It has been 10 years since my mother died. Had she still been alive today, she would have 80 years old.
She was called to meet her Maker while undergoing an MRI in a hospital in Lufkin. You can read more about that day here.
You may think this is one of those posts where I state how much I miss my mother. It is not and I don’t. I never really have missed her. Some have thought that it was because my heart is cold and unloving, but I don’t think that was it. It seems as though there is this unwritten rule that when your mother dies, you immediately deify her, give her angels’ wings, and spend the rest of your life praising her. The truth is, I don’t think many will praise her who really knew her.
This was not because she wasn’t nice, she was. It isn’t because she was cruel in some way, she was not. It really boils down to the fact that she was very manipulative and had a tendency to trample the truth. We can all be this way to a certain extent. So please do not think I’m writing from the position of an innocent observer. But my mother’s mistake with me, and perhaps my brothers as well, were the lies and manipulation she chose to use concerning my father.
The downfall of my parents marriage was the accident, which you can read about following the link. But it was also my mother’s stubbornness. In fact, she was in the driver’s seat that day out of stubbornness. When we stopped at a gas station, my father went inside to use the restroom and she got in the driver’s seat and would not get out when my father asked her to. Had my father been driving the car, I don’t think the results would have been the same. But that is something we will never know.
The point is that their marriage was rocky before the accident. It completely broke down after the accident. Then came the divorce and the lies. For years, we were told that my father divorced my mother, by my mother. It made her look like the victim and for years I held a grudge against my father. After all, how could he leave five young boys, and his wife who was in a wheel chair, thereby abdicating his responsibility toward us? What kind of man could do so?
This was the lie that I believed for so many years concerning my father, and one that she would perpetuate. After all, it made her look good and made him look like an evil monster. He was not, and never has been. My father is someone I truly respect and have a great deal of admiration for. Even if he had filed for divorce, it was wrong for her to paint him out as some sort of family ghoul.
Then one day, I was going through some papers and found the divorce decree. Turns out, my father did not divorce my mother. My mother divorced my father. That, and some heart-to-heart conversations I had with some dear cousins, began to chip away at the lies I had been given for years. I began to question everything she ever told me. Every story, every fact, every thing she claimed to know, I wondered if it was true at all? If she would lie about some of the most important things in my life, then was there any area where she would not lie?
This really helped me understand a lot of things in my relationship with her. Finally, I recognized why I would get so angry with her when I went to see her. I was angry, because I was always being emotionally manipulated. I could not see it before then, but began to see that everything she did, every tale of woe, every story about one of my brothers, every story she told about being mistreated by one person or another, was meant to manipulate. It was meant to control. It is why I can’t stand manipulative people today. But that is another story. I was beginning to understand why my mother never had any real friends. She had friends. But they were not ones you wanted for your mother. She manipulated everyone.
What I have learned about manipulators is that they will continue to manipulate until they lose control. Then they will move on to someone else. Problem was, she was my mother. There was no moving on, so I would deal with the manipulation as best I could. In one of my last conversations with her, she started talking about one of my brothers and how he was mistreating her. In an instant, I realized what she was doing and changed the subject. She then went on to tell me that she was dying. She was. But we knew that. She was merely saying that to manipulate. To the end, she did what she did because that is who she was.
It should not have surprised anyone who knew her. It actually fit in with her theology and religion. She was a Christian Scientist, which is a cult built on a lie about who God is, and who we are. Sadly, she was actually raised in a godly household. She supposedly walked the aisle when she was five. But when Christian Science was introduced into her life, she immediately bought into the religion. Because so few knew what Christian Scientists really believed, this fit into another aspect of her personality: that of being the expert in all things. She loved being able to tell people things that she knew, that there was no way of verifying. That is Christian Science in a nutshell. She raised us telling us all kinds of kooky things.
For instance, I remember a time when she told me our last name was from the Bible. I am not sure why she did this. According to her, we Hammons are descendants from Haman. Well, if you actually look in the Bible, you will find Haman in the book of Esther. Turns out, he was a real scoundrel and ended up being hung on a gallows he had erected to hang Mordecai. What was my mother thinking? All you had to do was read the story and you would know that Haman is not someone you want to be related to. But then, Christian Scientists rarely actually read the Bible. That too, was fitting.
For years, I would witness to her, telling her the gospel of Christ, but she always clung to Christian Science because it made her special. Or at least, she thought it did. She was quick to say that she believed that gospel, but then went on to add her twist to it so that it fit into the Christian Science schema. The gospel does not work that way. We don’t get get to add to it just because we like the writings of a raging lunatic.
She also clung to Christian Science because I think it gave her hope that she would walk again in this life. That was not to be and shows one of the areas that Christian Science is so faulty, giving people hope for healings when they never truly have any real healings. Christ did not come to show us how to heal one another. He came to save us from our sins. The healings He performed were simply meant to be signs pointing out that He was who He said He was. Yet, Christian Scientists fail to see that truth. They are too wrapped up in the lie that their simpleton founder put forth. They want to be special and the lie gives them that illusion.
All this to say that when I think of my mother, I don’t have a lot of fond memories. There are some. But none of them ever really conjure up feelings of joy or hope. I wish that our relationship had been different, but it wasn’t. I wish I could close on some positive note. But I can’t. I guess I feel like she took a lot from me and my brothers through the lies. And I’m writing, because it still bothers me.