Sunday, April 4, 2010
Parable of the Man Who Loved His Mama
Parable of the Man Who Loved His Mama
Mother love turns to smother love....
Heaven is at the feet of your mother.
--Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
There was a man who loved his mama and his mama loved him, even though she called him the ghost of her husband, who many years ago abandoned his family of four children, and died in the dirty South of alcoholism. The man who loved his mama was only four years old when his father left. For a long time the boy would stand in the doorway waiting for his father to return, but he never did.
This departure affected all the children, two boys and two girls, but especially the young boy. A girl was the oldest, then a boy, and a girl younger than the man who loved his mama. The father's leaving may have turned the boy against belief in God, though his older sister turned Communist in college. The other two children were rather cool to the God concept, nor was the mother deeply religious. She worked hard as a bus driver taking care of her four children by herself.
Before he departed, the father was crowned the community drunk. Though he worked hard and hustled on the side as builder, much of his free time was spent getting drunk on the street and coming home smashed, sometimes getting violent with his wife, if he didn't fall unconscious on the front lawn, to the great embarrassment and shame of his family.
The children and their friends often had to step over the father to get into the house. Though there was bitterness when he departed, there was elation and relief as well. Thus when the father went home to Mississippi, the mother cried good riddance. Of course she loved him, just couldn't take his drinking and violence. If he was addicted to white supremacy, why didn't he take it out on the white man, she thought. Yeah, why didn't he beat his boss?
When the younger son grew up and developed a drinking habit, the mother sensed the ghost of her husband had returned to haunt her in her golden years--she was entering her 80s. The son had a good job as a bus driver, but his weekends were spent at home consuming beer, and often he would get loud and verbally abusive to his mama.
Otherwise, he was a loyal and dutiful child, more so than the other three children. When his mother retired and needed support, her son agreed to move back home to help her. He didn't mind because he'd suffered a bitter divorce from a wife who'd had a child by her brother-in-law but claimed it was her husband's. After learning the secret known by other family members, the son was naturally bitter but raised the child as his own, including paying child support until she was twenty-one.
The son was thus traumatized by his father's departure, then the wife's adultery. A friend told him, "Welcome to the real world. This is your college education!"
But it made him bitter toward God. How could a loving God do this to him? He concluded if anyone was God to him, it was his mother, shall we say Mother Goddess?
Aside from his drinking and sometime verbal abuse, his mama loved her most dutiful child. Call it a symbiotic relationship: while she welcomed his support, she hated when he put on his persona as the ghost of her departed husband. His behavior was overwhelming and bordered on elderly abuse.
And yet she willed her only wealth, her house, to her son, despite protests from her other children who thought she should divide the property equally, although they didn't assist their mother equally!
The mama felt her son had done everything for her while the other children had done nothing, so why shouldn't he get everything?
The daughters took matters to court after they failed to get their mama to change the will. When they approached her, she told her son he ought to get a lawyer, and he did. The daughters claimed the mother was senile and the son abusive. The mama wondered aloud why she was sitting in court over her own "motherfuckin shit"--yes, those were her words.
She won the case brought by her daughters against her and her son, especially after the other son reluctantly decided to support his brother against his sisters. Oh, the love of family! Usually families fight over property after the transition of the elders, but this family couldn't wait til mama got in the ground to become an ancestor.
The court case traumatized the poor family, and maybe divided them forever. But it added another notch in the trauma and unresolved grief of the son, making him especially bitter against women. Even after he won, he was so bitter he couldn't enjoy the victory.
You won, man, a friend told him. You are the king, go buy a nice African robe, crown and staff, yes, and get one of those horse hair fly swatters! Yes, and get that wicker chair Huey Newton posed in. Make your sisters bow down and kiss the Queen Mother's feet and your feet when they come over. The son didn't get the concept of his friend, maybe there was already too much drama in his life.
After the case, the son and mama grew inseparable. He had built a house in the back of his mama's, a nice two story custom designed structure--something he learned to do from his father, grandfather and uncles. He couldn't understand why so many men are homeless in the North, every man builds his own house in the South--it ain't nothing but leaning two pieces of wood together!
Before the court case, he renovated his mama's house: custom kitchen, hardwood and marble floors. Other than work, the son's life revolved around his mama. He had no social life. Women had made him paranoid. He wanted a woman but she had to bring something to the table. And she couldn't tell him to give up his boy toys, three high speed motorcycles, cars and trucks.
He wasn't giving up his garage with more tools than Home Depot. He wanted a woman who understood him, and more than anything, was his friend who wouldn't betray him.
He knew better than this. His friend had turned him onto Rumi, and for the first time his spirituality took off running. He loved the poetry of Rumi like a hog loved slop. Rumi helped him understand the trauma of life and gave him a modicum of sanity. Rumi taught him love wasn't about him or what he wanted, love was for the beloved, not the lover! He wasn't ready to be a prisoner of love.
The court awarded him total control over his mama's affairs. Under court supervision he improved his care of her, taking her for walks, to the beauty shop, getting her manicured and pedicured. They were a couple. Her other children found it difficult to get with their mama. The dutiful son was convinced heaven was at the feet of his mama. If nobody else loved him, he knew his mama did. Maybe he was the ghost husband, the man mama had wanted to love.