Here I am again. I’m not sure if I mentioned that I have Parkinson’s. I was diagnosed in March 2013. It’s been hard accepting and even harder living with it. My balance is terrible and I walk with a cane. I’ll be 63 next week. There is a webinar next week by the Michael J. Fox foundation about Parkinson’s might be a lot of diseases instead of one. Does this change anything. I think not. I am curious. I’m thinking maybe this is why I started to write and it turned into my life. I am looking for myself and who I am. Oh well, here goes.
Neal and I had a whirlwind courtship of all of a month. One drunken night at Tomcats Neal said “Sugar babe, marry me, please” He was always polite. I said o.k farmboy, let’s get married”. So, it was on!
My mother was thrilled! I’m sure she thought it would settle me down. We had a small wedding. I wore a brown dress I liked and Nea wore clean jeans and a white shirt. Brenda and Early Bee attended and decided to get married too. Not then, but soon.
We were so inspired. We got married in the little Baptist church my mother had started attending. Neal and I were both sober and on our best behavior. His father attended and my mother, father and sister. My father told Neal that if he didn’t want me to give me back to him. Devoted father. Yeah! I said fat chance old man. My dad was drunk, but that was normal for him. I was 18. I asked Neal why his mother didn’t attend. I hadn’t even met her.
That’s when I found out Neal’s mother treated him like a baby and wouldn’t want him getting married. He was the oldest of boy of 6 children and still her baby boy. That explained a lot. Uh oh!
We moved in with my parents in my old room, but it was just too weird. Sex was very stilted and we had always had a terrific sex life. Usually. Brenda and Early moved into sort of an apartment in an old house in town. when I say sort of, and old I mean it.
There was a huge bedroom and down the hall there was a bathroom and further down the hall was a large kitchen. There were two of these sort of apartments on the second floor of this house. So Brenda and Early had one bedroom and we had the other one. We shared the kitchen and bathroom. At first it was fun. Brenda and I had fun in the kitchen because neither one of us could cook. We got a Betty Crocker cookbook and experimented with recipes. We did pretty good too. We only gave Neal and Early food poisoning once.
It did get a little strange though. These rooms were furnished and even when we moved the beds to opposite sides of the room we could still hear each other with bedsprings noisely sqeeking. It got to the point that we had to go to the car to get romantic!
Neal’s mother sent his oldest sister Peggy to find us and tell Neal she wanted to meet his wife. Peggy never looked at me, she just grabbed Neal in a bear hug and begged him to come home. Yes, she did and then she said and bring “her”. Peggy still never looked at me. Actually she was really shy.
I told Neal, I wasn’t so sure it was a good idea. To tell you the truth I was scared. I had a terrible vision of a fire breathing dragon. So we set out to bait the dragon in her lair.
I wasn’t too far off either. Neal’s mother lived in a old farm house about 5 miles outside of Bells, Tennessee. When I say old farmhouse, I mean OLD farmhouse. There was no indoor plumbing. We used a two seater out house. No running water or hot water unless you heated it on the electric stove, so at least there were electric lights. Outside was a well and a pump. You had to pump water bring it in the house and heat it on the stove. There was a huge wash tub to take a bath in on Saturday nights. This house was gloomy looking from the outside. Think Adam’s family!
We got out of the car and went into the house. I was so scared I was shaking. There she stood in the doorway, all 5 feet of her, and at least 90 lbs. She had grey hair, a flowered house dress and a scowl on her face. She held out her arms and Neal picked her up and hugged her saying, “oh, Mama, I’m so sorry.” Did I mention Neal was about 6’6″ tall. She peeked out at me around Neal with a look on her face that clearly said, “He’s mine!”
She never said a word to me, but any minute I expected her to fry me with her dragons breath! She told Neal to come home. I was hoping I had some say in this. I met his sister Pat, who was married to Billy and they actually lived in their own place in Bells. Katie lived at home and had survived a brain tumor. Peggy was the oldest and very shy. Neal had two younger brothers and they were real cuties. Nick and Jeff.
They all worshipped Neal. Mr. and Mrs. Mosier were divorced and I found out it was because of his heavy drinking and inability to hold a job. Turned out like father like son. See, that’s when I found out Neal lost his job because he had not been showing up for work and had been going out and drinking with his father at the pool hall. We had no choice, we moved in with the dragon, uh, oops, his mother. She told me to call her Mrs. Mosier. Yeah, right! She didn’t call me anything except “her”. She didn’t talk to me unless she had too. I got the feeling she blamed me for the marriage. Yep, I hog tied him and dragged him to the altar. All two hundred twenty five pounds of him!
We moved into the attic, it was cold and damp, but closest we could get to our own apartment. Neal would go out with his father to drink and not come home for days. I stopped drinking. Just stopped with no problem. I didn’t know what to do. I asked Anu, what to do. I said it can’t get any worse. She didn’t say a word but gave me a pitying look.
It did get worse. never say that! The universe will drop a bomb on you every time! One morning my sister drove up and came in to talk to me. She told me our mother was in the hospital in a coma. I went into town with her to my mother’s room. She looked so small and fragile. I sat next to her bed and cried. I berated myself for being such a horrible daughter and causing her so much pain. Anu said stop that, this was meant to be and nothing you did or didn’t do could have prevented it.
I knew she was right, but didn’t chase away the guilt feelings. My dad spent a lot of times in the pool hall and beer joints. People bought him “pity” drinks. Oh poor me, my wife is in the hospital dying. Neal came to the hospital and he was sober. I told him I wanted to stay at the hospital and at my parents house. He said o.k and he would check on me. Never occurred to him to stay with me.
At this time, I really didn’t care. I sat by her bed and she would “talk”. She talked to her brother who died when he was two. I could see him standing next to her bed. he smiled at me, but didn’t say a word. She “talked” to her mother. Mamie. I almost didn’t recognize her. she passed away when I was 6, but she had white hair, wrinkles and was very thin. Here she was a younger version of my mother. She had long dark hair, bright blue eyes and dimples. She was beautiful! She said, “don’t worry honey, I will take good care of her.”
When I was tired, my sister came and the pastor of mothers church. My dad was there sometimes. Neal did come, sometimes sober and sometimes not. My grandmother was always there. Waiting. Two weeks my mother lay there. I talked to her and told her how much I loved her. My grandmother told me my mother knew this and understood. I didn’t. I didn’t understand any of this! I hated this, all of it. My grandmother said, “Hush child, this is what she chose!” . Why would anyone choose this?
My grandmother told me not to worry that I would have other babies in the future. I had no idea what she meant. I wasn’t pregnant. Was I? One day My dad came into the room with the doctor, mom was breathing funny. my sister was there too. The doctor asked me to go find the nurse. I ran out into the hallway looking for the nurse. I went back to tell the doctor I couldn’t find her. Standing in front of my mothers room was my grandmother holding the hand of a young beautiful woman who looked just like her. Mom!? I ran to tell her good bye, because I knew she was leaving. I wanted a kiss, a hug. I wanted to go with her.
I felt something wet on the floor. I almost slid, and when I looked down, I could see it was blood. A lot of blood and I felt myself falling into the dark. I looked over and my mom was gone. NO!! Mommmmmmm!!