Am I your daughter?
Imagine the horror of standing in the same room as your mother as she screams at you “who the fuck are you?” Tears streaming down your face, fists clenched while your own Mother tells you she doesn’t know who you are, what you want or what you are going to do. Imagine standing there as your own mother slams a door in your face and recoils in fear from you, because she has no idea who you are.
This is my reality.
This doesn’t happen often, it has only happened a few times, a violent outburst of fear.
But it does happen.
On a daily basis Martha can not connect the name Kyrin to me, the two are different. The image she has in her mind of Kyrin, is not me. Sometimes, on a good day she knows my name. She calls me Kyrin, that is bittersweet because on the daily she claims she has no children; that her and her husband couldn’t have children and a sadness sweeps through her as she resigns herself to the fact that she never had a child. I am not even fortunate to be a distant memory, I am no longer in her memory as her daughter.
I ask and probe her about who I am, she just shrugs her shoulders and says “you’re Kyrin” (thats a good day) “and how do you know me?” “I just know you, from a long time ago” no mention of me being her daughter, no mention that we are even related. At first this made me crazy, every single time. I would punish myself by continually asking her, I would seek her acknowledgement of me, I would plead with her to remember me. The words Mum or Mama are just nicknames now, they hold no meaning to Martha but when they escape my mouth on the odd occasion they mean something to me, they are longing words of my childhood. I grasp at them.
On a bad day she cannot even utter a word, she looks at me blankly as if I am a stranger an intruder. On her worst day she is fearful of me, that I have taken her from her home and I will not return her, she is fearful I am keeping her from her family and she does not want to be with me. She hides from me. I throw tantrums, I yell and scream, I tell her I hate her and that this isn’t my fault. I stand in front of a closed door, with Martha’s weight pressed against it as she keeps me out and I yell at her “this isn’t my fault, I’m doing the best I can, I’m doing my best!” I know it is fruitless to yell, I know it does nothing but aggravate our already fragile situation, I don’t say it for her I say it because I need to hear the words I need to reiterate that I am doing the best I can.
On most days though she is my shadow, she follows me with her eyes and if I travel to far from sight she follows me with her body. She clings to me, knowing she is safe with me. I protect her from the world. I feed her, I bathe her, I clothe her. I protect her from the probing questions, the staring eyes, the unfamiliarity of the universe as her brain forgets this world. She stays close, she smiles when she sees me, she holds my hand and lets me take care of her; this is most days. I am grateful for this, I am grateful to be able to care my my Mother, to love her and show her how I love her, I am grateful to still grasp at my Mother.. But for Martha, I am not her daughter. I am her carer. I am her friend. I am her person… but; I am not her daughter.
And if she does not remember me, please do not be offended if she does not remember you.