My mother was born in Jamaica. She was white, and had British parents. She grew up to protest apartheid, protest for women’s rights, smoke weed, and do hashish (I don’t know what that is).
My mother learned to speak half a dozen languages, traveled the world, joined a cult (or a ‘revolutionary Christian movement,’ depending on who you ask), and had six children.
She had untreated bipolar disorder. She was in an open-marriage.
I was super embarrassed by her. I was mean to her. I wanted her to be different. She sometimes wanted to be different.
According to a documentary I watched, for each high a person with bipolar disorder has, on average, they have 4 lows. Her lows were monsters. They left me crying and broken. Her highs were amazing.
I told her I wanted to be a ballerina like my grandmother and she persuaded a school to donate free ballet lessons to my sister Maria and me.
She took me to yard sales, and thrift stores. She told me I could be or do anything I wanted. In High School I told her I wanted to be president of the United States. She gave me all the reasons why I’d make a great president. I told her I wanted to be the pope, and she bought me a poncho.
She worked long hours on her feet to put food in our tummies. She begged others for money when she had to, or volunteered at a church to get us a box of food.
She loved me, and all of her children in the best ways she could. We miss her so much.