It’s a Saturday night, and you know what? It’s been a good day. Instead of spending the evening worrying about another weekend without Jolene, Mom and I went out for a celebration dinner. Not only did I sell my fourth book, but also my first mystery, Gunfight at Grace Gulch, was (hopefully) shipped today to members of the Heartsong Presents: Mysteries book club.
But this blog is not to brag about me, at least not for now. So I’ll return to the one conversation that darkened an otherwise wonderful evening.
Like many of us, Mom tends to say, “I should have … I could have … if only I would have …..”
She repeated a familiar story. Years ago, her therapist tried to jolt her out of negative thinking. “You’re right, if only you weren’t such a good mother, Darlene would be in Skowhegan” (a state facility for troubled girls.)
It’s one of Mom’s favorite stories. I was my class valedictorian, all-state band and paid pianist. In spite of her perceived shortcomings, she raised a good kid. Since I’m that kid, I like the story too. Most of the time.
But tonight her words reinforced the inner voice that whispers You were a terrible mother. That’s why your daughter committed suicide.
Mom said, “For that one moment, when I told you the story, I had forgotten.”
We made a deliberate choice to spend the evening in celebration and not in mourning.
How easily the anger and guilt that I blogged about a few days ago resurfaces. Anger at my ex-husband? That’s easy. Anger at myself? That comes out all the time. Anger at Mom, just because she’s there? Of course. I need to redirect that anger at its real objects—at Jolene, for leaving me. At God, for letting it happen. Only He can heal the rage.
I missed Jolene tonight. We ate at a local Chili’s restaurant. I remembered other celebrations at Chili’s when Jolene was present. I wanted to share a skillet queso appetizer with her. I could almost see her climbing on the gigantic stone peppers that adorn the grounds.
I hurt, a dull ache that explodes into fireworks at unexpected times.