Cycle of Abuse: the Matriarch/Part Two
How odd, it seems to me, that the frigidly, Irish, sardonic, and catholic…persons, seem to die in the winter. While their bodies can lay above the ground, in wonder…for what seems like years.
My unpleasant grandfather died in a month filled with snowstorms. My grandmother paid homage to the Saints in similar weather.
Ground stiff, solid and uncaring. Winds chaffing and abusive. Oak trees from centuries pass…dotting the graveyard. All that surrounds… had become gray. No better word to describe it. Gray!
I will say, discovering Irish names, among the filler in a Massachusetts’s catholic cemetery, is not an easy affair.
Along the holding lines of remorse and disarray: January and February, I felt a renewed need to find something.
My only certainty had been my Irish blood. Thick and swollen as a, dark red liquid pulsing through a bottle of Jack. Yukon Jack, that is.
Eventually, after my grandmother’s funeral, family dispersed. My brother and his wife took flight. As they often do, when push comes to shove. And, anger is no longer needed.
My sister? Well, most likely she too moved on. Moved on to her grandchildren, her daughter, her son. Clinging, minus the Good Book, to all that a solemn mother should be.
My parents? They walk about distilled in the dysfunction of daily tasks. My daily tasks. . Encouraging me to come inside and visit in between…shoveling, snow blowing, changing out light sockets, walking dogs, doing laundry, monitoring mother’s medications…etc.
I clung on to my lack of history until mid February. Perhaps, such like other writers, or most likely, overwhelmed by the lack of daylight; I fail at finding anything gregarious to pen about…in the depths of a New Hampshire winter. Still, I sat myself down, between almost daily visits to the parents. Sat myself in front of needed research.
Needed research into the fine lines that held the prongs of my blood relations, upright.
Turning to ancestry.com. It had been midnight, Marlboro Red blaring and soundless, I dug the depths of lies.
To my ‘not’ credit. I have many degrees. None of wish require much adding, subtraction, researching, digging and/or metallic depth. I am not a scientist. I am not a researcher. I am blessed not wanting any further knowledge than 1 plus 1 equals…2.
Or, at least, the last I looked, that had been simple math.
However, when one delves into what is, what was, how long ago, names, dates, etc.; It is a handy trait. Concentration, that is.
‘Round or about two in the morning. I discovered a name! My father’s mother was called, LuLu. She was a full-fledged Cherokee Indian.
LuLu Bowley. Lulu Rebel. Lulu Rebel Hammond. Lulu!
She passed in 1964. I can only assume she died of the rumors spoken about behind clasped hands. Gambling, drinking, infidelity, teaching school.
Bits and pieces of the Bowley past were just that. Bits, segments, discarded notions handed down from angry relation to angry relation. How much reigned true? I never knew for certain.
I had been…set up in what is known in my home as the, game room (though there are no games.) Set up I had been, with laptop in lap, burning cigarette in hand. Set up! Or, so I thought. Living in the merry world of the unknown.
I gave up quickly on weeding through the death certificates, census data, phonebook information. As I have already stated, concentration is not my strong suit.
Finding Lulu’s eulogy and obituary in the Portsmouth Herald seemed the easiest route. Less digging, fewer files and photographs! Right up my alley!
I would like to think, my anger has lessened. That over decades of reminders, I became a person with some depth…Hoping that the not so gentle up bringing of flippant, aggressive, discourse…would bleed out. Well, not bleed out but seed, flower and eventually, become something more artistic.
My father beat us with leather belts, wire hair brushes, words, hands, punches, etc. And, had he not been available. Due to work constraints…my mother would abide. Though, Janice had been a martyr. She carried the torch when father was not available.
Growing up, not soundly, but with many horrific sounds, I had been referred to as…
You are just like your father! Angry!
Daily fist fights with drunken and sober turns of fate, I hope to have amassed what I believe to be the opposite. I currently hide from outbursts, pointing of the finger and lastly, degradation of others for my betterment. This has taken time. Yet, I know that there is no great prize in having abused others.
I could linger for pages on the black sheep, spoiled brat, angry little girl, scenario. I am not my father. I know that in my heart of hearts. However, that was not an easy road of self-reflection to travel.
As previously stated, my siblings are quite different from I. Living in a world of conservatism, do as I say, not as I do, judge ye’ first, attitude. It appears to work for them. We are completely indifferent to each other.
I often wonder what life could have been like? Had a much older half-brother and sister listened to themselves, other than elders lacking pride.
But that is another story…Perhaps, for another time.
Oddly enough. Or, better said, not odd at all, reading of my clan at work on the pages of police logs. I eventually found, at 3 in the morning…Lulu’s newspaper clipping.
No real information on her ‘true’ demise. No delegation on her physical illness. However…a few lines on Harold Bowley needing to be released from care to oblige the funeral processions in Kingston.
Aghast! What more can one say?
Again, in slow, sometimes, untrue, verbal releases from my mother. I had been very uncertain of Harold’s whereabouts…before my birth.
Had he been in the Korean war? Probably not
Had he been born along the northern coast of Massachusetts? Close but not really!
Had he really been married before?
To a young child, terrified of this man with a worn, brown belt. A daughter reminded daily of her father’s genes infiltrated hers! Genes, crumpled and filled with hate. To my toddler self, I could not fathom, this horrific, infrequently caring, man, married to anyone other than…Other than, my mother, a woman who seemed to fill his dented persona with her own depressions.
What I thought I knew?
Perhaps, he had been married before. Perhaps, his first wife had been a harlot? Perhaps, he had bred another child! Perhaps, all had passed away in an automobile accident…along with the first wife’s lover!
Nothing could have prepared me for the anger unleashed in deluded ink.
Yet, there it sat.
Harold Bowley, local man stabs estranged wife…35 times! That is a killing of love with hate. That is the taking of someone’s life in such a way that there is meaning. It was not a drive by shooting. It had not been a robbery. It had been an act of vulgar, closeness.
Actions so false. Romance tied with a lack of emotion, a culvert for the fallen to hide.
This had been the man who raised me.
However, only the beginning has come to life.
So much hung in the balance. In a trance like state, finding it difficult to breath; I wept for the first time in many years. Wept for my life. How it had been so easily discarded with lies!