Category Archives: abuse

Another day…

It was a relatively boring weekend here at the ol’ homestead. Not that I’m complaining. We haven’t done boring around here in a long time. I wasn’t really sick(not that I was really well, either). There were no obligations. No serious drama. The only serious thing was a trip to AAA to end my mother’s insurance and put her car on our policy. This is something we should have done a month ago…but grief doesn’t like to help you be productive…in fact, it usually shuts down that part of your brain.

I won’t say that it was easy canceling my mother’s insurance. It was still heavy. But it wasn’t awful either and though I was tired, I was glad it was finally over with. But I did have a bit of a meltdown when I was alone after….I had intended to write since the hubby and the cute were out doing stuff, but I didn’t get to it. Instead, I had a conversation with my mother. A heated one, as most of them have turned out to be. I mourned… she didn’t say much. It was the usual.

But besides that? Nothing. I played games. I didn’t write. I don’t feel bad about that. I just let it be. And now, as the cute plays his coveted iPad…I will try to get something done. But if not…ok. I really like this laid back method. For so long guilt and self shaming have been my constant companions. Sometimes, I am floored by their absence. You mean I can just play a video game and read without  feeling bad? I can just take a weekend off without feeling like the worst mom in the world? It’s freeing on a level that defies words.

And I would usually be panicking by now…NO WORK IS FLOWING!? Have I lost it? Will I ever write or paint again? What is going to happen?! But it’s fine…I know I will write again…most likely as soon as I finish this blog post. And I will paint again because, hell, it’s fun.

My life is fun again!

Fun has been sorely missed around these here parts. It’s been a hot commodity. And now it’s coming in spades. I’m smiling more….crying less. I’m laughing. And my patience is increasing. Three months out and I’m already feeling more like myself. I hope that gives others hope if they are in the same place as me. Cause fun felt like a bad word in the beginning. It felt wrong to smile. I felt guilty for the fleeting moments of forgetfulness. Hell, I felt guilty for breathing. And now? I feel good. Not great. Not miraculous. Just good. But it’s slowing building up to real good. And even so, I’m still expecting some bad days again as well…that’s the winding road grief likes to take. Two steps forward. Three steps back. Four steps forward. One step back. But it’s going to be ok. And ok is totally worth waiting for.

My therapist and I finally got around to talking about grief this past week. We’ve touched on it before but to be honest, there was so much back story to get through…well, it just didn’t come up much. I was too overwhelmed by the onslaught of feelings still lingering from 20 years ago. I was lost in sea of unexpected emotions. I needed to sort those out first before I could actually deal with my mom’s death. And to be honest, I hadn’t really even felt her absence yet. It still just felt like an extended break. But now it’s getting real. She’s gone and I’m trying to move on. I’m sure it will take a few months or even a couple years to get back to perfect….actually to get to a place I’ve never been before. But like all the great struggles in my life…it’s a road worth taking. I will be better for it. So I’m going to keep talking about it. Keep facing it. And hopefully, the other side of grief will be life without any self imposed limits…any guilt. Hopefully.

So this all may not be worth a blog post…it’s just bits and pieces of the same…but I figure that’s a good thing right now. Boring is nice. Calm is good. Average is a step in the right direction.

Now on to working more on my novel…

The end of the year and an end of an era.

She’s dead.

My mother.

It still doesn’t feel real even as I type this. It still feels like she’s a phone call away and I’m just “taking a break” from the crazy. But it’s not a break. It’s permanent. There are no more chances at resolution. No more arguments. No more toxic remarks to tear down my ego. No more criticisms. But no more hugs. No more beautiful blue eyes that sometimes, for a moment, said I love you. I am, at once, in shock, relieved, and devastated.

