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Jackie Paulson is a book blogger and book reviewer. She is one of Amazon’s Top Reviewers since 2012 and is currently studying Human Resources to obtain her Master’s Degree. Jackie adores her three cats; Wiley, Andy & Barney, and their names come from her love of the television show Andy Griffith. You can visit her on https://thenuttybookblogger.wordpress.com/.
My parents got married the day after Christmas in 1960. My mother was the bookkeeper for the family owned restaurant. My father built the restaurant and ran it. He graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Business Administration with straight A’s. Both parents were daily alcohol drinkers considered to be functioning Alcoholics. Alcohol took its toll on mom and she got phenomena and drove herself to the hospital where she died quickly in 1971 due to alcohol poisoning and the allergic reaction to penicillin. I was five years old. Growing up dad never discussed the death of my mother.
Memories of Mom
When I was three years old I remember having to brush my teeth before going to bed. I was then told to go to bed on my own with no supervision. But, every single night I would make my mom come in to investigate these little bugs that would be crawling on my bed and pillow. At that time, I had no idea where they were coming from or what they were but after investigating when I was older they were in the family of Rolly Polly bugs. This was a nightly ritual until one day mom just stopped coming to tuck me into bed.
When I was four years old I remember being in the bedroom with windows on two sides of the room and my sisters crib was on the wall with no windows. My bed was next to the big windows. Imagine being four years old and having no curtains on any of the windows at four years old. One night there was a big loud thunderstorm where we lived in Waukegan Illinois. I remember the thunder being so loud and watching my sister flip out of her crib and landing on the floor. My mom came running into the room to rescue my sister but left me screaming and never came to get me. This gave me a sense of belief instilled at age four of abandonment and not feeling safe.
I remember my sister and I getting ready for school at age four and having to get ready with no supervision. We then would walk to the end of the block to wait for a bus. One day we were standing there for what seemed forever when I decided to go home and ask mom why the bus was not coming. My sister stayed at the bus stop and the bus took her to school. When my mom realized, she had to take me to school, I remember her being very mad and yelling at me, she told me “never do that again.” I remember feeling bad and this instilled my belief to silence my feelings and never make mommy upset.
There was another memory of my sister and I playing and the garbage cans were next to the side of the house. On this particular Saturday, my sister and I went outside to play with a ball. I remember playing with it in the driveway and there were broken alcohol bottles all over the lawn next to the garbage into tiny pieces. The ball went into the glass pieces and I remember holding my sister back telling her to stop, that I would go get the ball. She let me take a few steps to retrieve the ball when all of the sudden glass cut my left foot and I screamed bloody murder. My sister rushed to get my mom out of bed. My mom had to quickly get me to the hospital and I got nine stiches on my left foot. This memory instilled fear in me that the world was not safe. Since I had a cast on my foot I was not allowed to play or go to the swimming pool at our friend’s house giving me the feeling of being left out and aloneness. I created the belief that life is not fair.
I remember that both my parents smoked cigarettes inside the house. This created my ear infections and I was always crying in pain of my ears. Just imagine being four years old not knowing what was wrong with you and one day you go to the hospital and come home not able to talk. I was rewarded with toy animals as my parents had a party with their friends and I was not able to talk, eat or be noticed by anyone in the livening room. This was another incident where my beliefs made me feel alone, left out, rejected.
The last memory I had was when the family had to get ready for mom’s Catholic funeral. I feel like it happened yesterday. I remember my dad taking his three girls ages 6,5,3 to kneel at the casket, not knowing why. It was a Catholic Mass and all I can remember is that when I went to kneel down my mom was still breathing even though she wasn’t. She was only thirty-three years old. I can picture her in my head right now.
Lying in bed at night, I dare not move in fear of bugs crawling on me. I realized mom was not coming home. I was sent to my grandma’s house every weekend and life would never be the same. I did not understand why mom was not coming home, but I never asked dad why. I knew there was a God but did not understand why He took away my mother. This was my first experience of feeling so powerless. The innocence and safety of my infancy had been replaced by thoughts of death. The messages that I internalized was that the world is not safe, do not trust anyone, others have power over my life, no one can save me and God failed me. I was a victim in my own circumstances life threw out at me.
I am not exactly sure what age I was but under the age of five but my mom drove to Montgomery Wards and left thee of her children inside a Cadillac car. So an estimated ages are; two-four-five years old. Well Mom went inside and I Remember us playing with the knobs in the car when all of the sudden the car started moving backwards. All three of us could see the car going to the road where passing traffic was. Out of nowhere came a man and literally stopped the car from rolling into traffic. Talk about having the fear of “I am unsafe, I am afraid.!”
Jackie Paulson is a book blogger and book reviewer. She is one of Amazon’s Top Reviewers since 2012 and is currently studying Human Resources to obtain her Master’s Degree. Jackie adores her three cats; Wiley, Andy & Barney, and their names come from her love of the television show Andy Griffith. You can visit her on https://thenuttybookblogger.wordpress.com/