The Mourner's Mistake

Abuse victims often become abusers themselves. So when an already anger-prone individual grew up an outcast from an abusive family, was taught to use violence to deal with children's behavior, and then as an adult went out of her way to breed, things did not turn out well. But this was no ordinary abuser, and her motive was not parenthood. This was not someone ready or willing to teach a brand new individual how to navigate life in this world. Her intent was never to raise a functioning adult.

It all starts with Connecticut's oldest cold case, a disappearance that placed an already broken family in grief. The older sister of the missing person took it particularly hard. The two siblings were very close, spending most of their leisure time together, and suffering together the toxicity of their parent and step parent. It is understandable then why the incident affected the sister so terribly. Sometimes, when people grieve, they do illogical things. Sometimes things that they maybe shouldn't. Sometimes things they definitely shouldn't. Sometimes, mourners make mistakes.

The disappearance happened in the summer of 1968. By the spring of 1970, the older sister was 18 and out on her own, and became commonlaw married to an unsuspecting mark whom she would use for her purposes. She was preoccupied by one notion: she must have a kid, and she'd already tried with who knows how many pawns before him. Nothing could stand in the way of her goal. Nothing would stop her sheer determination to bring someone new into the world. No one could convince her it was too hasty or irresponsible a decision, or that she wasn't ready and maybe never would be.

See, the mourner had some unusual beliefs and some pretty off the wall expectations. She had been raised with a conventional faith, but that didn't matter, because she had her own ideas. Whatever everybody else was doing was not good enough for the mourner. She thought she knew better than her family, better than her church, better than everyone else. She thought she knew better than 3.7 million other people. For one thing, the mourner believed in all kinds of magical new-agey stuff, like chakras, astrology, a mother goddess, astral travel, ghosts, extrasensory perception, telekinesis, magick, reincarnation, synchronicity, remote viewing, extraterrestrial space brothers, mind over matter, etc. She also had difficulty understanding the distinction between fact and opinion, and would insist that one could make anything come true just by believing in it. (Imagine how well that worked once she became a parent!) And so the mourner was not simply answering a biological instinct to perpetuate the species. She had a specific plan in mind, a hare-brained scheme to get what she wanted.

What kind of person copes with grief by using unsubstantiated magical thinking to try to undo their loss? What kind of person gets so stuck in the bargaining phase that they create a whole new individual as a result? What kind of person convinces themself that they will get their missing loved one to reincarnate as their new baby, just by willing it to be so? Who insists on becoming a parent only to raise their child wrong? Who goes on a mission to have a kid they clearly don't want, overcoming the obstacle of having to try three times before finally giving live birth, for no other purpose than because of this ridiculous belief? Who goes to give birth in the same town in the same state where the earlier family member was born, gives the kid the same middle name, all in an attempt to ensure the foolish plan would work? Who betrays the memory of a person freed from a sad neglected life of abuse, by attempting to wrangle their ghost back for more abuse?

Well, my toxic mother does, that's who. Debbie was my aunt and I am her niece. And reincarnation isn't even a real thing! (Okay, there is exactly one case that might constitute good evidence for reincarnation. No, not the girl from India or the fighter pilot.) There's not enough evidence for past lives to base a theory on, and there damn sure wasn't enough evidence in 1970 when this unreasonable scheme began, nor in 1981 when a doctor pulled me out of the womb. Having a baby for the sole reason that you believe they will be a specific person reincarnated is irrational. And in a culture that for the most part doesn't believe in such things, it's stupid.

It really stinks that in a good, just, rational, reasonable, logical world, I would not exist. People don't get it when I say I'm a mistake. But it's demonstrably true.

I won't live forever, thank goodness. So one day the mistake will be undone.