Nov 26, 2014

My Unexpected Thanksgiving Blessing, From the Bottom of My Heart

My father has a mental illness that has not been diagnosed.  OK, so I am the one who made the diagnosis but let me just say I am usually right.  Maybe I should be a psychologist.  He displays signs and symptoms of a person with bipolar disorder but he is from a day in age where people never went to the doctor for chemical imbalances because it was a shame to have a "crazy" person in the family.  Let alone to BE the crazy person.

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I would never want to talk negatively about my family and I am going to share a story or two because there is a happy ending in it.  One so happy that I am eternally grateful for it.  One that I am so grateful for I can never repay.

Let me back up some and explain some circumstances surrounding the situation I am about to tell you about.  All my life my dad was volatile and we always walked on egg shells because none of us knew what kind of mood he was in.  He always says it is because he is a Gemini but it is much deeper than that.   He has mood swings where one minute he is joking, then instantly angry, then sorry for being a jerk - and even crying over being so mean.  Only to repeat the cycle.  My whole life.  He used to order the TV guide (remember those - ha) and he ordered it for himself as the rest of us did not read it.  When it expired he would throw it on the living room floor.  And leave it there.

As young kids, my brother and I were extremely well behaved.  It was a requirement.  We did as we were told and did not talk back.  If we saw the TV guide on the ground we picked it up and threw it away.  Until we got older and sick of the sh*t.  At which point we began stepping over it and around it.  This would anger him.  After it sat for a couple of days, untouched, he was outraged that everyone in the house would just leave it there.  The audacity of us, right?  This was also around the age that I began standing up for myself.  Shouting back.  Pointing out the obvious that had he wanted it to be thrown away he should've gotten off his @ss and done it.  Yet, instead it got thrown on the ground as if to say "Scum, pick that sh!t up!!".

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You can imagine, this did not go over well.  But guess what?  I was getting tired of it and so was my brother.  This is just an example of the debauchery we grew up in.  This is not a favorable time in my life so I choose not to relive it.  Truth be told, I developed a terrible addiction as a result of my home life.  I did not blame anybody but myself.  I did not point fingers or say that it was a result of my childhood.  I owned it and I GOT THROUGH IT.  On my own.  No help from my dad - who actually said nasty things to make it worse.  For the record, I overcame it but that is another story all in its own.

This is not the point of today's post, it is just a little background because the real story I think is even worse.  It has a happy ending, don't worry.  Fast forward a lot of years and my mom passes at the age of 45 yrs old.  I was about 26 yrs old.  I was the strong one in the family and also non-materialistic.  So it wasn't so bad when my dad spent all of her pension instead of disbursing it to my brother and I, per my mother's wishes.  It was just money and I would rather have my mom than the money anyway so I blew it off. 


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My brother and I were roommates in a small house with no security or safe or anything so my dad was holding her jewelry in his safe at his house until we had a place to put it or wanted to do something with it.  The day came when I wanted to have some of her keepsakes around AND I had a safe space to put it.  I contacted my dad and asked for it.  To which he told me it was gone.  He told me that my brother and I 'didn't want it' so it was gone.  He gave it to his girlfriend at the time.

I was crushed.  Devastated.   I was young and dumb but I thought I was being wise by leaving those precious pieces in a safe environment.  Not that I had burglars in and out of my house but a safe is way safer than a box in my closet or dresser drawer.... which I didn't really have space for anyway.  So my mom is gone and so is her stuff.  At the time she passed, I did not believe in keeping a lot of items from the deceased.  It isn't really healthy to keep all their stuff like a shrine so I kept a few articles of clothing and that was it.  My dad had her kitchenware, etc.

I have harbored this knowledge - that her jewelry is gone- for over a year.  I reached out to the x to talk to her by phone but I was conflicted because it is not appropriate to ask somebody to give back something that was a gift to them.  Then I remind myself - it was not my dad's to give away.  And it is not like I am asking her to give me some random piece of jewelry that my dad gave her.  I wanted to ask for my mom's stuff back.  But I felt so weird because it just doesn't feel right to ask for stuff back.  I finally decided I would, at least, ask.  When I called she was at work and when she returned my call I was at work.  This went on for a couple days.  I gave up.



This morning I was thinking about it again.  Thinking about my mother's final days and how much I miss her.  How I wish I would have seen her more in her final days.  Regrets.  Tons of them.  Guilt.  Lots of it.  I should've been there with her more.  I was working and going through a breakup and it was hard for me to see my mom sick.  I did not want to see her that way.  I also thought she would get better, like she had before.  But she didn't. 

I was thinking about her, missing her, wishing she was there to share my life with and I don't even have much by way of keepsakes.  I make a snap decision and text the x.  By the way, she is a nice lady.  I ask if I can call in a few minutes on my way to work and she says yes.

