Our lives are like intricate weaves in a spider web. Every choice you make starts a new leg on the journey. There are twists and turns, and incredible patterns. When I listen to people’s stories I like to imagine what the web they are weaving looks like. In order to share my story, I need to first weave a part of my Mother’s Web. To me she has a beautiful, complicated web to share.
She grew up on the east coast of Canada. A spirited child from a large family. This part of her web is strong and fun with lines everywhere. With her desire for adventure, a small island held no hope of containing her long term.
In early adulthood she lived various places in the east, trying on different lives. Zigs and Zags adorn this section. At the age of 27 she decided on a whim to accompany her uncle out to the Western Prairies to meet some extended family. She instantly connected with a cousin and they became the best of friends. Through this cousin, she met a man. As she tells the story, they fell for one another immediately and ever so completely.
I used to love to hear this part of the story, because I could always see the depth of that statement as I listened to her. She would always pause a moment after, as if she needed to catch her breath. It always left me spellbound. This leg of the web is ever so beautiful., it almost appears to glisten.
They married soon after, and settled out west. They were blessed with two children, and expecting the third when the weave changed. Listening to the inflections in her voice for this part is ever so hard. She talks of leaving the kids with her sister in law, and accompanying a friend downtown. She was on a mission to get the makings for a special dinner for her beloved’s return from a work trip. From the time they left however, she had the most uncomfortable feeling. She said that it was just un-nerving and she found herself seeking out a phone booth to call to see that the kids were okay.
They made it home and she sighed in relief that all seemed to be fine. She brushed off her uncomfortable feeling and focused on the excitement of preparing for his return. Then there was a knock at the door.
When she opened the door she was met by two RCMP officers. She doesn’t remember this part. But they told her that there had been an accident. Her sister in law who lived down the block came to see what was happening. Mom was a crumpled heap on the floor. The police handed my Aunt a bag of items that were found in the car. Mom was taken to the hospital as they were concerned about her. She was found to be in severe shock, and ended up miscarrying the baby.
The contents of the bag were his wallet, flowers, a little car and a doll. The gifts for his return. This part of the web has droplets of water and a large gaping hole.
At 37 she was a widow with two beautiful children. My father was a mutual friend. He started to come around more in an effort to help her out. He was several years older than her, and had never married. He was very kind to her and the children.
They married, just a quiet justice of the peace ceremony. His Mother found out and was enraged! And so it began.
This next weave is incredibly complicated and has some very dark spots. It is ugly to look at. Her Mother in law methodically drove wedges into their relationship. She was unhappy that he married, but even more unhappy that he married a woman with children. There was constant pressure. He did not manage well under this pressure, and his coping mechanism became alcohol. During this time, Mom became pregnant with me. His Mother insisted that they move to North Battleford from Calgary after the death of her husband. They reluctantly obliged, wondering if this might finally settle her down.
In the comfort of her home town, things just got worse. I was born. He mistakenly thought this would appease his mother. It didn’t. She used it as weaponry on her mission. She played games like calling social services on Mom as a negligent mother. Of course, they found nothing wrong and so the only thing that was accomplished was more hurt and worry for Mom, and more drinking for Dad.
I was about a year and a half. Dad came home drunk and an argument ensued. He became very agitated, and pushed my older brother who was about 6 1/2. Mom was at a breaking point. By this time she was pregnant again, with three small kids in a situation that was unbearable. When he passed out that evening, she gathered our things and we set out on a journey. She left a note, packed us in the car and headed to Alberta. She had a sister there, it was her only hope. Another tear and a growing hole in the weave.
She stops telling her story here. Everything from this point forward, I know from my older sister. It is like Mom wants to bury this part. Dad tracks her down through her sister, and comes to Edmonton. He talks her into getting a small bungalow and making a fresh start away from his Mother. The weave starts to steady out for a bit and is quite pretty.
They move into a new bungalow. Plant grass and gardens. He builds us kids a playhouse. Hope is in the air. My brother is born, and all seems good. But now he has moved his business three times in five years. Things become difficult financially, and of course his Mother has not let up. He starts drinking again in order to cope.
Dad comes home one evening, and is drunk and agitated. I am three. I am happy to see him, and entangle myself on his leg. Words between the two of them escalate. He starts to grab for her. She sees that the situation is about to become unsafe. Her first thought is for the children, and so she tells my sister and brother to go to the bedroom and wait. She gathers my baby brother, and glances at me. I am grasped onto my Dad’s leg for dear life, crying and yelling “Stop Daddy”. She hurries to the bedroom, passes my sister and brother out the window. Then she hands the baby to my sister and tells her to go next door and ask the neighbor to call the police. She goes back to see if she can get me. She can’t get close enough, and he is not hurting me physically. The front door opens and in enter six police officers.
It takes all six police officers to calm him and take him to get help. He never returns. And all I can see in this part of the web is it spinning and spinning until our webs get tangled together.
They have been tangled a long time Mom, but I promise to start with the little girl with the curl and see if I can’t untangle them so I can let you go. I miss you dearly, every single day.
Your Loving Daughter