When they knocked on the door and it was answered by a young teenager that they instantly recognized but of who nearly broke my Mothers heart all over again for it was my youngest niece...my sis's youngest daughter...who looked exactly like my sister did at her age. My Mom hadnt seen her since she was a little girl. My niece did not seem happy to see her Grandmother all though in the past she had been a favorite to spend the night with her.
Everyone entered the house and my Mother looked around wondering if she was actually in the right house. This house was bright and breezy. Pretty decor and flowers etc were in abundance. It was pristine in appearance and not a single Harley Davidson icon could be seen anywhere...not even the color black.
Mother asked permission to look around and the new husband (of whom she had heard of but never met) showed her the house. On the walls were pics of all of us...my sis had never kept pics on her walls ever except of her kids when they were born. Mom was especially surprised to see a pic of me considering I had been "disowned" several years previously. A walk down the hall and the kids rooms had nice bedroom sets and toys...something unheard of in their younger days. Mostly castoffs and broken things were all they had to play with as my sis couldnt be bothered to buy them things...they usually ended up with things that came by way of stealing.
At the back of the house was Tammy's room. Here it was still pure Tammy. Windows were black as usual...heavily curtained and enforcing the cave like feel of the place. The walls and every surface had some sort of HD item as well as pot symbols and skulls etc. The rest of the house was a study in opposites...but here in her room the old Tammy shone through.
My Mother and younger sis just kept staring at each other with similar thoughts running through their heads...what the heck was going on?
Later that day when attending the funeral my Mother was prepared to see the usual gathering of pot heads and thieves giving their final farewells to a "gang member"....so imagine her surprise when people she didnt recognize stood up and talked about a woman who was "honest and giving"....who "told the truth no matter what"...who would "do anything for anyone"....and who "made their lives so much better for having known her".
My Mother and sis were left with their mouths literally hanging open...who the HELL was this person everyone was talking about? No way could this be the same Tammy we all "knew and loved"....something had to be wrong cause this wasnt making any sense.
After the funeral Mom had a chance to speak with some of these strangers and they all had similar stories to tell...my sis had helped them either emotionally (listening and advising on problems), financially (loaning money then not accepting it back) and just being a friend.
You would have thought this would have made my Mom happy to know that Tammy had apparently made peace with herself after all these years and finally learned to reach out to people...but in fact my Mother was furious. She was so incredibly angry she felt absolutely horrified to be at my sisters funeral with such bitterness and anger in her heart...but really...WHO WAS THIS PERSON THEY WERE ADMIRING AND CRYING OVER?!!!
My Mom felt cheated...she felt humiliated...she felt as if my sister had pulled one last "fast one" on all of us...and especially her. My sister obviously had changed in some ways...how or why we will never know....but no matter how much she had changed...she still couldnt reach out to her own Mother to try and bridge the gap that had been built. My Mother was left with the memory of a rebellious child that could never be hugged...shown care for...or even loved...without it being thrown back in our faces.
Who was this lady everyone knew and loved...and missed...who had touched them in some way...a positive way....but of whom we knew nothing about...had never got to know...and now never would?
To this day my Mother talks about that funeral and all the stories people were telling about my sister...stories that would have been impossible to believe if she hadnt heard them with her own ears...but one thing held true....everyone there considered us...her family....as her enemies. She never spoke of us...except to bad talk us or accuse us of cheating her in some way.
I will never understand my sister...the person she was, the one we knew...or the one she became that everyone else knew but not us.
I miss her either way....