I’m going to write about something I know nothing about.
I get a bit melancholy this time of year. It’s the time of year that leads up to the anniversary of my mother’s death. Naturally, she is on my mind a lot. I wonder what it was like for her when she was a young mother and had some hard choices to make.
My mom met a young soldier and as things can go, got pregnant as a teenage girl. I don’t know what the circumstances were, but she never married him. Instead, she had her baby boy and her parents helped raise him.
She didn’t finish school, as she needed to work to support her boy. Work was where she met a man and ended up marrying him. That man was my uncle. They got married in 1942. Did she feel like things were good then? Her husband had adopted her first son and they had two more boys and a girl. She had a husband and her children, and life was good right?
So how did my mother end up with my father? I’m not sure of the exact details, but the story I like to tell myself is, my father was so in love with her, he stole her away from his brother, so they could live happily ever after.
The only problem with that fairy tale is, well, the rest of the story.
The rest of the story breaks my heart and still brings tears to my eyes. My mother ended up leaving her two boys and girl behind. She moved across the country with my father, taking her oldest son with her, to start a new life. At least that’s what it looked like, at the time.
What really happened is my uncle shot a gun at her and threatened to kill her if she took his kids. So my father took her away, to protect her.
But that protection came at a cost. I knew my mother to be strong, and couldn’t imagine what she went through and how she just kept going. She helped raise my father’s children from his first marriage, as well as the six they had together. Did she care for my father’s children like they were her own, hoping some other woman was doing the same for her children?
When I look back on all of the photos of my mother, she looks so sad in them. I have to wonder if she would have had a different life if that young man she met all those years earlier had married her instead of my uncle. Would there be happy photos of her and would she have lived longer than her 48 years?
She had a hard life, my mother. I think somewhere along the line, she learned to just take it and not fight back. I don’t judge her for her hard choices, I just know I wouldn’t have let anyone keep my children from me.
That is something I know nothing about.