Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Six Months

My mother had another of her health episodes again that resulted in a trip to the hospital. This time she apparently was able to avoid being intubated, which is impressive, but her breathing is a problem that isn't going away. So after a few days in the hospital the doctors gave her a diagnosis of about 6 months to live.

My family is already gearing up to begin the grieving process and trying to squeeze the most quality time with her that they can over the next six months. My sister Teri is talking about wanting everyone to come to Phoenix this year for Christmas because it will be my mother's last one, and my mother is reportedly echoing these same desires. My aunts and uncles are all making plans to visit her in the next month or so and even my nieces and cousins are all chipping in with well-wishes and changes to their personal lives while my mother struggles through these last remaining months.

And then there is me.

I am truly stuck at this point as to what I want to do. My sister and my aunt have subtly hinted and inquired as to what my plans are and they were nothing but polite and respectful of me when this subject was broached. I answered them both as honestly as I could by not committing to anything and saying I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I really don't know because I have many aspects pulling at me.

I can't ignore the fact that despite these recent developments with my mother, nothing has changed. For me, that's an entire lifetime of abuse, neglect, deceit, and betrayal that has not only gone unaccounted for, but she has continued to live in that type of selfish, self-serving manner that forces others to take responsibility for the consequences of her actions, or lack of action as is often the case. Awhile ago I made the choice to move forward and away from her and her lifestyle when she proved to me that she would always choose the way that brings her the most drama and attention without any regard to the feelings of her children or other family members who love her. Eventually my decision became obvious to her and she left me a tearful message telling me she wasn't aware of what she was doing and how I was so wonderful to her and that she loved me. I found it funny that even then she still refused to acknowledge her actions and own up to her behavior, but I am not surprised, and I guess that is really my point. How do I ignore the past?

I feel that if I were to just forgive and forget everything that I would be selling myself and my convictions short. I have a responsibility to myself and to my children to be honest and true to the decisions I have made and will make in the future. I wish I had pulled away from my mother decades ago and saved myself years of drama and pain, but I eventually did pull away at a time and place of my own choosing when I decided that enough was enough and that I deserved to be treated better. When my children learn about this, they will know that it is OK to stand up for yourself against anyone and anything that is doing you harm. I don't want them to think that it is acceptable to expect less. My actions are the guide they will use for their life, so shouldn't I provide them with the best examples?

In fairness, I expect my mother to make proclamations about her past and seek out forgiveness and understanding before she dies, that's natural to do when going through the last stage of your life. But it's pretty shitty when you think about it. Are we supposed to be treated like shit for 40 years by someone and then when their life is ending say, "That's OK, I forgive you for being a bad person!" Where is the fairness, or justice, in that? I wouldn't expect anyone to ever talk to me if I behaved even half as badly as she has over the years, so I don't see how her death is a reason to change everything. We all knew she was going to die eventually, we ALL die eventually, so how does this change a thing? It doesn't, it doesn't at all. Especially when she saw this coming for a long time and did absolutely nothing to prevent it and making things easier on her children, but she actively chose not to.

Perhaps I am horrible, but I also keep thinking that this is exactly what she wants. She has always been addicted to drama, and what better way for her to go out that to have a Terms of Endearment type ending where she dies too young and everyone is rallying around her bedside professing their love and sadness and vowing to live right by her. I just can't be a part of something like that. I can't and I won't.

This is all depressing. While I intended to talk about more, I just no longer feel like it right now. I'll have to finish this later.

1 comment:

tutu lou said...

You are doing nothing wrong. You have children to set examples for. You guidance is more important than cowing to the needs of a dying person in denial. I am proud of you for staying true to yourself. It severs as a guide for more than your kids.