Zero to Hero Challenge Day 12

OlgaValeska

Olga Valeska self-portrait

For today’s challenge we were asked to share a post from our blogging community that we found inspiring.  Oliana submitted her post to the “Tender Love” prompt. I host weekly prompts at Mindlovemisery and through that platform I’ve connected with many talented individuals. Whenever I try to compliment I always end up sounding like the creepy kid in the back of the class who has imaginary relationships with the popular kids so I will try not to get too carried away. Oliana’s post touched me very deeply and for me those feelings are difficult to relate in words. She has such a beautiful and generous spirit and the relationship she shares with her mother is just extraordinary. Reading her post I couldn’t help but think of my grandmother.

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My grandmother was also Catholic. I was raised by my grandmother, at least partially. My mother worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. As for my biological father he wasn’t much of a human being at all. When my mother left him and moved in with another man two hours away I begged her to let my grandmother move in with us. For those of you who are avid readers of Mindlovemisery you already know a little about my family dynamics. Mood disorders run in my family and my grandmother had a pretty severe case of something. On the one hand she was incredibly loving and devoted. She listened to my long narcissistic rambles without judgement or complaint. No matter what I did or failed to do she accepted me just the same.

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Her rage was no secret to me, my stepdad and mother received the brunt of it. Sometimes she turned it on me as well but she was the only one who “got” me and I would have forgiven her most anything. She could go from joyful, to depressed, to incensed within the expanse of five minutes. She was hysterically funny and my friends loved her, they didn’t get to see the “evil” side. Growing up as I had, I assumed everyone had an evil side. I was a monster. We were all monsters. As my grandmother got older it became apparent that something wasn’t right, her bravado had made some of her crazy seem intentional. She started to see demons and angels. She was plagued by her past.

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She had multiple versions of the past many of them conflicting. After my grandmother passed my mother looked up her only remaining family member, a niece hoping to gain some clarity. The moment my mom asked about our family history the woman began shrieking and wailing hysterically. At that point her husband got on the phone and apologized. He would only say that what little he knew of his wife’s past was too horrific to speak about. What happened to my grandmother? Was she a victim of unspeakable abuse? Was she a villain? I’ll never know.

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My grandmother developed dementia and at long last she received a diagnosis and treatment for her mood disorder. Everything that had been good and pure about her came to the surface. The demonic voices went away. The rages and mood swings vanished entirely. With her past beyond recollection it seemed a burden had been lifted from her shoulders. She was at peace. She never forgot the people closest to her. She never became unable to recognize us. The once strained relationship between my mother and grandmother healed. They developed a close and loving relationship, the kind that only I had ever been able to establish with her before, as I had been the only one in the family able to see through her illness. Reading Oliana’s post reminded me of the closeness I had with my grandmother and the beautiful relationship that developed between her and her own daughter in those final years.

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Oliana’s post can be found here:

http://tracesofthesoul.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/love-you-tender-mom/

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6 responses

  1. Such a wonderful story Yves! This story really touched my heart. I am so happy that she could receive treatment during the end of her life that finally brought her peace and healed the relationship between her and your mother. What a beautiful person you are to have seen that beautiful side to her all alongl.

  2. I very much relate to this in that both my parents have relatives with mood disorders and I am bipolar 2. Losing control and watching loved ones lose control in those short spaces of time is a very scary part of the illness. I am very happy for your grandmother that she got the help she deserved. Mine did not and died of alcoholism and other related disorders, all efforts to curb themselves.

    • Thank you so much. A lot of my relatives have turned to drinking and drugs to be honest. Neither my mom nor grandmother went that route thankfully. I think my mom uses food and my grandmother just let it out I guess though she did smoke. It is scary and I do worry if I might have a mood disorder myself

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