I tell her that I found out my father gave her this jewelry and it wasn't his to give and it bothers me he did such a thing.  I tell her that I feel weird making this call because I don't believe in asking for things back but he shouldn't have given it away.  My heart begins to weep and my words dry up.  I squeak out, asking if she can find it in her heart - and right there I break down.  Suddenly, I can no longer speak.    I was just fine in my previous sentences.  Clear and polite.  No problem with my speech.  Imperfectly prepared.  I start choking and crying.  She stops me and she says,
"Tricia, stop right there.  You don't even have to ask".  "That jewelry was your mother's and it should be yours.  I never wanted it in the first place.  Your dad insisted I have it and then began talking about melting it down to have it made into something else.  When he started talking about that I decided I would take it and hold it for when you or your brother called". 



I was SO RELIEVED.  All the feelings of sadness disappeared.  And missing the last piece of memorabilia that I had of her went away.  I felt gratitude and blessing.  I felt the love and warmth of another person who wants to do good.  I felt happy.  SO happy.  I was just overwhelmed with thanks and blessing and appreciation.  I cannot express how overjoyed I was to hear I could have my mom's stuff back.  All the regret for 'not holding onto it myself' disappeared.  I was in my early 20s and I was dumb.  This woman has made me such a happy person and I cannot thank her enough.


Her daughter said that God must have put her in his life for a reason.  The reason being to return my mother's belongings to my brother and I.  A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  A burden that I carry is slightly removed.   I have received the greatest gift!  I am ecstatic that I will be able to see her things, touch them and know where they are at all times!

This means I can smile.  It is important to remember that despite the crap, life is actually beautiful!  I have A LOT to be thankful for.  A crummy situation turned into a good one and that seems to be what life is all about as well.  I am not really sure what lesson I will learn from this but I know there is a lesson to be learned about everything.  All I know is blessings coming larger than life itself and this is one of them!

What do you think - what lesson should I learn here?

let's connect:

20 comments:

  1. I love that she was just waiting for one of you to call to get the stuff back. It does seem she was placed in your family for that very reason of holding on to it! So glad you are getting it back!

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    1. I am so thankful she held onto it for us! thank you!

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  2. So glad you are able to get it back. I think the lesson can be to believe in the kindness of others, to ask for what you want, but be okay with the answer either way. It never hurts to ask.

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    1. YES!!! I love that message. I was prepared to be disappointed if the answer was no but I would have understood. In the end I was tremendously surprised and happy :)

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  3. First - thank you for sharing this story.
    I believe that lessons to be learned, are unique to us. What I would learn from this, may not be what you are meant to learn from it.
    I do know that this woman, saving these things for you, was a truly selfless and loving act. And I think, for me, that would be a lesson I would gather. That even through darkness, and sadness... there is always 1 person who will be there, in some capacity - as a loving, light spirit. There is always light in the darkness.

    Over coming a terrible home life is something I completely empathize with. As well as over coming addiction. It makes us stronger.

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    1. Yes, there IS always light! I am super happy I already received what she sent. Such memories.

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  4. I'm so glad this was the outcome. Every situation has more than one lesson. One I can see here is one you already learned - just ask. The worst thing they can say is no but you'll know you did all you could.

    Another lesson is that good is out there. Always.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  5. What an incredible gift she gave you...thank GOD she took it and held on to it for you. I am so sorry to read about your dad...I related to A LOT of this post.-Ashley

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    1. I am totally amazed by the sheer volume of people who experienced this kind of stuff! What really matters is that I received a HUGE gift!

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  6. Oh this story gave me goose bumps, what an amazing lady. and how bizarre of a story about your father and the T.V. guide. Isn't it crazy, the things we think are 'normal' at the time, then we grow up and wonder what the hell was happening?

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    1. I am sure this is what led to the crazy strict rules of today in reference to a child's punishment. This way it can be in the form of a consequence and not physical.

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  7. oh what a lovely lady. I am so glad that it worked out in the end. I am so sorry that you lost your mother, and that your father is how he is. I didn't grow up with my father, but he is definitely similar in some ways (well he's dead now).
    anyway. seriously, i just love that she was holding on to the jewelry for you. what a sweet, kind person. i'm so happy you asked her.

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    1. Thank you and I am sorry to hear your upbringing was similar. It seems like things were rather excessive during our day. And probably even worse in our parents day.
      I am just glad to have some of her stuff!

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  8. What an honest poignant story and what an awesome lady. So sorry that you lost your mom at such a young age.

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    1. Thank you and yes, what she did is extremely awesome!

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  9. Wow! Such a nice lady. I'm so glad that she held on to it for you. Even though, I like you, don't believe in holding on to too many things, it's still nice to have some keepsakes.

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  10. How amazing she held on to it for you! It will be so nice to have going forward.
    www.amemoryofus.com

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