https://lorenbliss.typepad.com > Sandwiches for Mind and Spirit

About my birthmother, 2012

About my birthmother, 2012

I made this sandwich after being overwhelmed by the realization my birthmother never once said she loved me. She always stated such declarations in the third person, "your mother loves you," as if she were speaking of someone far away. In retrospect, her distance should have been no surprise. When I was five years old, she tried to kill me. It was the Summer Solstice Eve of 1945; that afternoon she fed me a meal of dogfood cooked in the top of a double-boiler over a fire she built on the front lawn, and after the cool gray day faded to frigid darkness, she began leading me to the top of Mill Mountain to "meet God." But my father returned early from work and saved my life, though the thermometer still inexplicably plunged to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest 21 June ever recorded in Roanoke, Virginia. After that she was proclaimed an unfit parent, and I was given to my father and his secretary, who soon became my stepmother. I did not see my birthmother again until 1947, when she was released by a private insane asylum. Then she used her family's wealth to reopen the divorce case and won summertime custody of me until I was 18. Apparently she regarded me as nothing more than a trophy. Not only was there always the vast distance implicit in "your mother loves you"; whenever our interaction was more than superficial, her behaviour toward me invariably turned hateful and contemptuous.