Mother and Son: With Every Night There Comes a Dawn

“Two things you will never have to chase: True friends & true love.”
― Mandy Hale


With Every Night There Comes a Dawn

Back in 2016, I was a married man to a French woman whom I’d met overseas four years prior. The relationship seemed like a true love story–at least in the beginning–and I brought her home with me to Canada, hoping to spend the rest of my life with her. We had our struggles, absolutely, more than I ever cared to admit–even to myself–but I had an idea in my mind about the kind of relationship that we had regardless of our repeated arguments. I suppose one could have called me a hopeless optimist or perhaps just desperate for love, but I can assure you that I inherited this trait from my mother. Every time my mom had fallen for a new guy, she fell hard; she’d pick up their hobbies, interests and being committed could kind of take over her life. I never really understood what the mechanism was behind it, or why she picked the guys she did because her choices never really made sense to me. I suppose It kinda felt like she was a sidekick in someone else’s story because her identity would always fade into the background and I became guilty of this too. 

Alone (2)


One Wednesday evening, my wife and I were preparing to meet my mother and her boyfriend at a restaurant out of town. I’d heard a bit about him from others in my family, but I’d been isolated with my wife since coming back from traveling and so we’d never met. I was a little anxious, to be honest, and I couldn’t wait to get it over with; but I also wanted her to be happy and tried not to make presumptions beforehand. We dressed up nicely for our dinner date and drove out of town to meet the new couple.

When we arrived, we parked our vehicle and walked inside Montana’s bar and grill. We beat them to arrival and were punished with savory scents on an empty stomach. But soon they appeared and my mother was dressed elegantly from head to toe, with her flowing blond hair and just enough makeup to compliment her smile. Her new boyfriend entered behind her wearing a casual pair of blue jeans, a leather jacket, a scruffy beard and a backwards baseball cap, providing a stark contrast to my mother’s appearance. The new man and I shook hands, and exchanged pleasantries, but I was left surprised by a strong odor of stale liquor on his breath.

Over dinner, we spoke about the typical mundane things that people always chat about during meet and greets: “what do you do for work?”, “how’d you two meet?”, “what’s your family like?”. Fred was sociable, friendly and excited to talk about his interests. He worked for a gas company, had a band, still prided himself on the size of his house parties and the mischief he’d get into with friends. I was fighting with the part of my brain that was comparing him to a high school dropout that never grew up as my mother smiled sweetly; I could feel how important this was for her. When dinner was finished, we were invited back to Fred’s place for a drink and more conversation; we accepted. Then as we left the restaurant, I noticed my Mom did the driving behind the wheel of Fred’s car after being told that they would need to stop by the liquor store to resupply. 

Yikes! Some of my anxieties began to creep back up inside me, and by the time the night was over I was more fearful for my mother than I had ever been before. 

I sensed rough roads ahead, but like a pedestrian watching a plane plummet from the sky, I felt there was nothing that I could do to stop it. It hurt me to see her falling into something so obviously wrong, but she thought she was happy, and who was I to disagree? 

PlaneDive


Less than a year later, the veil of my own “happy” marriage began to fall and everything slowly revealed itself to be a sham. After being approved for permanent residence, I’d discovered my wife had been cheating, lied to me many times and eventually left me for a coworker where I helped her find work. I’d felt used, broken and I doubted every decision that I had ever made; I even began to question my own judgment of other people’s character. The divorce process was long and uncomfortable, and my self-esteem had viciously hit rock bottom. I was collapsing inward like a neutron star, but my mother was always there for me…


I’d moved back to my hometown around that time and I was trying to strengthen the family ties that I’d been neglecting over the past few years. So one cool Summer night, I got together with my mother for a stroll through the city under the glow of yellow street lights like we used to twenty years before; the walks were always therapeutic for the both of us. We spoke about our problems, fears, relationship issues and life in general. By this point Fred had been forced into rehab by his workplace, went sober for a few months and then began drinking heavily again before being dismissed from his job entirely. 

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me in relationships,” my mother said to me with tears welling up in her eyes. “I can be happy one minute, and then upset or angry the next. Why can’t I just be happy?”

