Sunday night, my mother died and her earthly existence ended. But I had lost her to HD years and years ago. She and everyone close to her were victims of her primary symptom: the ever-renewing anger loop. Only during the past couple of years did she take any medicine for HD. She refused until, somehow, doctors convinced her that she would feel better if she took medicine to slow her chorea and when she started taking that medicine, a lot of the anger went away.
Her anger, that is. I have spent years in therapy dealing with the hell that she put me through before I knew she had HD and started realizing that the problem wasn’t me. I have spent those same years trying to forgive her for hurting my family and other people I love because her behavior was caused by a disease.
Now, just my disease.
I have Facebook friends who have lost their moms to HD and they love and miss those moms. I wish that my mom was like theirs. I feel that way about my dad, who died of kidney disease, and was never abusive. I grieved when he died and I have an empty spot that he used to fill that I carry around now.
But with my mom, all I feel is relief. Disbelief that her dynasty of terror has ended. Part of me never expected it to happen. There is no longer a microcosm swirling around her demands or reacting to her use of the most hateful words she could spit out.
For her memorial service, we are putting together a presentation of the good in her, before the disease changed her. We have to go far back. I hope that being reminded that she was a healthy, kind person once, a person who did nice things, will help me in the forgiveness department.
Even more, I want to be happy for her. Happy that she is free from the disease. Happy that she is no longer out of control. Happy that she is at peace.
But someone asked me how I was feeling yesterday and before I could think of what I was supposed to say, I replied, “Fuller.”
And for now it’s true.