Just like with a jigsaw puzzle that cannot be completed without all the pieces, that is how our mother’s life was lived. No doubt everyone is familiar with the less than complimentary comments such as
few french fries short of a Happy Meal
not the sharpest tool in the toolbox
in Mother’s case, one of the best ways of putting it would be that her life was
missing pieces of the puzzle
As we’ve looked back over the past year, noting Mother’s passing a few weeks before Mother’s Day last year, our family has been reminded again that, sadly, Mother’s life was often unfilled, full of idle wishes and dreams that never quite materialized.
The first missing piece of the puzzle was the death of her mother when our mother was a young girl. This played a major role in the entirety of her life and shaped her outlook on life. Her relatives were less than stellar when it came to stepping up and taking care of her and her siblings. Being bounced from pillar to post certainly didn’t help her mental health.
Later, her dad remarried without mentioning about his daughter from a previous marriage to his new wife. What a shock it must have been when Mother showed up at their doorstep and introduced herself to her new stepmother!
Upon Mother’s marriage to Dad, the subsequent arrival of my sister Abby, and my entrance into the world, she was not prepared for settling into domestic bliss. Far from it (and far from normal would be her response and reaction)! She soon discovered that parenting was not her cup of tea. Instead, Mother found happiness in imbibing in dark colored liquid and sweets by the handful. Thus began a lifelong obsession with alcohol and sugary treats, along with a few pills along the way as a chaser.
The pieces of the puzzle were not fitting together since there were several missing. The parenting thing wasn’t working for her, nor was being the wife of a very successful lawyer. Again she turned to happiness with a man. In this case, the man was named Jack Daniels. She never learned that happiness was found within yourself and she always looked for happiness as if it was someone’s responsibility to give it to her.
Once she moved westward to California, had no responsibilities with children and could pretty much do exactly as she pleased, she was about as happy as she was ever going to be. Going to college and pretending she was footloose and fancy free made her happy for the moment. Always fleeting, like a butterfly, the happiness didn’t last. Life interrupted her pretend semblance of joy and got in the way.
Always trying to put the pieces together, my sister and I realize that her mental health kept her from living a happy and fulfilled life. We are blessed to be able to put all the pieces of our puzzle together and live a whole, happy and fulfilled life. Although my sister Abby is more Pollyanna than I, we make a helluva a team!