Lori who?

Friday evening a friend (who is some kind of distant family connection) messaged me on Facebook because my mother had contacted her completely out of the blue. My friend is the genealogist of our family, and so many wonderful things I’ve learned from her, photos I’ve seen from her, such a gift! She had written an article about some parts of her family tree and my mother saw it and wrote her for more information. When my friend asked how she was related to me, my mother said, “Lori who?”

her real estate photo — lots of bad plastic surgery since i saw her last.

In one way this wasn’t surprising; at some point in the 1990s, a different friend happened across my mother’s real estate website and told me that my mother said she had two children (she has three….the missing one was me, of course), so my mother has long been in the habit of not claiming me. And while I don’t see or speak to her, or ever want to see or speak to her, and while I feel like it would’ve been much less traumatic to have been raised by a wild badger, I do claim that she is my mother. I was given birth to by her.

It’s very complicated trying to understand how it made me feel to see that “Lori who?” in writing. On one hand, I was grateful that she didn’t put my friend into some kind of uncomfortable spot by trying to turn her against me, which has been another of my mother’s life-long strategies. I was grateful she said that and then moved right on to the questions she had about family. And I don’t want her to try to learn anything about me. But I guess the formulation of that question — Lori who, as if she never even heard the name — still hurt. And I wish it didn’t. Maybe it stung more than it hurt.

I immediately lost my appetite when I got the message, and started shaking a little. It felt like I had been walking around in this Edenic paradise, and then suddenly heard the rattles of a snake nearby, and I hadn’t realized there might be snakes in the garden. The way she can pop in out of the blue in the most random ways . . . and she wasn’t trying to find me or anything, it was just this unexpected appearance . . . unsettles me. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this since I got the message Friday evening. I will, it will fade, but for now I am ‘Lori who?’ Negated by the one who gave birth to me.

I mean, it’s OK. I’m 58, a mother and grandmother, surrounded by so many people who love me, and I have collected an assortment of chosen family members over the years, fathers and brothers and sisters, and I know who I am. This will be our relationship to the end of her life, and I don’t want anything else from her. I’m OK. It’s just …. something.

10 thoughts on “Lori who?”

  1. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! She doesn’t have a soul, Lori. There can be no other explanation for who she is and what she isn’t. She’s a monster and thus, she falls into the same category as Trump – the absolute worst comparison I can think of. I think that if they ever did a body scan on her that they would find nothing. She would be hollow, completely hollow. If she knew you, she would be so very jealous of the amazing human being you are. She managed to give birth to an angel, who is full of love and talent and kindness and everything good that we all wish we could be. You are a light in this dark world and you shine so brightly that it is almost blinding. She is a snake and she can rattle herself through life and never be touched by the beauty that is you – what an incredible loss. I love you to the moon and back and I am just one of a gazillion. xoxoxo

    P.S. I better never run into her – I’m just saying.

    1. Dixie, the mere idea of you whomping on her fills me with delight. Though I do know you are very fierce and protective of those you love, and anyone who hurts someone you love had better watch their back. It’s one of the funniest things, because you are otherwise pure Oopie. I think it’s the most wonderful combination, and I count myself SO lucky to be someone you love. Thank you for this, and for the way you always hold me in the best light. I love you so dearly. xoxoxoxo

  2. Wow. I’m flabbergasted, like you, although, also like you, not surprised. My response when I read this was very similar to that of Dixie, above. Your mother is indeed a hollow person. You became the glorious person you are now in spite of her. You grew (and flew!) past her and if she saw you now, she’d be pained to see all her efforts had been in vain. If she meant to crush your spirit, she failed miserably (pun may be intended). I understand your emotions, however. As we talked about before, our mothers can still dig at us from the past, no matter how far we’ve come. Keep shining on, my friend. You are such an inspiration to us all. Look at how I feel about you in the brief time I’ve known you. I am grateful to have found you. The world is a better place because you are in it. To hell with that miserable woman. She lives there anyway, always has. She’ll never escape. You have.

    1. Debra, you are so keenly insightful; I wrote a post long before I met you about my final understanding and realization of why she hates me so intently. I’d always been confused, because I was a sweet little girl, and so craved her love. But I was constitutionally unable NOT to be happy, no matter how hard she tried to destroy me. It’s nothing I was ever trying to do, it’s just the software of my system, and I’m glad of that. But just imagine, to keep trying to destroy someone who, shortly afterwards can smile and laugh and dance? That must have just destroyed her blackness. It would be a huge stretch to say this gave me an understanding of her, but in some way it gave me an understanding of me and that was good enough.

      To hell with that miserable, hollow, hateful woman, and I am so grateful (and to Margie!) for having met you. I’m so glad we got the chance to get together while I still lived in Austin. So grateful. And grateful that we both escaped and lived to LIVE.

      1. Have you read about the HAPPINESS GENE? It explains a lot about how some of us can find happiness in life no matter what. It is strong in you, my friend. XXXOOO

        1. I haven’t read it but know a lot of that research (some of my graduate work was on hardiness) and I will add the book to my pile! Thank you for the rec, and for the care. xoxoxoxoxox

  3. She may have birthed you and for that we are grateful. We are those many whose lives, hearts & minds you have touched & moved. Those who are fortunate to know you on a personal level and those of us who know you through social media (we are also so fortunate to call you “friend”). She birthed you, but your spirit, your kindness, your heart, your amazing mind, your words are all yours, shaped by life and those that love you. Thank you for touching my life with your impactful words and with your warrior spirit.

    1. Oh Gracie. You are so very kindhearted and loving. Thank you for this beautiful note, which I will re-read whenever I am feeling low. I am so glad to call you *my* friend. xoxoxo

    1. Yeah. I went back and forth between just opening and closing my mouth and not finding any words to say, and wincing, and feeling sad, and being pissed. The sting is gone now, and I never was really able to make anyone understand the sting, but I’m OK now. For some bizarre reason my spam filter identified THIS comment as spam! I just saw it and retrieved it. xoxoxoxo

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