Saturday, November 2, 2013
...... when its time to change lanes.....
..... in a life that was previously filled with family drama.....
It has been 20 months since my mother first arrived in London after a stressful move from her farm north of Kingston. My father had been moved to London to a long care facility here in London 2 years ago this week and after 2 moves since, has settled into a care facility a few minutes drive from my house.
I have often pondered how much of their upbringing or the impact the war had on who they would eventually become as our parents. Mom had a son by a previous relationship before my father arrived on the scene in the early sixties in Germany as a military radar technician for the Canadian Armed forces. She was attractive and he was awkward and gangly looking.... but he was smitten by her... and still is to this day despite the Alzheimer's that has taken away all his memories except for those of her.
Life with my mother was always over the top drama.... doors slamming, feet stomping, slapping, yelling and generally a highly charged emotional environment. My scalp still aches sometimes when I feel stress from all the times she would pick me up by the hair and throw me around. She was a strong woman with a belief in raising children who were quiet and obedient. She put on a good face to the world but things were very different behind closed doors. I learned not to bring friends over and made it a point to come home at the very last minute. I babysat and worked as much as I could to gain the peace I so desperately needed growing up. We moved so often, I stopped trying to make friends..... of course those times were then and this is now.....
The controlling elder sister has been put on notice to not contact us anymore. Her constant interference from 3800 km away and her accusations has crossed llines that no one should ever cross. She has effectively created a situation that will see no resolution and so this week, my husband and I are calling it a day with having to deal with this anymore. We are confused by a mother who decides... to spend Thanksgiving celebrating her new friend Fred's daughter's 50th birthday? We are perplexed by a mother who never calls us and yet, when she wants something from us, she calls us until we give her what she wants. If we don't, as what happened this week, she calls her eldest daughter crying and telling whatever story will get the job done...... sigh. My son and I dropped off her coats to her room before she arrived back from her latest outing.
Today my mother called and thought I was Max.... I tried to tell her 3 or 4 times that I was her daughter but she was confused and continued to speak to me as if I was him. My brother in law and I were having coffee when she called and he overheard the conversation through the earpiece and even he was perplexed as to what she was saying. I still don't know if she wants us to pick up her stuff or if she is coming here to pick up what we have been storing for the past almost two years??? I ask Max when he comes downstairs if we have to give back my mother's dog, whom we have been caring for? He and I are relieved that the drama is coming to an end but feel it is very unfortunate that my sister has authored a great deal of hardship and interference.
I had suggested to my eldest sister to come and take her mother to live with her and her husband when the initial drama started but she said that Mom drives him crazy and she figured he would leave her if she did?? It's OK though to accuse us of all kinds of things based entirely on my mother's stories??? How convenient for her, always looking for an opportunity to prove her theories that I have completely lost my mind. My eldest sister tells me she can cure my cancer and tells others how incredibly stupid I am for not seeking out her expertise in erradicating my illness. The last time she and I had a conversation, it was in the Quarter Master store where she was waving her hands over various bottles like a half-crazed conductor while the owner looked on at a distance... I stood as one would as a captive audience too stunned to flee. She would peer up at me after her hand steadied over a particular bottle and indicate that in fact this was the tincture I should take....... uh, the cancer came back. She tells me with a glint in her eye that she has cured her own cancer.... at least her own self-diagnosed cancer. I wonder if I should call Oprah? Either way, a quick google search shows no such miracles have been accredited to her.... months later, I threw everything out. She tried convincing me that she could cure my father's Alzheimer's and tried to get me to give my father a plethora of 'medications' and indicating I should do so without notification to staff or medical doctors caring for him (which I did not do because what if it conflicted with one of the meds he was taking?) ..... yet, she wanted me to not be involved in his medical care and to mind my own business when my mother wanted me to help her get him tested with a walker. After a litany of threats and more mom/elder sister drama, I chose to not do anything but visit with my parents.... but again was ordered by her to not visit Dad or Mom without permission because somehow, I had become this evil diabolical care giver around the same time i stopped doing her every command. She was bent on proving our mother had dementia (which she did) and wanting to remove her to a long term facility where it would be covered by the goverment.... instead, she moved her to a bachelor apartment at the retirement home.... for now. The final straw came in the form of a threatening letter after I sent her a letter asking her to cease all communications with us last December. That was the day I decided to seek out a lawyer and consequently sent the letter she emailed me to each and every individual she had involved in the letter. Until last week, it was the last time I heard from her. There will come a day where the truth will prevail and I hope that Karma is kinder to her than she has been to me.
For us, I can find some resolution in knowing that no matter what or how hard I have tried to make my mother happy, it can never be enough. Max knows how much I have done to help her and my father while they have been here and the little child within, who could never be good enough or do enough or be loved enough now knows the truth. While I always strived to make my parents proud of me.... it turns out that it really doesn't matter anymore and that I have nothing left to prove to them. I will not miss the drama or the stress it has brought into my life. Emotional and mental stress is truly the cause for the immune system to drop enough to allow the cancer to grow. I have a bad cold this week but it will soon pass. Today I am spending the time with my daughter and creating some projects material for my students. It is quiet and peaceful today. My children have not had to experience the depths we have felt growing up and I can clearly see how incredibly important nurturing has in a child's sense of self. I am who I am today because of what my experiences have taught me.... strangely, I would only change a few things. I would have decided to sever my relationship with my eldest sister when I left home over 30 years ago and not looked back. I am a believer that all problems have a solution and yet, here, there could never be one that didn't involve me being stepped on or treated in a manner that was so deeply disrespectful. How could I have been so blind as to believe things would improve by offering to take care of our parents? It was a peaceful summer despite the struggle to sometimes cope with the realization that my illness was back and that I had to take chemo to survive..... Mom didn't want to disturb me and yet, my own mothering instincts would tell me that if this was my child, I would do everything I could to help out. She spent her summer tending to the garden I planted for her in the late spring and getting to know someone else's daughter. Not angry, just disappointed. I am ever grateful that my choices in life did not include using them as role models....today is the day it is time to change lanes. Max will help to sort out what my mother wants and will quietly say goodbye when the door closes.
I dedicate this blog to everyone who has family drama and to learn to find what is important to you in your life and to pursue it. I am sending love to Victoria as she watches her husband slowly pass from a brain tumour. She tells me that he asks how I am doing..... we always feel bad for those in the journey who are younger than ourselves.... I let her know that my door is always open to her. She is already planning to sell the house. She will one day return to her beloved Italy.
Congratulations to Sarah on the birth of her second daughter, Rowynn was born on Halloween evening. xoxoxox