My mom always told me stories about her heart-wrenching childhood. When she was a baby, her mother gave her up to her grandmother, and left her in Cape Breton until she took her back at five years old and brought her to Stratford, Ontario. All her life she shared stories with me, about the evil woman they lived with and how she took away her ability to trust and love her mother. I think she was trying to make me understand her pain; this was a hurt she could never get over.
As a child, I didn’t like these stories, I didn’t want to hear about the woman who was mean to my mom, and I especially didn’t want to hear about how my grandmother didn’t save her. I told her she was exaggerating and that it probably wasn’t that bad. I basically told her to get over it. She stopped talking about it and I thought that was for the best.
But after my mother died and I found her diary and realized just how much this woman ruined her life as a child, I thought about my two little girls and couldn’t imagine them going through what my poor mom had to go through. I felt the need to acknowledge my mother’s stories and by writing them down, finally validating her, and her childhood.
Mom, I wished I had listened more, supported you more, understood you better. Through writing your story, I feel like I have taken little Cathy’s hand and I have saved her, held her and loved her.