I chose my words carefully, “I don’t think it’s possible to just be happy all the time. I think our emotions are there for a reason to tell us something. I also think we’re a lot alike and blame ourselves before we blame others. But, we can’t always take the blame. You’re a very caring, giving person, and sometimes that type of person can be taken advantage of.”

“I’m just so afraid to be alone,” she admitted.

“I think–from what I’ve learned in the past few months–is that we need to learn to value ourselves before we can find someone else who values us in the way that we deserve; not just because we’re useful to them. But, it takes time and it’s hard work; I still struggle with it…”

We took comfort in our similarities and I took solace in the idea that maybe my personal tragedy and consequent healing could be the thing which inspired her to demand better. When she spoke about being happy, the tears in her eyes would always betray her truth. I knew what she needed to do, and I was waiting for her to come to that same conclusion.


Life carried on uneventfully, until one Saturday evening when I received a phone call from my brother saying that mom needed help moving her things out of Fred’s house immediately and it couldn’t wait. Upon arrival I found her racked with tears in a bedroom packing boxes and it hurt me, but I was secretly happy for her too because I knew she could be happier now. With her kids now old enough to look out for themselves, it was her time to evolve and find happiness. 

In the years that followed, we leaned on each other for support and encouragement. I’d share my life lessons with her and she’d encourage me to make good decisions for my future. After hitting rock bottom, we took turns climbing out of that pit only to rediscover our values, our strength, our catalysts for change and the true meaning of family. We stopped looking for validation in our relationships and began to look for validation in ourselves. Having each other made that journey a whole lot less painful, and the rewards, always nearer to our reach. 

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This was a Non-Fiction Character assignment I had written for class.
Dedicated to my wonderful mother.

54 thoughts on “Mother and Son: With Every Night There Comes a Dawn

  1. Wow…beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, in writing and story. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing, Matthew. I know it will speak to many people who’ve been through the same thing. Blessings, and Happy Easter!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Still dire. Waiting on results from test. Coming 48-72 hrs. In isolation for at least 48 more hours and have been in isolation for a week now. Must wait for 72 hrs after last fever before coming out of isolation, and that was on Tuesday—yesterday. I’m hoping to write a post about all that has happened these past 9 days, but have no heart in me to do it yet. I will try to keep you updated. Blessings, friend, and take care!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I tested positive for COVID. Thankfully, I seem to be almost completely over it. I only have a lingering cough, and it’s been 15 days since symptoms first began. I actually just got off the phone with the Texas State Department of Health Services. They said I have to stay quarantined in my room until all of my symptoms are gone. 😞 Also, my family has to stay quarantined in the house until my symptoms are gone AND THEN also 14 days after that. They will be calling me everyday to check on my symptoms and I’m supposed to take my temp twice a day, as are Chris and the kids. They are paying close attention to Chris since he has cancer. It’s been insane, Matthew. Praying Chris and the kids stay healthy. Like I said, I’ll post about it eventually with timeline and symptoms and all the info I can gather to spread awareness instead of fear, and I’m glad the state is involved so we can give them more data. Anything to help with the scientific side of it. I just haven’t had the heart yet. Miss my family. I’ll get there eventually. Blessings, and stay healthy.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hey Many, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to this. For some reason its ended up in my pending folder and I didn’t get the notification. That’s really tragic but I’m glad that everyone seemed to be okay at the time that you wrote this to me. I hope things are okay now still. I look forward to reading about your experiences with this virus. It’s a frightening time to be alive. Best wishes for you and your family. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey Matthew, no worries! I saw your *last* post on your upcoming journey of self-discovery with ADHD, ASD, and BPD. It is so important. I am glad you are taking the time you need to pursue a diagnosis so you can heal. I selfishly hope you come back to blogging as your voice will be missed. If you ever do read this and come back, I finally posted about my experiences with COVID. Blessings to you and yours, especially as you step out on this new journey. https://stumblingafterjesushome.wordpress.com/2020/05/31/my-story-of-surviving-covid-19-and-my-symptom-timeline/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is superbly written, Mathew. I hope your grade reflected that. The back story allows us to become emotionally invested into the characters and, in turn, to more directly feel the emotions and feelings they convey. The vacillation between introspection and retrospection leaves room for the reader to find themselves in your words. Unencumbered by needless detail, it reads smoothly and beautifully. Academia is lending an even greater shine to your art. Well done, my friend! Hope you are well and safe! 🐺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did get a good grade on this one. Thanks Brad. I had to do many many revisions to make it into something that seemed like an interesting story. You know how it goes 😉
      I always very much enjoy your feedback, it’s always very constructive. Thanks for blowing some wind behind my sails today.
      I hope you’re safe too. Are you still working?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you and your Mother stay strong on the belief that you are the priority in your life, and that it is not selfish to think so. Your mum sounds really sweet, by the way. I hope she knows that =)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I’m not as active as I used to be sadly. My life didn’t change much, honestly. Perhaps the only thing that changed is that I haven’t visited my family and I didn’t go to school. Introverted through and through xD
        We have online school and it’s even more presurring than real school so it’s a normal month for me I guess. What about you?? I hope you and your family are healthy and happy =)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not either. Trying to get back into it though. Does your family live far away?