She was my mother. And, at one time, my world revolved around her. There was a time, when I was young, that I wouldn’t want to leave her side for fear of her dying. I knew that she was sick. That it was possible. And the thought was my greatest fear. To lose her love was to lose everything. I would be left alone with the rage that was and is my father. He would have nothing to stop him from beating me…from destroying me. I was dependent on her. In comparison, she was loving and soft. She didn’t yell. She didn’t hit. It wasn’t till much later that I would realize that you can destroy something much greater without raising your voice. You can wound someone without a touch. She was a Trojan horse filled with the kind of hurtful comments that become the little voice in the back of your mind. The awful critical demon that makes you double-check every choice and read between every line. The one that tells you that compliments aren’t real and that you aren’t worthy of the love given freely around you. She wasn’t nice. But she wasn’t obvious either.

And now she’s gone…on the tailwinds of a tempest that she created in the last months of her life. Cruel words were thrown freely, cuss words vomited up toward me in front of my four-year old son, paranoia and delusions were her last companions. It’s like she imploded… all the lies and toxic waste that had begun to eat her alive over the last decade seemed to engulf her. It made her crazy. No matter what I did…how much love I tried to show her, she was convinced that I was trying to keep her down. She saw deceit in my truths and agenda in my gifts. She was forced to a mirror and it was the last image she ever saw.

The last time I saw her alive was the Friday before she died. It was the day after Halloween and we were coming to see her and show her pictures of Trick or Treating. She was in a nursing home…trying to rehab her way home and she was getting much better. But she had news that she was sure I was going to destroy and she was ready to strike out if I didn’t say what she wanted to hear. “I’m going home on Tuesday!” She was so excited that her body vibrated. I was not as excited.

“What do you mean, you are going home? What’s the news?”

“They said I’m better…that I’m doing fantastic. Tuesday, they are getting together to discuss the details of my release. Maybe we can do dinner out that night!” My mom was almost manic.

I frowned and that was all it took.  A dark cloud formed over her head. “Did you tell them the truth this time?” It was only a couple of weeks out since the last time this happened…she had lied so hard it had been frightening. Telling the doctors, the nurses, and anyone else that would listen at the hospital that she had my aunt and I to take care of her 24/7 and that she was totally ready and able to care for herself. No mention that both my aunt and I weren’t speaking to each other, that I have a four-year old son to take care of and a pain condition that stops me from doing even the basics. No mention of the dog and cat she was responsible for that she couldn’t take care of. No mention of the stairs and tiny hall that would be impassable by wheelchair. It had been a nightmare as I struggled to alert the right people before she was discharged. I mentally prepared to do it again…and silently cursed the administration for not talking to me first before giving her this hope.

“I knew you would ruin this.” She scowled hard at me and I unconsciously hugged my son tighter as I prepared for her rage.

“Mom, I’m trying to help you….not ruin things. I want you to come home and stay home and I know that if you rush it, it won’t happen. I can’t take care of you and my son. I can’t clean two houses. And you can’t afford a 24 hour nurse. It’s not possible.  You aren’t even strong enough to go to the bathroom by yourself. You can’t stand for more than a couple of minutes and your house is not wheelchair accessible. It’s a bad time until you are stronger.”

“I would do it for you if it was the other way around.” She seethed with anger…

“No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t even come up to hug me when you were well and I was pretty sure that I had a tumor in my brain!” I kept my voice even and soft for my son’s sake. Almost sing-song. I was suddenly glad that he was engrossed in the iPad.

We glared at each other. “Go away!” She suddenly was crying.

I switched my words to soothing, comforting tones. I told her it wouldn’t be long. That she was getting stronger everyday. That she just needed to work the program a couple of more weeks and then we could split the work with a social worker that we could afford. She would be able to stay home and not make a quick return to the hospital…my biggest fear being that she would fall on my watch as I was unable to physically lift her or help her move. How would I bathe her? How would I help her on and off the toilet?  And if I’m honest, I will admit that I wasn’t happy at the thought of being around her frequent and sudden fits of rage. Especially since my son would have to be with me. She could be so cruel and jealous of him. I didn’t want him to see her like that on a daily basis. His well-being had to come first.

