“My mother tried to kill me when I was in her womb.” revealed the red-haired woman in checkered multi-colored fleece jacket.
The year was 2005. I had joined the life-story writing group run by a local writer. Each week we were writing a story from our life. This week’s topic was “a most striking memory from your childhood.”
Aida (not her real name) wrote that her mother wanted to get rid of her even before she was born.
She was made to feel unwanted in lots of little ways. She never had new clothes, only the hand-me-downs from her siblings.
She was not allowed have bath first, only in the used water after her siblings had theirs.
She was not sent to the private school like her siblings did, only to the public school.
Her mother made it clear since she was a child she was an unwanted child and called her “a failed abortion.”
Aida was born in Scotland to an alcoholic father and a stern mother. To date, she didn’t know why her mother didn’t want her. If her mother was a loving lady, one could assume that she wanted to spare her the beatings from her father. But she wasn’t. So Aida had to bear both — her father’s beating and her mother’s hatred.
All through her childhood, she tried to stay out of the house as much as possible, often eating at neighbors’ places.
She learned to stay content with whatever little affection she got from her maternal grandmother, who was a much nicer human being than her mother.
Since she didn’t have any toys of her own, from a very early age, Aida learned to amuse herself with the things other people discarded. The habit continued all through her life. She would often pick up discarded grocery lists from supermarkets and bring them to the writing sessions. “Have a look at this; why would you need three types of shampoos.” She would chuckle.
After the Life Story Writing course, we all kept meeting in my home for the next 15 years, writing stories from our lives. It was then I had the opportunity to learn a lot more about her.
She was a teacher in her early life. Later she went to nursing college and became a nurse. The kind of nurse you would want on duty if you happen to be a patient. She did what was right by the patient, not what the book said or the young inexperienced doctors told her.
God has given Aida more empathy than any other human being. Maybe that’s why she picked the kind of husbands she did. You know the ones who need “fixing.” Her first husband was a psychopath; she though she could change him with her love.
She couldn’t. He threatened to kill her and their three children. Aida migrated to Australia to escape from him. He followed her even though they were divorced. Her children were so traumatized that they all died in their fifties.
Aida lost all three of them within five years. She endured the pain of burying a child three times over.
She married the second time and picked a man who has Asperger Syndrome. He is a seventy-year old child who can’t feel any emotions.
Yet she keeps going. “I have decided to let life take its course,” she told me the other day on the phone.
Each Monday, I ring her to check on her and send her food. We play a little word game where I ask her, “How are you?”
And she responds, “Parts of me are okay.”
“Which part?” I would ask.
“Oh, my eyelashes and my toenails.”
And I would laugh. Aida has advanced arthritis. He can’t even lie on the bed and sleeps sitting on a special chair.
“How are you today, Aida.”
“What’s special?” I asked her yesterday.
“Well, today is my birthday. I am 85 years old.”
“Happy birthday, dear friend.”
So much for a failed abortion, I thought. Both her mother and father diedd a long time ago, her psychopath husband long gone, even her traumatized children relieved from their ongoing suffering, Aida is still present.
Here is one of her poems which she wrote in one of the writing sessions in my home:
Her life was not her own since when
She kitted fine but catty then.
Next, she became his own wee hen
A foxy lady by some men.
A bitch as well as least by ten
Hang on, my story you can’t tell,
I need to set things straight & yell
‘I’m too hot to handle!
Hot as hell!’
I set men on fire, might as well.
Life seems pleasant for a time,
Fair, fat and forty well 39′
Children grew up, the world sublime
And then all hell makes a paradigm
Shift, and I hear the new dictate.
‘Change, change, change you can’t escape.’
And I’m now a slave to this new estate.
I’ve become a dragon that men hate.
A dragon of a brilliant red,
Of fiery breath, it has been said.
I flash my tongue
‘You are so lazy,’ ‘Get out of bed’
Dragons don’t tolerate
Lids off toothpaste, and they hate
Toilet seat up, wet marks on floor
Near the toilet, they abhor
Hair in the bathroom sink for sure
And underpants left on
you know where you lazy sod
Don’t sit in your chair like an ancient God
I’ve grown and changed, and now I’m done
Mother Nature you have had your fun
Leave me and my poor body alone.
Leave me at peace in my own wee home.
©Aida June 2014
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