The Closet Door by Joanie
‘Oh no! God – not another test-haven’t I had enough already? Oh well, I take a deep breath, shoulders back, pull up my boots and march forward!!! Let’s get on with it and over with…
I remember so many things but I’m always saying, ” I can’t remember that”, “When did that happen?”…”Who was there?”, “How old was I?” So I’ve forgotten a lot of things, but oh! What I can remember…
Mother: shiny blue long evening dress, that special sweet good smell, loving arms, her smile, her reassurance and her giving… Her unconditional love and patience… Her utter belief in me. I will miss you and take you with me all the rest of my life; my best friend.
She doesn’t hear me very often anymore, she doesn’t even see me… Not even when I sit right in front of her and call her, “Mom, it’s me your daughter, Joanie… I love you.” Sometimes a soft, “I love you too, honey” ; maybe a little smile will follow.
Sometimes I want to shake her and say, “Hear me! I need you! Be there for me again,” but I don’t….and she won’t be there for me again.
Just before she really went away, she did hear me and I didn’t even say anything. She she just started telling me that we had to accept the things life sent us and that she didn’t like it anymore than I did, but we had to keep going…
Even though I know she’ll never truly be herself ever again, every time I go to see her, there is a little hope that whispers to me, “maybe today…”
Aw, but she’s free from this veil of tears – I hope- sometimes a smile hovers on her face and I make myself believe wherever she is, she’s happy now.
She shared her first loss with me and my sister, when Daddy went away. There was a redhead (strange that I used to color my hair auburn) he became enameled with and I remember my sister and I watching him the day he left – packing his clothes. We begged and begged him not to go. But still, there he was driving out the driveway…. And suddenly I dashed out in front of the car. He stopped and said, “What’s the matter Joan?” All I could do was cover my eyes and run back in the house.
Could I have ever done that to one of my children? No! No! Afterward I blamed myself for not asking him to stay with us.
Mom cried for months it seemed, then went to work selling yardage or dresses or something like that. We had become ‘latch key kids’. Nothing worse than a silent, dark house when you came home from school. When Mom was a bit sick and stayed home from work – oh the joy of coming home finding her there! Even the house smelled better.
I never forgave my Father, I know. Although, when I was going to get married I tried to find him through my aunt. He finally contacted my sister – not me….my sister.
But I got even when I was pregnant. Once he called from the bus station- but I didn’t want to see him so my husband went down and talked to him. So who got even with who? He did spend some time with my sister and her family but I just couldn’t or wouldn’t go there then.
Then came the time when he drank so much even my sister wouldn’t let him come into her house….and then he punishes us all and took his own life. In a dingy little apartment he hung himself on the closet door. He left an inheritance for my sister and I: 800 dollars partly hidden in some dirty clothes and partly in a pair of bedroom slippers on a closet shelf. The rest of his legacy is a feeling of horror for what he did, partly for an old drunk, regret and a loss that can never be found ever again.