Being estranged from someone who was at one time a very loved and cherished person in my life has been extremely difficult. For over thirty years my sisters and I have been estranged from our mom. Recently, due to her failing health, we are allowed to take part in her care. Being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I knew she was cutting us off because of her deep commitment to the religion. She believed she was doing the right thing.
During the time we were not a part of our mom’s life. We would occasionally run in to her. She was always friendly. She called us a few times and wrote us letters. Mostly pleading with us to return to the “truth”. She never accepted we were at peace with God. Witnesses believe they are the only ones who know the real God, Jehovah. Some believe it is our fault for turning our backs on the religion. I will be the first to admit my sins. The one that caused my expulsion from that organization occurred in 1986, I became pregnant. I was not married. I can certainly see how they would not condone that. But, fail to see how cutting one off from family is a good thing. However, being disfellowshipped from the Jehovah’s Witnesses turned out to be such a positive in my life. My relationship with God is just that. A relationship with GOD. I didn’t feel compelled to indulge the elders of the Newnan congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses with any personal details of any transgression. By the time this occurred I already had huge doubts about the things I had been taught from birth. I prayed for God to lead me. I prayed from the heart and felt the love of God. That religion may have thrown me out, but God didn’t. It was a sad thing to go forward in life without the love and support of Mama. But my conscience would not allow me to stay in a religion that caused so many doubts. I didn’t hate my mother. I do not hate her now. If you know anything about that religion. You would know she was just doing what she thought she had to do. I was very sad to lose her. But as I raised my children I thought of this relationship more and more. It was unfathomable how a mother could cut herself off from her children. We were all decent people. Living within the parameters of the law. Loving and nurturing our children. It honestly changed my feelings for her. She is my mother. I will always be thankful for any sacrifices she made to provide for us. She was a hard worker, and always managed to feed, clothe, and provide shelter. We were taught to respect our elders, not to lie, cheat, or steal. We knew some slang words were even considered cursing, so we had to watch it. Cursing was definitely not allowed. We were never allowed to use racial slurs, nor would we want to. As we had been taught to love others no matter the skin color. She led by example. Whenever I was disciplined as a child, I knew I deserved it and also knew it was harder on her. Manners were important. Cleanliness was mandatory. We bathed regularly even though no plumbing in our house until I was seven. Everyone helped with the chores and had duties assigned. I’m aware of the insane amount of work she did on a regular basis. Raising five kids with so little resources! Our dad, a truck driver, was away a lot of the time. Although she was never an extremely affectionate mother, I always felt she loved us.
Now her physical and mental health are failing. She needs us all to have a hand in her care. It is sad to see her in this condition. It is a shame she is not swarmed with visits from her many, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren. But having not cultivated a relationship with her during our estranged years, they don’t know her or have any sense of obligation to her.
Being out of the clutches of the religion of my birth has been amazing. To have a personal relationship with God and know of the gift of grace is so wonderful. Being without mom for my adult life has been very trying on my emotional well being at times. But being able to place this burden upon God, and letting him guide me has been my lifesaver. And I am eternally grateful for my sisters. We have always been there for one another. This experience has brought us closer.
My sisters and I do not focus on the past. We strive to make the time we have left with her meaningful. Making her as comfortable as we can and checking on her regularly. If you know our mom and would like to visit her. Please private message me and I will give you the information.
It is not my intention to cause anyone to think less of my mom for her religious stand. This is my blunt and heartfelt testimony. My account of things without her side. She is not in a position to defend her choices. Keeping that in mind, I would appreciate prayers for her. Wishing her peace.