An anonymous reader recently asked:
You write a lot about your mother-in-law but not about your own mother. What does she think of your success?
Sadly, my mother never got to see my book in print, nor did she read a word of the manuscript. I lost my mom two years ago from complications caused by muscular dystrophy. Unlike the type of MD that afflicts children, my mother had an adult-onset form of the disease. It’s a genetic condition, and a year ago I learned that I also carry the problematic gene. There is a great deal of research being done on the disease, so there is hope that by the time it begins to impact my life (twenty-plus years from now), there will be a treatment for me.
I also left home at the age of eighteen, and so my relationship with my mother, who was married to my evil stepfather, faltered quite a bit. I rented a townhouse with friends in a neighboring town, but my parents never once came out to see the place. For reasons that I will never understand, their interest in my life almost disappeared after I left home.
Three years later, my own life was falling apart. My friends had left the state for bigger and better things, I had no job, was homeless, and eventually moved in with a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses after living in my car for weeks. They gave me a room off the kitchen, where I lived with a guy named Rick and their pet goat for more than a year.
By then, my evil stepfather has squandered my mother’s disability pension, lost the family home, and left my mother destitute. She was living in a two-room apartment in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, barely making ends meet. Muscular dystrophy soon raised its ugly head, thus ensuring that the last decade of my mother’s life was difficult at best. Though alive at the time of my wedding, she was unable to attend due to her condition, and she never lived long enough to see my book finished or meet her granddaughter.
My feelings about my mother are unsettled at this time. I loved her, of course, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. But I also feel disappointment, anger, and confusion over many of the decisions that she made in her life, and her seeming lack of interest in mine. In many ways, I feel that she squandered her opportunities just as badly as my stepfather squandered her pension, and this makes my thoughts and memories of her a mixed bag.
I guess it’s not surprising that Martin’s mother is dead and Milo’s mother is nearly non-existent. I can’t imagine wanting to write about the intricacies of a mother-son relationship until I come to terms with my own.