For the sake of brevity, I have penned these memories without time scale. My mother died when she was 64 year of age; far too young.
My mother was a joyous soul, laughter her release and comfort. From a small family she had a kind heart and as a child I remember Christmases of endless laughter and a keen sense of humor that ran through the entire family. My mother knew from the day of her wedding that marriage to my father was a mistake. It was during the war and mum spent their honeymoon nursing my father’s delirium during a bout of malaria. My father was the youngest of a large family and was spoiled rotten, his mother would take all his wage from working and during the week give him more than double what he earned. My father was a brilliant musician and artist but could never be told anything by anyone, and for that reason lost many prime jobs and opportunities. He was basically chauvinistic in his attitude toward women, and my mother being passive yielded to his moods and attitudes to keep the peace.
Mum had many troubles having children and by the time I was born in 1953, she had several stillborn children and miscarriages. I was her last opportunity for a child and for that reason I was doted upon. I became her very reason for living, especially as their marriage was stressful and often rocky. My father spent much time on the road with his jobs and played around, as one would expect from someone who was used to getting what he wanted. My mother often found out about his affairs and once a woman became pregnant, which caused my mother to be covered in eczema, hospitalized, and eventually have a nervous breakdown.
Growing up Mum was always the disciplinarian, my father had little to do with my upbringing, as that was the belief and role of the day. Dad was self-involved completely and took up body-building to support a war injury in his back, and encouraged me to join him, which I did for many years. That was our relationship. When I was nineteen, my father announced in the middle of Christmas lunch, he was leaving my mother for a girlfriend he had when he was fourteen. My mother, who stayed with my father for more than twenty years for my sake alone, was now humiliated in front of her entire family.
From that moment, my mother mistakenly placed all her emotional needs on me, who at nineteen, wasn’t able to fulfill that expectation and so after some months of struggle, I left home to be closer to my job and to get away from the emotional ties of my mother. I married quicker than I should have and our first child became ill through a random twist in her bowl, and after four months of endless operations and suffering, my daughter died. This broke up my marriage as we were too young to handle such a tragedy and it drove us apart.
My mother, who worked for four doctors, neglected a lump in her breast for over twelve months, out of fear. When she revealed it to me, it looked like a black tree root covering here entire breast. As you would expect she had a radical mastectomy, and the tumor weighed over 2.5 kg. Unbelievable, that anyone could ignore a tumor for twelve months out of fear.
After a year of remission my mother fell down my stairs at home and two days later they found an aggressive tumor in her liver. Mum was gone in two months.
I was so connected to my mother as I was an only child, yet she drove me away because of her own desperate emotional needs, after many years of sacrifice, keeping a wrong marriage together. The circumstances are tragic, no doubt, and I guess it shows you how one decision can change everything in life. I love my mum and know that even in her death throws, she worried about me. I wish life could have been better for a woman who had such a good heart, but I guess that’s life. We don’t know what we’re going to get, we just have to deal with it.
Mum was born on Christmas day and was named Noela. I think of her often and hope she has found peace in a life that in the end was tumultuous. Yet she lives on in me, and the ideals and positive understandings she instilled in me still bless my life. For that I am grateful.
Tony DeLorger © 2017