It bothers me now that I didn’t keep a journal over the early years of our life together. The entries from page to page are a couple of years apart. There are so many things that happened in the gap, so many things that I wanted to say…to remember.
I’m glad I am doing it now.
It has been almost a year since Paul’s mother died from cancer. I want to say that our time with her on earth was always good, but it was at times rather rocky.
It was a long grieving process. Paul lost his only parent, a parent whose mutual path with him was oftentimes a twisted road mixed with conflict, happiness, disappointment, and love.
Martha was a difficult person to get along with. It was all or nothing with her. We were either an angel or a devil to her, nothing in between.
I was the best daughter-in-law the world has ever seen. I could do nothing wrong. The next minute I was the devil and would come careening off my pedestal. It seemed as though she had relationships like that with everyone that was close to her.
Happy elated hellos turned into screaming hollering good-byes.
Martha was an unrealistically extreme optimist. She told the kids she would buy them a pool when she retired. She would get everyone’s expectations up only to dash them into the ground. Over time I learned to translate the meaning behind her words. When she said she was going to do something, it didn’t mean that she was actually going to do it. It meant that she wanted to do it.
Martha was a bit of a free spirit. She oftentimes said she would be somewhere only to show up hours late, not show up at all, or cancel out last minute.
She always had an excuse for everything. It was always the fault of someone else, not her own. She didn’t graduate from high school because the school burned down. She didn’t have enough money for gas. It might rain for an outdoor party. It might snow for her granddaughter’s high school choir solo debut. It was too hot for the kids outdoor birthday party. She ran out of hot water. The car broke down. She had to work. She was sick.
She often made up stories that couldn’t possibly be true, but she believed them. She argued with people who tried to convince her otherwise. She, at times, thought that other people were out to get her.
Martha just wasn’t like me……she didn’t suffer from feelings of depression or anxiety. She didn’t worry about anything. She was outgoing, carefree, and spontaneous. She saw the world through rose colored glasses. She didn’t care if she was late. The clock’s ticking did not grind at her. She was happy with what she had. There wasn’t a harsh taskmaster in her head striving for more. She was easily excited by ordinary things. She was an interesting person, simple yet complex. You never knew what you were going to get.
It was hard sometimes not to feel irritated. Then there were feeling of guilt because we knew that Martha meant well. She just wasn’t playing cards with a full deck.
Life, sometimes it is a battle of heart versus mind. The logical part tells you that you shouldn’t feel a certain way, but you can’t stop from feeling the way that you do.
Regardless, we made our peace with Martha. We thanked her for her sacrifice of raising a child that she wasn’t ready to raise on her own. In the end, we knew she loved us and did the best she could. She knew that we loved her too.