“I said, go the fuck away! You just want to keep me down. You have the control and you just are loving this, aren’t you?” Her mania was now mounting with rage.

“Watch your mouth, mother…little ears are listening and you are being mean. Of course I don’t want you here. This is my nightmare having to see you suffer and struggle all the while completely stuck trying to do everything in two households. I am spending everyday in the car for hours and the rest on the phone with case workers and hospital staff. This is not convenient or fun for any of us. I love you and want you home where you belong. I would even let you go if I could…if we could, without legal recourse. I believe a person should die where they want and so if you wanted to risk it, I would say sure. But the truth is, if I let you go home, knowing I can’t care for you and you do die, my family can be held responsible for neglect. It’s not something I can risk with my son. We have to do this the right way. I’m sorry. I love you.”

“Go away, I don’t want you here anymore.”

“Don’t say that…you don’t mean that. What if that’s the last words I ever hear from you? Please…”

“I said, go away!” And then she turned her chair and rolled away two feet with her back to us. I stifled a laugh at the absurdity. I was long past taking her shit personally. This was nothing compared to some of the nastiness she had said even a few days before.

We stayed for a few minutes so that I could give the illusion of calm to my son and give her the chance to cool down and change her mind. But she didn’t and so we left. I had him give her a hug and I wrestled with whether I should too. But I really didn’t want to. I was hurt and tired. And so instead I looked at her face for a moment and memorized her eyes. Her beautiful blue eyes….even when they were angry. I kind of knew, for some reason, that this would be the last time I would ever see them. It felt important. But I brushed it off as my usual worrying. And then I took her advice and spent the weekend with my family. It was the first extended break in months. It felt good.

On Tuesday morning, the day that the meeting was going to be held (They had called me later to invite me), I received a call from a frantic nurse. My mother had taken a turn for the worse. I needed to come. I asked if she was dying since I wouldn’t want to bring my son to the hospital to see that. I would need to get someone to watch him. She told me to get someone. My heart freaked and sputtered and then I was dull…numb. This couldn’t be happening. She was almost going home. She had been getting better. She couldn’t be suddenly dying.

I didn’t make it. The doctor called just as my husband got there to go with me. She was already gone (Later, I found out that she had died hours earlier but her pace maker had confused an incompetent nurse into thinking that she had a pulse). My world shifted into black.

My mom. My beautiful mom is gone.

I miss her so much it takes my breath away. And yet I would not be honest if I didn’t admit that I feel relieved. It’s over. It’s been weeks without new wounds. Weeks since I’ve been yelled at. Belittled. And with each moment of relief comes fresh guilt…even though I know it’s normal to feel this way. It still feels wrong.

She was my mother. I loved her deeply…always will. I also hated her deeply but I’m determined to let that go as time passes. To make her death a time of change and new beginnings. To heal and forgive. To let go.

I love you, mommy. I hope you aren’t in pain anymore. I hope you know how much you meant to me. I hope someday to remember only the love we had.

And your beautiful blue eyes.

Enough

My family is crazy. It's no wonder I have problems.


Today I had an angry, confused mother who thought she was going home and was mad that

a. it wasn't true,

b. her coffee was cold (my drive is 40 minutes and she likes the coffee & pastry from a place near me), and

c. I talk too much( I'd spoken less than ten words at that point).

All of which seemed out of my control and she was damn rude about it.


Of course she's in pain.

Of course it sucks that she's in the hospital.

But it's no excuse for taking it out on the person who is trying to be there for you. And I told her so. I also told her that if she kept it up, I would leave. She shut up. And then we did our best to work around the elephant in the room that is our failedrelationship.


She wanted a hug. I could tell. But she's a cactus. And she doesn't know what she needs or wants.

Kind of like the daughter she raised.


I feel bad for her. And I feel bad for me. I know for a fact that she will die and there will be guilt. Hers will be over. Mine will live on. It's frustrating. It's life with a narcissist. Not the cute version. The one in the DSM.


