EVIL IS---HEARTLESS AND DEADLY. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE.
Because of my Father’s money, my aging mother was treated like royalty in the small town of Pine Bluff. Growing old, she was made to feel like a queen by my daughters; Jack’s minister; the staff at the assisted living facility; and the medical team at Pine Bluff’s only hospital.
When my oldest daughter brought her grandmother’s laundry to my house, I was appalled at the tattered gowns and torn robe and immediately purchased new ones. With no one to deliver my purchases--- I decided to deliver them to my mother’s hospital room during my lunch break. She seemed shockingly- surprised when I walked in her room. The last time we’d crossed paths was at my brother’s funeral in the early nineties. Surrounded by her loyal followers, she’d taken great pleasure in ignoring me; spitefully-turning her back on me--for all to see.
Now, my mother was flabbergasted at my ability to be nice, despite the way she’d consistently-treated me. I hung the robe in the closet, placed the gowns in a drawer and said “I hope you enjoy your day” and left. Her room looked hospital-ugly—void of color, life, or freshness—so I called the florist and ordered two large flower arrangements-- both spring bouquets--delivered to her hospital room. One card was signed “Sally” and I asked the florist to sign the other card with my youngest daughter’s name. Why? Because, back in my hospital/volunteer days, I’d watched hospital staff and medical teams treat older patients with more dignity and respect when those patients were actively-loved and cared for by family. Appearance is everything.
When my mother was moved to an assisted living facility, I “dropped by” unexpectedly---a second time. She was trying to watch a very small and very-old Television without a remote. The TV screen was so small my mother--unable to see the picture-- just listened to it like a radio.
The next day, I returned with a new television that had a large screen and a matching remote. My mother was sleeping at the time and… after placing the television on a night stand… I left the room. That day, at the request of the facilities director, I agreed to return several days later to present a simple-but short music program for the residents.
About twenty people showed up for the program--most in wheelchairs and many who looked “surprised” like they weren’t sure where they were or why. My mother, also in a wheelchair, had been carefully-positioned near the piano by an attendant. Unlike others in my audience, she insisted on talking and laughing with my ex-husband’s minister throughout my performance. Ignoring her rudeness, I continued to play and sing old, familiar church hymns, hoping some around me would be inspired to join in the singing.
Half-way through the program, my mother had the minister wheel her back to her room. She passed by me without saying thanks for the TV or thanks for the songs. That was the last time I saw the woman who was known as my “Mother”.
As a reader, you have every reason to wonder why I cared how my mother was treated; why I cared if she had life’s simple pleasures. It’s true. My mother turned her back on me from birth and---soon began the abuse so—why should I care about her?
I cared because, from childhood, I learned that God expects the best from us, regardless of how others treat us. I also cared as a matter of personal pride,public perception, and respect for my father. Believe me when I say: Nothing I did—the bed clothes, flowers, TV, or music program—was an attempt to soften my mother’s heart. Let’s just say, I did it for me.
On August 1, 2011, my mother stopped breathing. It was no surprise my mother left my daughters everything and left me nothing. The surprise came when my daughters—now in control of considerable money and power—abandoned me. The children I’d birthed and loved-- always—walked away from me the day my mother died—without a backward glance. After my mother’s death, I began writing about the emotional events that took place. I detailed the words—decisions-- and actions-- taken by my daughters--their stepmother-- and their father’s family. I wrote page after page--as they called to tell me my mother was dead--and emphasized-- I was not invited to the graveside service-- and--would no-longer be part of their lives. I described the call I received from their lawyer--- threatening to sue me---if I didn’t allow my daughters to “re-claim” their long-ago possessions from MY house. The fact is: My children never contacted me about getting their “possessions.“ Better-Still-- they had MY House Key and could have "emptied" my house-- any day of the week--- while I was working, fifty miles away.
Before my mother's burial, my oldest daughter addressed me for the last time: “If you ever hear I did something good for somebody or something—like a stranger or an animal—you should be happy, knowing, I learned from you.” Happy?!?!?
My youngest daughter’s final words were shared--over the phone-- soon after my mother died: “You better not have the guts to show up at the graveside service, you crazy cunt.”