I've been debating whether or not to post this story simply because the org knows who I am (post history from pre-'05 will tell you all you need to know), and I'm not sure if they would give my parents shit if they knew what transpired earlier this summer. But you know what, I don't care what they do, because my mom is dying of stage IV cancer and I feel this needs to be heard by anyone struggling with the loss of contact from their relatives.
For those who are not familiar with my background, I became a small thorn in the side of the WTS while I was still in. I'm not big on being deceived, and for me, the org crossed my personal 'red line' when it came to blood and the child abuse issue. I fought back, anonymously, but in a very public way by releasing the BoE letters and other publications to the web and assisting SilentLambs behind the scenes. In time, I was found and df'd for apostasy -- a badge of honor I literally wear proudly these days on a few t-shirts I created (shameless plug - https://www.cafepress.com/cultlife).
Back in late May of this year, I received a call from one of my mom's brothers. My uncle informed me that my mom wasn't doing very well, had stage IV cancer and was in the hospital in Des Moines, IA for treatment. He doesn't get emotional AT ALL, so when he began breaking down while explaining her condition, I knew it was serious.
My "worldly" wife had never met my parents. We met after I had already been df'd for a few years. She had always held a deep seated hatred against them for cutting me off as she couldn't even fathom how a parent could cut their only child off completely. After some contemplation, I made the decision to go to IA to see them. My wife came along. I almost talked her out of coming with me, because in my mind, I was already setting myself up for a final rejection and I didn't want to waste her time in traveling to IA for nothing.
Prior to all of this, on occasion, I try reaching out to old jdub friends of mine to see if they're still in. I had found an ex-sister from our previous cong in Fairfield, IA who was one of the nieces of Reinhard Lengtat. (she goes by a completely different first and last name now) She lives in Des Moines, and our long lost meetup actually happened at the hospital. She grew up around my parents and knew them well. Odd circumstances to get reacquainted again for sure, but I'm very happy that she was able to be there. She was df'd a while back.
When all three of us arrived at the hospital for the first time, I was a nervous, emotional wreck inside. I had prepared myself the best I could for this final rejection. I was certain that when my mom saw me, she was going to simply turn her head away or tell me to leave. Standing outside of her room, we asked one of the nurses if she was awake. They said she was. I took a deep breath, exhaled, gave my wife a 'this is it' look and stepped in through the door while they waited outside.
As I walked around the corner of the wall, I could already see her legs covered by the blankets. When we made eye contact, she asked me, "Are you the plumber?"
"Oh, they said they were sending the plumber to check on the toilet in the bathroom."
I just kept looking at her.
"Are you here for something else?"
At this point, my eyes began to tear up.
"Who are.....Josh?" as she finally came to the realization it was her only son standing in front of her as she began crying.
I don't even remember what we immediately talked about right after. She was on quite a few different pain meds, so I'm sure that had something to do with her not recognizing me when I walked in. After several minutes, I told her that I had two others waiting outside to see her. I brought my wife and XXXX into the room. Another round of crying commenced when she saw XXXX, who she immediately recognized, now a grown woman with her own teenage son.
We all talked about our current families, major life events, etc. Nothing was mentioned about the org in any way. We merely caught up over the past 13 years - the last time I had spoken with her since my df'ing in Feb '05.
After we left, I called another ex-jw friend whose family were extremely close to ours. Stacey Peterson(maiden name) and my mom were very tight. Stacey used to babysit me and I studied with one of her brothers, Jeff. We were also in their book study group held at their home in Alpine, CA. (Stacey wouldn't mind me posting her name)
After telling Stacey about the outcome of our initial visit, she made immediate arrangements to fly out to IA. When she arrived and we went back to the hospital again, I told my mom she had another visitor. She recognized Stacey right away and they chatted as if hardly any time had passed since they saw each other last.
During these visits, my dad was sometimes there as he was driving back and forth from SE IA to Des Moines because of work. We were never very close. Due to his alcoholism and drug use from my early years, he just wasn't what a dad could have been. I see so much of him in myself now and how it relates to my actions and compassion towards my stepsons. I hate myself for not coming to this realization sooner. So many missed opportunities for better bonding. The relationships I have with my wife's sons could have been much better, and I have readily admitted to her and a couple of other close friends that she married a broken man thanks to what this cult did to me.
During the next few months, I would reach out via email to my mom and ask about her situation. She would always reply with a long email going over all of her treatments and how she was feeling. That was it. No motherly words, just clinical statements. I would even sign off my emails with Love, Josh, but hers simply ended with, Ma. Even when I said, I still love you, nothing. I think that's what hurt the most. She cannot even bring herself to say it, even as she faces death.
At the end of Leah Remini's special on jdubs, the closing statements during the credits by the various folks hit me hard. I recorded that last part and sent it to my mom. That was the second to the last time I sent her something and I haven't heard from her since. Did I go to far? Probably. But the intention was well-meaning. I'm just waiting for that next call from my uncle now.
Part of the reason for writing this was to show that the WTS may win some battles, but it also loses more than it wins. I considered this a major win. The fact that they didn't completely shun me from the outset spoke volumes. That alone is the perfect middle finger to the WTS.
Suck it, WT. You lost