        I’m a hard introvert too so this social distancing thing really suits me hahah. Online school is harder to get motivated for sure. Luckily, I only have one exam and then I’m done for the term. How many more months of school for you? Good luck!
        Stay safe.

        I’m doing well, out of work, just spending lots of time with my daughter and my family is well too so far. Everyone’s just a little stressed out. 🙂

        Take care

        Like

    1. Thank you. Some of your comments have been making their way into my spam box for some reason, just a heads up. This story was based on events that happened a few years ago and yes, I’m much happier since then. Thank you 🙂 I hope you’re safe.

      Like

  4. This is sooo touching. It reminded me of my past relationships with men where i was the giver and for some reasons things didnt work out. Now i see these breakups as great lessons of life. Sometimes we need to be punched in the face to learn how to value ourselves and set our standards. Since then, life is lighter.
    Thank you my friend for this beautiful post. Stay safe

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Sometimes we need to be punched in the face to learn how to value ourselves” – My favorite quote of the week. This is why you are a master philosopher 😉

      Thank you for your kind words! And I’m glad it resonated with you. I agree that sometimes things need to get harder before we can learn and grow and become stronger. I’m glad your life doesn’t feel so cumbersome!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this with recognition for my own relationship patterns. Interesting to read from a son’s perspective, as I was the mother who dragged my kids through so many bad relationships. Happy to say, I finally learned – after much introspection and self work – and am now in a healthy, nurturing relationship.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Without being condescending I just want to say that I feel very proud for you and I’m happy to hear that! A lot of the time it’s hard to see what we’re doing wrong when in the middle of it. It’s always easier to recognize as an outsider looking in. I hope my next one will be nurturing and fulfilling too. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes we need someone looking at us with an amount of love that we don’t put to ourselves in order to see where we are going wrong. I’m glad you have him! Reminds me of my relationship with my mom for sure

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Mathew,
    Read something from you after long and boy it was good. Post is a beautiful narration of the struggles and insecurities, wisdom and family bonds…
    How are you doing there? In our country the lockdown has bern extended till 3rd May 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am from Mumbai, India 🙂 Yup even here the opinion is same that might get even longer 😦
        Nice to be with a bundle of joy 🙂 I remember seeing her pic in your posts, how old is she now and what is her name?
        I have started this new thing …. Cooking videos of simple and easy to cook food recipes on youtube, which features twice a week ( Tuesday’s and Friday’s) so tied up with this in addition to my regular work, reading blogs and writings too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This was absolutely beautifully written! It captured me from the beginning to end. I admire your strength and willingness to share your story with the world, I also greatly admire the relationship that you have with your mother. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement J. They mean a lot to me! The relationship isn’t all sunshine and rainbows but it had to be very focused to fit in to the 2000 word limit. Thanks for reading, I hope you’re doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

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