I want to do. And my hope is in doing that I’ll find out what I want to be; where I want to be. All I’ve ever been is Margaret’s daughter. I was never allowed to be anything else, as that was a 24/7 job. Who am I now? What can I become now? The possibilities are endless, I just need to choose one dream and chase it. My dreams died in this town. The dreams I thought I wanted are such a distant memory from a life I barely remember that they are almost forgotten. So, time to find a new one. Time to prepare to take the first step on the first chapter of the rest of MY life. My strength got me this far, but my strength is exhausted. It is ready for a break, and I’m ready to give it one. And let inspiration and ambition take over. It’s going to get interesting.
Until next time.