I also dealt with my aunt, secondhand, as she loses her mind over someday losing her sister.

Blame the drugs.

Blame the daughter.

Blame the doctors….

Just don't blame yourself and don't just accept.

It's all so very depressing and maddening.


And here's me…just trying not to get hit by the aimless bullets. Living to assuage the guilt firmly seated on my shoulders.


When I was six, my mother turned to me while we drove down the street…

Honey, if I fell dead on the steering wheel, what would you do?”

And then as I started crying, she explained how to grab the wheel and shove her lifeless body over so that I could hit the peddles.

My mother…such the planner.


I can't tell you the first time my father told me that I was killing my mother if I didn't do the dishes…I think it was around the same time. Her heart has always been a problem. Except when it wasn't. Like when she wanted to do something.


Today, as always, I live in constant fear. Of death. Of life. Of doing things wrong.

Today I told my mother to stop being rude to me. It felt good to deal with her. To not allow my guilt to wait until I explode. Italked to her like The Cute. And it worked. She shut the fuck up. I wish I could go back and high five that six year old and tell her….look…don't worry…she's going to live till 71.

It's a ruse.

You were and are perfect.

You love them…that's enough.
You are enough.

Thank you for the coffee, pastry, and the time, cause she'll never say it.

I love you.

So worth it…

The Cute took a nap today.
And that meant an inevitable problem with falling asleep last night. Even though my husband lovingly laid beside him for a half hour.

I finally went in at 11. He was the picture of cute…his little nightlight gripped tightly as he hunched over a favorite book. My heart exploded a little.

I softly told him it was time to sleep. That I would help and snuggle him. He told me that Daddy had said “shhhhh” to him, why wasn’t I? I sighed and explained that Daddy was just trying to help him sleep like every night. And that he was shh-ing him because it is easier to fall asleep while quiet. And after we talk a bit now, we will also be quiet. But I know that tonight is different and I wanted to talk about that. About how sometimes some people have problems sleeping. Mommy knows that first hand. Daddy is lucky and doesn’t have problems like we do (hell, the man could fall asleep on a bed of nails in Grand Central Station) but Mommy understands. And I do.

Suddenly, I am five and in my own big girl bed…struggling to be good and fall asleep but unable. Crying to myself as I try to let go of the hurt and the screaming image of my father from the earlier fight before. I hate these nights. Trying so hard to relax but my little mind is racing. Inevitably ending with him raging again….scarier than during the day, yanking me from my bed and yelling inches from my face to stand up until I could “stop crying already and damn well go to sleep”. I can still feel the spittle on my little face. I can still see the rage contorting his features. The corner of his mouth glistening with froth. And then I would be alone, scared and crying harder. Slowly feeling the exhaustion creep in, but unable to lay down till he came back. It always felt like forever.

He didn’t understand. And he did what he always did when he was ignorant. He stomped it down. Stomped me down.

And I’m suddenly in my son’s bed trying, for all the world, not to sob into my little boy’s arms. And instead I promise him that I will always understand…that mommy’s daddy used to get mad at her for not sleeping..but his daddy and I will never be mad. And I realize I’ve said too much and so I am about to change the subject when he says…mommy’s daddy? And I say yes, I have a daddy too but you haven’t met him. He asks me if he lives on another planet. And I almost say yes but instead I say that he lives far away in another state (leaving out the part that he will probably never meet him). But with his ever social and loving heart he says.. “and some day I will meet him and then I can take his picture with my camera”. Tears instantly fill my eyes as I say, “who knows…you might some day”. And then I let it drop into kisses and snuggles, glad for the dark. Glad for the chance to hold him and in a way hold myself…the little girl rising up in my chest. And it’s only a few minutes before he’s fast asleep holding my neck tight.

And I think to my father somewhere in his own kingdom…ten minutes…you fucking bastard…it only took ten minutes, just a few soft touches and some understanding. He’s so fucking worth it…and so was I.