Saturday, May 10, 2008

Daughter of the Spirit

Kathryn Faucett

Meldia, Anna and William Faucett

My mother (top picture)was Kathryn Mary Anna Faucett. She gave birth to me on March 16, 1966 in Hermiston, Oregon. I am not sure how old she is in this picture. In fact, I know very little about her, except for stories told to me by my grandmother and her friends. She died when I was three and I was raised by my grandparents, her parents. (Bottom picture)

My grandmother used to scold me when I would try to call her mom. All of the other kids had a mom and I wanted one badly. I had a dad. It must have been quite confusing to my teachers at school. My dad was married to my Grandma. My dad was my mothers father. My dad was quite a bit older than most dads. He was, of course, my grandfather by birth, but Grandma approved of me calling him dad because I didn't have a dad of my own. I did have a mother. "She is gone, but we will never forget her" my grandmother used to say. Grandma used to tell me that my mothers spirit was always right there behind my shoulder watching me and keeping me safe. I used to point behind my back and ask "Is she right here? Can you see her?" Grandma used to smile and say "Yes, I think I do see her! She is smiling because she loves you so much!" Grandma told me that if I really wanted to see her, I need only look into the mirror because I looked just like her.

I will be honest. It was strange to carry around that face. I remember going to a nursing home to visit an old relative and he bent down to take a look at me and called me Kathy. People that knew my mother would always comment about how much like her I was. I felt like I was sharing an identity, in a strange sort of way. I used to go into the bathroom and crawl up on the sink and talk to myself in the mirror hoping that somehow the spirit behind me or inside me or all around me would one day talk back.

Grandma could not have known what a powerful gift she gave me. Later, when I was 7 years old, Grandma also died. Because I had grown up believing that my mother was behind me, when Grandma died, she took her place next to my mother. I spent a large part of my youth being haunted in the most wonderful way. It was very difficult to do things I absolutely knew was wrong right there in front of Grandma and Mom. I cannot tell you how many times I avoided trouble because of it. I was no poster child of goodness. I did, however, get into a lot less trouble than I might have if I did not have them watching over me.

Life got a little bit twisted up and tangled after Grandma died. Dad (my grandfather) got remarried and I ended up becoming a ward of the state. I lived in a few different foster homes. I ran away a couple of times. I had no fear that bad things would happen to me because I felt safe and blessed. In fact, my case worker put me as far out in the country as she could to keep me from running. It didn't really matter where she put me, because anywhere I went, I had Grandma and Mom right there behind me.

When I had band concerts, they told me I did a wonderful job. When I got good grades, they told me I was a very smart girl. When I got bad grades, they told me this was not going to be acceptable. Every accomplishment was praised. Every mistake was forgiven. They were always on my side. They always understood my side of things in a dispute. I didn't belong to the world. I was theirs. I was Anna Marie, daughter and grandchild of the spirits. I had a purpose and a door to divinity. I was the daughter that would live and make things right.

Had my mother and grandmother lived, I might not have had so much support and unconditional love. I probably would not have spent nearly as much time with them. I might not have turned to them in my greatest hours of need. I probably would not have confided my whole life to them. In their death, I was given a miracle of eternal mothering. What a beautiful definition of mother to take into my own family and use for my own kids.

As a sane adult, I tell people that I know I made all of this up in my mind. I cannot prove that there were spirits behind me. At the same time its wonderfully synchronistic that given the path my life would take I would be given this amazing strength to lean on when I needed it. In a world of easy come, easy go, I had stability. Where so many of my peers ended up heading down a rough path in their adulthood, I managed to turn north. Most foster kids end up repeating their family problems. I beat the odds. I could not have done it without them.

Happy Mothers day!

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

Anna, I haven't been by to see you very much lately. How wonderful to stop by this Mother's Day night and find such a touching post.

Evidently your mom and grandmother did a good job raising you. :) I enjoy your paintings and writing.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thanks for sharing your story. Hugs.