My Mother was a Madonna
Since this was the case, you know who I was – and you know what my life’s biggest problem has been.
We even had a large colored photograph, taken by my father, of mother and me (as a baby) modeled on the Italian Renaissance Madonna paintings, proudly displayed on our living-room wall. Eventually this became embarrassing to the rest of our Protestant family, and it was taken down – over my mother’s loud protest that “Her mother had one just like it.” And if it was good for her mother (a domineering matriarch if ever there was one) that meant it was approved of by God himself.
How on earth does a boy survive such a childhood? He doesn’t – just just goes out and marries another one. Beth didn’t want to treat me badly – but she did, to the point that she had to leave me in order to protect me. That was her way of showing love, the only way she knew how. It took me many years to understand this.
Her subsequent suicide made it clear she could not love herself either. Her mother was even worse than mine – and she was considered better than a Madonna, nearly god herself.