Recently I shared with you a very powerful healing that I personally experienced around my mother. This beautiful and deeply intimate sharing has led to an even greater healing in our evolving relationship together. You can read the first sharing through this link http://janesejohnson.com/ancestors-walk-healing-the-wounds-with-my-mother-janese-derrough/
Initially when my Mom called, I was worried that something unfortunate had happened to one of my family members that live in Oregon near her. It was rare for Mom to take the initiative to call ; usually it was either my brother Pat, or me calling them. After she reassured me that everything was okay , she asked if we were safe, as she had seen extreme weather warnings headed to North Carolina. Actually, we live in the mountains and were quite protected from the coastal weather that had been bombarding NC recently.
It so touched my heart that she had called out of concern for my well being. Our relationship has not always been this way and, in fact, had been quite tumultuous for both of us through the years. I was told that my mother was no longer alive, and I believed that to be true. I was raised by my grandmother from the age of two seven, at which time my brother and I went off to live with my alcoholic father (sober now 31+ years).
When I was ten years old, I was quite shocked at the news that not only was my mother alive, but that she was moving in with us with two more children! Once I was able to process what that meant, I was quite happy! Now I would have someone to love, protect , and take care of me! As my dad was working full time, going to college, raising two children on his own, and drinking beer at every moment that he had off, life had felt very challenging to me. I had been placed in the role of “mother” trying to maneuver the day to day basics of eating, school work, getting to school,etc., so I was thrilled that I would have what all the other kids in life had. Now, I ,too would have my MOM and she was coming to take care of ME!
I was soon to find out that I was not going to get rescued, and in fact , my life was to be a living hell for the four years that we lived together. She hated me, and had no qualms telling me quite often how much she did. I was miserable and fought back every time she put me down; and sadly at times it even became physical.
She and my two younger brothers returned to Oregon shortly after our family home burned down. All six of us were living in a travel trailer in our back yard while our house was being rebuilt. That seemed to be the catalyst that brought everything to a forefront and life was unbearable for everyone. On the day she left, her “goodbye” to me consisted of wishing me a miserable life ..the same kind of life that she felt I had given her.
Sadly, I took her words as truth which affected my life from that point on until I was 21 years old.I did all that I could to have a miserable life; drugs, alcohol, wild behavior, dropping out of school, and feeling quite “entitled” to my pity party since I had such a miserable childhood. But deep inside, a small voice never gave up reminding me that I had value and deserved more than the life I was living! At 18 years old, I put myself in the first rehab and these thirty day programs were the “norm” until I was almost 21 .On the 25th day of one of these programs, I realized that I needed more. I begged them to put me in a long term program.Fortunately,there was an amazing one on a farm for young adults with addiction challenges, where I spent the next eight months. This was the beginning of a new life that I feel quite blessed to be living to this day. My gratitude and spiritual relationship with myself, others, and the Divine, continues to deepen daily.
This healing journey has brought me into raw, angry, sad, and fearful areas within my being. Life has asked me to look honestly and courageously at myself and my shadows with all my relations. I continue to accept letting go of the “victim” mentality as I am becoming more empowered.
My mother and I have spent many years crying together. She has apologized numerous times, and that seemed to only go so far. There was still a wall between us that did not go away.This last conversation has changed everything and moved us into a new and beautiful connection. This occurred just after I experienced a very powerful healing through a dance workshop.( which I have already shared in a previous blog post). That experience spurred my curiosity to learn more about my mom’s past “story”. In other words, I was done focusing on “my” stuff, and truly cared about hearing and understanding hers (yea!).
After reassuring my mom that I was okay, I decided to take the conversation deeper. I told her about my recent experience of healing concerning our relationship and the loss of my eye; and asked if she could share facets of her childhood with me, since I had little awareness of it.
It was as if a dam broke and the waters of her pain and life stories started to flow out of her, bubbling with pent up emotion from someone who had not shared much of her story with anyone her whole life.
I had heard bits of sad tales about her childhood, but little did I know of the significant trauma that she experienced. I asked her if it would be okay to share her story on my blog and that others would see it. She said yes, and since she had blocked out all of her childhood until recently, seemed relieved to finally be heard and seen.
My mother’s story:
Not many people had known that my mother was born a twin. When the two of them were born, it was too much for her alcoholic mother to handle .Her best friend could not have children, so she picked one and “gave” my mom to her best friend to raise. Her friend’s name was Charlotte and they chose my mom to be named after her. My mom knew that she had a twin that lived around the corner and they often played together. They loved playing hopscotch, ball, and jumping jacks. They deeply loved one another and were scolded for spending too much time together. On one sunny day ,the two girls met on the sidewalk to play ball. They were throwing it back and forth , laughing and enjoying one another ,not only as twins, but as inseparable friends, and the ball rolled out into the road. Cora May (my mother’s twin) ran out to get it and was struck by a car, and sadly did not survive.
Little Charlotte was devastated. The only person she felt safe with and trusted was now gone. She had no one to share her grief with. Shortly after this sad day; when she was feeling so much despair and vulnerably, she was raped and beaten, and left to die by her caretaker’s ex husband. When Charlotte ( the caregiver) came home from work, she found my mom laying unconscious on the couch in a puddle of blood. She rushed her to the hospital, which did save her life. My mom was not quite 8 years old when this tragedy occurred.
Fortunately, there was a witness and the man went to jail. Charlotte ( the caretaker) was so devastated by what had happened that four months later committed suicide. My mom was sent back to her biological parents, and was instructed never to talk about any of this again. Much of her being closed down and died the day her twin died, and then a little more with the rape. She never talked about it, and soon the painful memories burrowed their way deep into her unconsciousness .
My mom has been courageously facing all of this with the help of a therapist, and is beginning to understand more of herself. She is an amazing woman, and I truly hope that one day she can feel and know that about herself.
In our conversation yesterday, she said to me that she now sees why she could not accept me for so many years. When I asked her why, she responded that it was because she didn’t accept herself. Thankfully, now she does accept and love me.
For so many years I longed to hear that for the little Janese ;the little girl inside that wanted mommy to love me. With the healing that I have done, I rejoiced NOT in what she said for little Janese “wanting mommy”, but in celebration of my mom.
Through the power of love and the courage to share from our hearts, my mom and I are at a beautiful new place in our relationship. I feel truly blessed to have her in my life, and to call her my mom. She is a strong and courageous woman. Thank you, Mom, for having the courage to share your vulnerable self so that we may truly know you and hold you in our prayers.