Imagine arriving home and finding that a major change has just been forced into your life. Then imagine being told that this coarse intrusion was done out of love. The holidays stir within me a variety of warm and comforting emotions from my youth but there will always be one tough-love situation that reminds me of a not so good time.
Both my parents, God rest their souls, were simple people and neither one had more than an elementary school education. By the time I was about fourteen, my father continued to work his porter job and my mother stayed home full-time as the homemaker and the safety valve for her two sons. I never heard my parents argue out loud or swear. There was never any talk about sex but I learned early that when their bedroom door was closed, that meant don’t go in there. Back in the day, things seemed pretty much like the old Donna Reed Show family existence.
Close to a year prior to this controlled existence, my mother had begun talking to herself in what sounded like another language. After listening to it for a while, I could tell it was really a string of phrases, which made sense only to her. At a young age, I’d learned that some churchgoers might speak in tongues when they felt religiously excited but what my mother was doing was more conversational. This dialect seemed only mildly strange to my brother and me but it became apparent that it was increasingly bugging the crap out of my father. They'd have arguments about why she felt the need to talk to herself. As they would negotiate this issue back and forth, my mother would throw in a couple of words from her language for good measure. Keep in mind, my mother talking to herself, never stopped her from doing her housework or from performing any of her other responsibilities. Anyhow, this nutty situation went on for a while and I guess my father couldn’t take it anymore. He finally got together with my uncle (my mother’s brother) and they contrived a plan to get my mother some psychiatric help. It took a few days for me to put together the whole story but this is what occurred.
My uncle told my mother that he had some ailment and that he needed to go to the hospital. He asked that she and my father go with him. Of course, when they got there, the questions being asked were all about my mother. Soon afterwards, based on what my father had prior told the doctors, they proceeded to admit my mother for evaluation. Let’s just say that my mother was not happy about the idea and did not stay willingly. That evening, when I arrived home from school and heard about the situation, my head was spinning. Things had always seemed so “normal” in the house. My brother and I finally rationalized that maybe it would be best if she did get some help.
A few days later, my father was bringing my mother back home. What I was told was that overall they could find nothing wrong with her. I had this image of the doctors giving her some pills to calm her nerves but that was about it. Once she was back home, at first, things were a bit stained between my mom and dad but gradually life went back to the way it was before. My mother would talk to herself but to a lesser degree.
As I got older, I learned a few things. When I was fourteen, my mother would have been about forty-nine years old. Part of my mother’s issues might have been due to her going through menopause with the variety of physical symptoms and anxiety that accompany it. This premise might not explain everything but she was obviously going through some changes, some of which my father had never seen before in their marriage. The doctors probably had a chuckle when they realized this and then sent her home. Understand that this is all speculation on my part but it seems to make sense.
In retrospect, my father was convinced that the doctors had a way to help her get better. It must have been difficult for him to follow through with his plan. I’m certain on one hand, he wanted his quiet wife back but I truly believe that his primary motive for taking her to the hospital was one of love. They were married for thirty-six years until my father passed away.
In comparison to some other families and their stories, the above might sound tame and I’m appreciative for the minimal amount of drama that we experienced. I thank God and those two loving people for helping to keep my brother and me sane.
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.