Happy Birthday, Mom!

Photo taken November 2011 -- 3 months after my stroke / Bell's palsy.

Photo taken November 2011 in England — 3 months after my stroke / Bell’s palsy and just before the overdose that nearly killed me

If she was alive, my mother would be 89 years old today.   Although she wasn’t the best person or the best mother, and she might have been a narcissist or a psychopath, she was still my mother who brought me into this world.  To be fair, she did have a hard life, and that was no lie.  Then I finally confronted her about the things she’d done and hadn’t done to and for me, she denied and downplayed them all.  But she did pleadingly say, “I did the best I could.”   As psychopaths go, she wasn’t the worst of the worse, for I’ve seen that first-hand.  I think she may have had genuine regrets at the end, but was too old and feeble to express them overtly.

Probably the kindest thing my mother said to me, around the time of this photograph and just before the overdose that nearly killed me, and knowing some of what I’d been through, was, “Is Paula treating you well?”  I was grateful to know that her wishes were that I’d finally found happiness, but didn’t have the courage to say, “No, mom, things are not so good now.”  So I lied and told her I was being treated well.

Hence, I will share a few photos of my mom, in honor of her birthday, because after all, she was my mother, and I love her dearly despite her bad choices.

My mom -- ~1930, at hospital in Memphis, TN, after extensive surgery for her birth deformities that affected her feet, hips, and legs.

My mom — ~1930, at hospital in Memphis, TN, after extensive surgery for her birth deformities that affected her feet, hips, and legs.

My mom - ~1932, returned to Arkansas after her surgeries and after her own mother had passed away

My mom – ~1932, returned to Arkansas after her surgeries and after her own mother had passed away

My mom - probably 1940's

My mom – probably 1940’s

My mom - May 25, 1945, high school graduation photo - she would have been almost 20 years old

My mom – May 25, 1945, high school graduation photo – she would have been almost 20 years old

My mom - with her cousin Roger (the tall one) and her younger brother, Julian (the short one) - 1940's

My mom – with her cousin Roger (the tall one) and her younger brother, Julian (the short one) – 1940’s

My mom - Union Station - Washington, DC - 1949

My mom – Union Station – Washington, DC – 1949

My mom - another photo from Washington, DC - 1949

My mom – another photo from Washington, DC – 1949

My mom and dad - early 1950's, quite possibly a photo taken near the time they were married in Arkansas in November 1950

My mom and dad – early 1950’s, quite possibly a photo taken near the time they were married in Arkansas in November 1950

My mom and dad, ~1954, two years before I was born, photo taken in front of their home on E. 11th Street in Little Rock

My mom and dad, ~1954, two years before I was born, photo taken in front of their home on E. 11th Street in Little Rock

My dad, my mom, and me - December 1956 - I was not quite 2 months old

My dad, my mom, and me – December 1956 – I was not quite 2 months old

My mom - 1960, 2 years before my dad died - mom on left with siblings Lona Fay, Julian, and Katherine

My mom – 1960, 2 years before my dad died – mom on left with siblings Lona Fay, Julian, and Katherine

My mom and me - ~1965 - photo taken in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas

My mom and me – ~1965, 3 years after my dad died – photo taken in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas

My mother and her two older sisters with cousin in foreground - ~1960's

My mother and her two older sisters with cousin in foreground – ~1960’s

My mom, me, and Shannon - July 22, 1984

My mom, me, and Shannon – July 22, 1984

My mom - ~1979 - typical face

My mom – ~1979 – typical face

Me with my mom and with my "other mother" Dova - 1991

Me with my mom and with my “other mother” Dova – 1991

My mom - 2000 - showing how "refined" she was by displaying her pinkie

My mom – 2000 – showing how “refined” she was by displaying her pinkie

My mom - another photo from 2000, her getting out of her car

My mom – another photo from 2000, her getting out of her car

My cousin Debbie, my mom, and me - September 6, 2003 - at my Uncle Julian's funeral - I had just started transitioning from female to male, and this is one of the last photos I have with my mom

My cousin Debbie, my mom, and me – September 6, 2003 – at my Uncle Julian’s funeral – I had just started transitioning from female to male, and this is one of the last photos I have with my mom

My mom - 2010 - with Shannon on right and cousin Susie on left, and Susie's ginger-haired grandchildren

My mom – 2010 – with Shannon on right and cousin Susie on left, and Susie’s ginger-haired grandchildren

Mom, may you rest in everlasting peace, all your troubles healed, all your wrongs long forgiven.  Watch over me, and I ask forgiveness for the wrongs that I have done.  I know I’ll be joining you someday soon.  I love you.

Your son, Terry

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About DogDharma

Dog Dharma is written by a human who loves dogs and who believes dogs have attained enlightenment. The human behind Dog Dharma came from humble origins, has faced many trials, enjoyed many adventures, and taken a path less traveled. He claims no special privilege or expertise, and remains humble. Dog Dharma‘s author has learned a few things along the way, and has much yet to learn. He has been told by many people that he has a talent for writing, and aspires to write a book, but is a little too lazy and disorganized, so his blog will suffice for now. He opens a window into his life in the hope that some of his words may be of comfort, some may be a beacon or warning, and perhaps he will connect with like-minded souls. Everything shared comes from a place of openness and honesty, but with no claim that he possesses the Truth. People and places mentioned should be taken as pseudonyms. In many cases, details may be an amalgamation of actual events disguised to protect the “innocent.” Nothing written is to be taken as actual fact, but as the author of Dharma Dog‘s limited understanding. From the mouths of the Beatles: In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make
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6 Responses to Happy Birthday, Mom!

  1. mandy says:

    I have much to learn from you, Terry. You are the fairest person of all. Happy Birthday to your mom!

    Like

    • DogDharma says:

      Mandy, you know, mothering isn’t an easy job, even for someone who has a relatively easy and untroubled life. Anyone who had the challenges my mom faced would have thrashed. That being said, she made some poor choices and did some cruel things along the way, and I’ll probably be sharing some of my memories as time goes on. She was forgiven long ago, and I do love her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tela says:

    Beautiful memorial to your mom. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Like

  3. DogDharma says:

    As always, thank you Tela. It was a rocky road with my mom, but she deserves to be remembered on her day.

    Like

  4. Lisa Iris says:

    What a beautiful heart you have.

    Liked by 1 person

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