I believe in the ability to let things go.
I can’t really find the exact words to describe my mother. She was a good, kind hearted person. She was always there for her friends and neighbors. She always helped anyone she could. But behind closed doors it was a different story.
My mother came to the states as a young woman. She was nineteen years old. She came here from Hungary. I must say she had a hard life; most of her family was killed in concentration camps. Which she never talked about much to us kids. I believe that part of her life was hard for her to talk about. It seemed as if she was trying to bury that part of her life. My mother met my father who was also from Hungary on their way her to the states. Their life together was hard, always moving. He was an abusive husband, always drinking and gambling away their money. They moved around a lot. New York, Chicago, and then Indiana. My father started working for Inland steel mill, a steel mill in East Chicago, the harbor area. Along the way, my mother had three children. When they got to Indiana, I was born.
I now know, my mother had a sickness, a mental illness. I can’t say it was diagnosed properly. She was schizophrenic. In one moment she would be fine, then the next min she would yell at me in Hungarian. Which I couldn’t understand [only the bad words I knew] . She would yell so loud that the neighbors would come and check on us to make sure that everything was alright. My life growing up was very difficult. I can remember going through a mixture of emotions. I was always trying to process everything, every time she had an outburst. Anything would set her off: such as the television being on too loud. The music, which my older brother loved to rock out. That really got her started. I couldn’t have friends over because I was afraid that she would start talking to the television, or yelling all crazy at me for no reason. I was embarrassed. Any little thing would set her off, especially the news.
It happened once when a friend came over and I was about fifteen years old. We were watching TV, and she came out yelling in Hungarian .My friend asked me what’s wrong with your mom? Is she crazy? I just told her that she does that sometimes. I was so embarrassed. I tried talking with my older brothers about her. They told me it was because she went through so much with my dad, and going through the war, and there was pretty much nothing we could do. Just let her be and she would calm down. It was very unhealthy, not normal.
As the years past her illness got worse. Life with her continued to become more difficult. When I was 18 years old I moved out, I met my first husband and moved in with his family. The embarrassment I had kept inside me of my mom was fading. I started thinking about her illness and feeling really bad about how selfish I was because I couldn’t understand her.
Before my mother passed away in 2004, I took care of her for the last two years of her life. It was the closest I’ve ever been to her. If I could look back to when I was a teenager growing up all those years with her, I would have never imagined the closeness we have become.
I believe that life has many boundaries, of many emotions that cause a person to want to shut out another. I now know that you can let go of the bad things that have happened to you. Life is all about that. I believe in letting go and opening up. When I was younger, I would’ve never believed it though.
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