There will be a number of topics and themes that I plan to regularly write about and revisit over here on the paid subscriber side of the fence. Among them, are travel, the outdoors, off-grid living, addiction, and caring for an aging loved one that is dealing with diminishing cognitive abilities - specifically, my mother.
This first post about mom is intended to provide a little background about her and her story, as well as our journey together as mother and son. The “mom” essays after this will run the gamut from humorous to poignant. But I feel like a quick summary from the beginning is an excellent place to start. So…
My mother had me just after her 17th birthday. My biological father had a difficult time not physically abusing crying babies and was out of the picture forever a few months after I was born. When I was less than a year old, she would meet and eventually marry a wonderful but often tortured man who suffered from PTSD caused by his service in Vietnam. He was prone to prolonged bouts of substance abuse throughout his life but was, by and large, a tremendous father to me and my two half-sisters and a caring husband.
Mom and I had a special relationship, as is often the case with first-born sons. But due to her age and other factors, for my entire upbringing our relationship felt like a hybrid of mother/son, older sister/younger brother, and best friends. Despite her own incredibly traumatic childhood, she was an excellent mother.
When I turned 18 I joined the USAF. Shortly thereafter, things between my mother and step-father went off the rails in spectacular fashion. He had started drinking again and she joined him. I wasn’t around for this chapter but my poor sisters were and to hear them tell it, things got pretty ugly before mom and dad finally called it quits. My mother suffered a significant mental break and would eventually move to the southeast part of the country with a new boyfriend. Our relationship struggled mightily until, right or wrong, out of self-preservation I broke off all contact.