Having a family history involving a maternal perpetrator has its awkward social moments. It’s not unusual from time to time for acquaintances and workmates to chew the fat over nostalgic reminiscences of mom and apple pie. They’re intended to be harmless and sweet, but for some of us they can stir painful memories.
My best friend’s mom
For example, for me tenth grade in high school was spent comforting my newly orphaned best friend. He was an only child, and he lost both parents in one day. He didn’t lose them both to death, though. It was an unusual case in which he lost his dad to death and his mom to prison. The reason? His mom had a psychotic break and shot and killed his dad one morning as my best friend left for school. I came upon the crime scene, my best friend’s house, shortly after the murder.
Nostalgia for a murderer?
So when people wax nostalgic about how sweet mom was for them, I can’t help but be glad for them and yet remember it’s not so for all of us. My mom was no picnic, but she was no murderer.
But for some people, that’s what mom was, as in the case of my best high school pal. My memories of him aren’t all bad. In the years that followed as I accompanied him through her trial and conviction for murder, he and I got closer than brothers.
I can’t open up and reminisce about those good times, though, without telling the bad. And it just bums everybody out in casual chat around the water cooler at work to tell the story of that murdering mom, so I let it pass.
That faraway look in my eyes, though, is a giveaway. I know there’s another side to touching stories of mom and apple pie.