Sunday, October 20, 2013


Happy Birthday, Ma! You'd be 83 years old today, if you were here. Dammit, as much as we had our bitter messes and fights, we made it right, so I'm writing you this letter. I miss you, so very much. Ma, it's been a long time since you and I have spoken. In fact, it's been over 13 years, and I have a lot to say. We had a lot to say to one another over the years, most of it bitter and unkind. There were reasons for that and as these things go, not all of them are your fault, and not all of them are mine. Being life, it's just one of those things.

You used to scare the Bejesus out of us every time you crabbed down a runway...

It has taken me many, many years to arrive here and develop the clarity and serenity that I have wanted all of my life. Not judging here, but it didn't start well. Being whip-smart as a kid and having an alcoholic father (although, blessedly, one who was kind to me and always told me the TRUTH) and a mother, who wanted the best for me, but was also jealous of me and manipulative in her own right.

Yes, jealous. I wasn't planned; I know it. Daddy told me and would laugh, but you never did. He said I wasn't really planned, but once I “got here, you sure are a hell of a lot of fun!” Silence from you. See, that's how I know. There was always that issue. Then, when you tried to take your own life, when I was 7 and y'all tried to hide it from me, well, that was just confusing, because you see. . .

Wallace Family Christmas, 1956. Complete with Ceremonial Baby Talc

Kids know. You can't lie to kids. They just know this stuff and I knew you weren't shopping at Sears, or whatever. Unfortunately, I still have a hell of a memory. Still, even after all the years of abuse I've heaped on myself. I also knew from that day on, that things between Daddy and you changed and would never, ever be the same. I tried to always pretend they were perfect, but all the hollering and screaming at night (mostly by you) just are really scary to a little kid, and I would be so very anxious, and lay awake all night. I just never felt any security.

And, I could never be what you wanted me to be. Always yelling, or it seemed like it; telling me I was ugly and stupid. Hitting me; then you'd feel sorry and try to make it up. These things are confusing. I was just a bad little kid. No wonder I didn't have any brothers and sisters. I would have liked some, just to take the focus off me, once in a while.

It did and it didn't get better as I grew up. The whole competition thing and I really don't want to get into who you thought I should have married. Plain and simple, you pretty much helped me sabotage my first marriage, but prior to that, I was already battling depression and I didn't know that until just recently.

Lives are just giant puzzles and I find them endlessly fascinating. It's like a whole bunch of strands weaving in and out; some come together and make beautiful tapestries, with subtle colors and shining hues. Some become tangled and snarled and corrode. What a metaphor, I think. Anyway, I have a neurological condition and it is caused by depression; an existential depression that began at the age of 16. I recently found this out from my neurologist, who is probably one of the finest in the country. We dug into my past and in talking, figured out some stuff.

The depression goes hand in hand with what is called familiar tremor or essential tremor, which I observed in you, when things were tense. It is inherited. Nothing you can do about that. You and I worked through a lot of shit together. We had some rocky times; very rocky. I understand more now why you were the way you were and I've long since forgiven and most of all, pretty much forgotten anything we did to one another that was truly horrendous.

I know you loved me beyond reason, as I do you still. That will never change. I still love Daddy, too. He was funny as hell. From him and from you, I received the best of you both. I can think of no finer things than that. We don't get to choose our parents. We can choose how we shape our lives.

You used to holler at me when my socks were run down at the heels; now I know why. Ma, in 1944. 

To that end, though, I have to say this, I did deny you at a time when you needed it most and I paid for it dearly, and you will understand this. I truly believe you hear me when I say these things; here, or in my heart. You were scared, but we had been fighting and I was impatient. I didn't want to hear any more of your shit. I was about 38, and had just moved to Florida. You had taken the time to show me around, but you were starting to push my buttons and we were fighting already.

Funny how our relationship was always so much better long-distance, than up close; anyway, you said, “Mary, I'm scared. I'm sick, and I don't know what's going to happen.” I just ignored you. I really was nonplussed and had no words. You had never, ever opened up to me like that. It's just one of those moments in time. I should have said, “Wait a minute.” I needed to rethink this, or I need to stop seeing whoever I was seeing at the time, but I didn't want to fool with it.

I am so sorry for that, and I know you forgive me for it, but I still cry over it. Because I know how it is to be so very sick and ignored or worse, yet, screamed at and belittled. Bill Nunnally, my 3rd husband, did a similar thing. I remember telling you my doubts about him while you were still alive, and we were living in Charlotte and you were oh, so sick, and you said, “I'm sorry. He seemed nice,” when we visited you in October, 1999 during our 1st Wedding Anniversary. He was anything but, and committed emotional and psychological spousal abuse, when I was sick. So, what goes around, comes around. Jesus, what a tired old adage.

I leave you with this. I have become the person I was meant to be. I am proud of who I am. I live authentically, and I call bullshit, even on myself. I love you and I miss you and Daddy. I'm not really alone. I have friends; great friends who love me and I love back, unreservedly. I live in da 'hood, after being homeless; it wasn't in the game plan, but, it has it's moments. I've gotten a broader education here, but I've also found out I don't need a whole lot to be happy.


Your loving daughter, Mary  

aka ViolaFury

October 20, 2013

Lithia, see here for Verbal Evisceration and for anyone else who is interested in aberrant, deviant behavior and what not to do, to gracefully rid yourself of an encumbrance, please feel free to follow the links.
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