Well I must admit that I am pretty fired up with all the recent activity surrounding my mother’s resurfacing. I am experiencing a multitude of emotions and I have no idea where to begin in sorting through them. So I have decided to do what I always do in this situation and that is to write!
For those of you who do not know, my mother was just released from prison a few months ago. Our history is quite difficult to summarize (hence the memoir series I am writing), but to put it simply it is the reason for the title Insane Roots. I can tell you that insane is exactly how I feel right now. I know that allowing her to influence me emotionally only gives her power, but regardless of what she has done to me I still find it hard to ignore her presence. I think the reason for this is that deep down I want to believe she has changed, that we have a chance of reconciliation, that we can make a new start. Sadly, I know that these ideas are not rational and rooted in the same emotions she has used to real me in so many times before. I know I just have to be strong. Story of my life!
After my grandfather’s funeral (described in my previous post: And The Story Continues…), my mother disappeared yet again. It was rumored that she had taken off to Phoenix, but no one really knows. She violated her probation for the 100th time and obtained what I can only assume to be her 27th identity according to the newspaper article of her most recent capture. At the time I was working as a leasing agent for a property management company in Madison, WI and had cut all ties with my mother.
I was on a property showing one day when my supervisor radioed me to let me know that two US Marshalls were waiting for me back at the office. They would not tell him why they were there, just that they needed to speak with me immediately.
I quickly finished up my showing and headed back to the office. As you can imagine, it does not reflect very well on you to have two US Marshalls come in to your place of employment asking questions and demanding to speak with you. Thankfully, I had spoken with my supervisor, our legal staff and the owner’s of the company about my mother’s background shortly after I was hired to make them aware of the situation in the event that she were to try to locate me there. I never imagined that it would be law enforcement who would come looking for me.
When I arrived at the office, my supervisor pulled me aside and asked if there was anything I needed to tell him? I told him that I was sure this had to be about my mother, since I had never been in trouble with the law and reminded him of my previous disclosure to him regarding my mother’s past. He gave me a hug and walked me up to the conference room. Thankfully everyone involved was very discreet, but I was still mortified!
As if that was not bad enough, the interrogation that followed was absolutely humiliating!
I entered the large conference room where the two officers were waiting for me. As I opened the door, they were both standing by the window with scowls on their faces. “These guys mean business” I thought to myself as I eased my way in and closed the door behind me. They waited until the door closed to begin speaking. They introduced themselves and told me to take a seat. As I shook their hands, I noticed that mine were shaking intensely and I worried as to what impression this would give them.
I sat down and they immediately asked me if I knew where my mother was. I explained to them that I have not spoken to my mother in several months and told them the story of how I discovered that she had ripped me off (most recently) for close to $1000.00. I could tell that they did not believe a word I was saying. They were both very cold, but I guess they are supposed to be. They drilled me with questions for close to an hour, revisiting the same ones periodically to make sure my story matched up.
After a while they seemed to get frustrated and began threatening me. They told me that they could obtain a warrant to search my home and if I was not there they could force their way in. I told them that forcing their way in was not necessary and if they wanted to come search my home, I would gladly give them a key. He then reminded me that if I was indeed hiding my mother that I could be arrested for harboring a fugitive and they would have the authority to come back to my place of employment and arrest me.
At this point tears began to well up in my eyes as I explained to the officer that my mother was the last person I wanted to see. I told him that I didn’t know where she was and I honestly didn’t care as long as she just leave me alone. As the water works began, so did my confession. I poured my heart out to these men. I told them of the letter that was mysteriously stuck in the screen door of my home a few weeks after my grandfather’s funeral. There was no post mark, but I could tell by the hand writing that it was from my mother. In the letter, she told me how disappointed she was in me and blamed me for her being arrested the day before her father’s funeral. She went on to say that she couldn’t believe I had betrayed her like that and even though I had wronged her, she still loved me.
By the end of my story, I could feel the officer’s compassion beginning to surface, but they were fighting it back with professionalism. “Do you still have the letter?” one of them asked.
I told him I did and that I would be happy to bring it to him. Unfortunately, it was at my house and my commute is an hour so it wouldn’t be until tomorrow. He told me that tomorrow would be fine, but asked that I scan him a copy first thing the next morning and bring him the original after work. I agreed and took his card that contained the email address I was to send it to.
The officers exited the room and closed the door behind them. For several minutes I just sat there, in shock I guess. I took a few deep breaths, composed myself and continued with my work day.
That night, I arrived home and immediately searched for the letter. When I first received it, I was so angry that I almost tore it up. Boy am I glad I didn’t! This may be the one thing that would save me in this situation. I found the letter tucked in my keepsake box (some keepsake) and placed it in my purse for the following day.
The following morning, I scanned and emailed the letter to the Marshall who gave me his card as soon as I arrived to work. When the day was over, I collected my things and headed down to his office to give him the original. When I met with him, his entire demeanor had changed. He now had a strong look of sympathy in his eyes as he greeted me.
I sat down at this desk and handed him the letter. He just stared at me for a moment and then said, “Wow, you are a very strong lady.”
I shrugged. “I take it you have read the letter then” I replied with a bit of a smirk on my face.
He apologized for doubting me and I told him that I understood that he was just doing his job, he didn’t know. He asked me if I wanted him to make a copy of the letter. I thought about it for a moment and then told him no. I didn’t think it would be something I would have any interest in reliving.
I never heard from the Marshall’s again, but I did hear from my mother several years later. After she was arrested this last time, she wrote me another letter. I almost didn’t read it, but again something in me hoped that it was finally the apology I had been longing for all these years. It was not.
It was instead another letter of disappointment. However this time she wanted to let me know that she had forgiven me for all the wrong I had done to her. Are you kidding me?! And to top it off, she included a long list of items from the prison commissary that she would like me to send her money for if I could find it in my heart to do the right thing. It was in that moment when I made a promise to myself to NEVER let my emotions rule the big decisions regarding her again. I love my mother, but I cannot continue to rely on the false hope that she will change. I need to be rational and base my decisions on the facts. Which in this case show me that any relationship with her at this point in time would be absolutely self-destructing.
The letters she sent me seemed to say all the things that I should be declaring to her. I never wronged her. If anything, I enabled her and I guess that could be considered wrong, but I always had the best intent. She should not be the one offering up forgiveness, that should be me. Forgiveness is freeing, but it does not mean that you have to put yourself in a vulnerable situation. I forgave my mother long ago, but that does not mean I am ready to allow her to walk back in to my life again, just to do it all over again.
I remember the last time I thought she had changed. I went down to visit her in Florida after she was released from her five-year sentence in Tallahassee. She had missed years of my life, so I brought down photo albums for us to look through and catch up. She flipped through the pages as if she was looking through a magazine in the doctor’s office. I remember feeling like I meant nothing to her. There I was trying to reconnect with the most important person in my life and she just flipped through pages like she could care less. It absolutely broke my heart.
I refuse to put myself through that again!