My Mom Returns?
My Dad re-married 15 months after my mom's passing to a woman who looked a lot like my mother ~ I was four years old. What that experience did to my psychology is hard to imagine ~ perhaps upon first seeing her, I thought, 'Wow, she came back but she looks and acts so different.' Life rolled on with this current new reality that I found myself living in.
We got a dog during that time but one day it snapped at a neighbour grabbing his pant leg. Because of that, we had to have it put down. We spent the weekend saying goodbye to that first dog of our new home. Shortly after, we got a beautiful Newfoundland puppy that I loved very much, sometimes falling asleep with my head resting on his side on the living room floor.
My only memories during the three years they were together were traumatic incidences ~ falling off a ladder and being rushed to the hospital, scraping my knee after falling off my bike, a fondu pot blowing up and being burned on my arms, my dad and the 'look-alike' yelling at each other and slamming the door in the living room. It's like I could only remember the unpleasant emotions, as though there wasn't much joy without the glow of love that my mom had exuded.
The marriage lasted 3 years and when it was over, the look-alike left with our now full grown dog. I would have been around seven years old. I am sure I deeply missed that dog named Amos, I have this sense that I felt most closest to him.
Apparently my favourite childhood picture book was 'Where The Wild Things Are'; A story of a boy going on an imaginary journey to a foreign land where he met these monster-like animals who he ended up becoming King over. After a year, feeling lonely, he returned home and found a hot dinner still waiting for him. Perhaps that story was a glimpse into the journey that I would embark on which was often quite frightening and lonely as I encountered people who coaxed me into heading down paths that often left me more confused and disoriented. And, all along, I likely always just dreamt of returning home to a hot meal cooked by my mom.
I recall sitting alone in the living room and looking at the wedding albums that were on the lower shelf of a coffee table and not being sure which album was my real mom and which was of the look-alike. The photos in the album were my only window into the beauty of my mother.
After the look-alike left, there were a series of live in maids who would stay in the basement for a year or two but I never felt much of a warmth or connection with any of them. A cleaning lady would come by every few weeks and she told me once that she would sometimes cry when she came to the house as it was such a mess. I had just gotten used to what it had become, I recall asking my brother and dad if they could at least keep the kitchen clean.
Little was I aware that I was fundamentally experiencing what it feels, to some extent, to be homeless although I was never houseless.