Yesterday morning I got a call from my sister Teri. Sometime around 6:35am central time my mother finally passed away.
It hasn't been like I expected it to be, not at all.
Probably the most bizarre event is that I ended up talking to my father for over an hour. At this point, I don't even think I could mention very many specifics that we talked about, but for some reason we both just kept talking. I don't yet know how I feel about this, whether it was good or bad, but I find it definitely odd.
My mother's death, like her life was, is surrounded with drama. Instead of sadness, compassion, and celebration all I'm observing is that pain, judgment, and hurt are being passed out and around in the form of attacks, lies, delusions, and guilt. It's a shameful thing to see and I am saddened that I am related to it and involved in even the most minor degrees. Despite my opinions of my mother or the state of our relationship during the last few years of her life, I think she deserved better than this. These are the types of actions that underscore the reason for every decision I made these last few years.
I said the last time I wrote I expected that once my mother died, the drama would heat up and so would the anger or resentment about my actions. The first sign that this will very likely come true happened when one of my aunts verbally laid into my sister Traci for abandoning my mother during this last month of her life. I wasn't privy to this phone conversation, but I've been led to believe it was downright nasty. Regardless of whether she was right, my aunt should have kept her mouth shut as it was none of her business. Traci is an easy target for this type of attack, but what is the point of doing it? My mother is still dead, the past is still the same, and nothing has been ultimately changed other than to spread pain and hate around at a time when understanding and compassion are what is needed.
I'm sure my turn is coming, and although I hope to maintain a decorum in my behavior that will be an example to my kids on how to handle themselves, my deepest fear is that this will happen at a time in which I am unable to check emotions and filter my comments. I do not believe I would try to hurt some one's feelings, but my blunt manner and sharp wit often betray my best intentions.
Anyways, later in the evening, I finally called Teri back to check in on her to see how she was holding up. I'll never be able to express to her how much I appreciate what she has done over the last few months and that I think she brought a lot of peace, comfort, and contentment to my mother. And unfortunately she did it almost completely alone. It's nothing short of incredible and she absolutely deserves some time to herself.
Two things came out of my conversation with Teri that were upsetting to me. I hate to say it, but Teri told me that she doesn't think my mother understood what I had said to her in my letter by the time Teri had read it to her. Teri knew that I was sending that letter and did nothing to let me know she didn't have it for four full days! I had to inquire and force the issue. Apparently by the time that Teri did get it, my mother was already sliding to oblivion.
I am frustrated and hurt by this, hell I have to be honest and say I'm angry too, because I was told prior to her death that hearing from me was a big deal for her and then after she died Teri tells me that my mother died fully believing that I hated her and thought she was a scumbag. It's just ridiculous to me that as important as this apparently was to my mother, very little priority was given to see this though.
Teri pointed out directly that I should have called my mother and let her know I loved her and that I didn't hate her, that it would have given her peace upon death.
BULLSHIT!! That is absolutely not true. This is the second thing that upsets me and really pisses me off. It is an example of WHY I decided to stop talking to my mother. In all the conflicts and all the problems we had in our relationship I do not ever remember telling her I didn't love her. Even at my worst, when I behaved the poorest and shouted at her and called her names, I never once said or implied that I felt that way. I went out of my way to tell her that I did love her when we fought and when we got along. I would explain at great detail that unless she did something unholy evil to me, I would always love her. When she called me on my last birthday I again told her that I loved her even though I was upset.
She never believed me. Time and time again I would say it to her, but she would often question it. That was annoying and devastating. I stood by her as her son and my love was ignored or denied until she needed it, but then when she was done, it was forgotten and I had to profess to her again. My wife heard me have this conversation with her on a few occasions and said nothing to me other than the important thing is that I actually DO love her.
So, why would I believe that anything I did in the last few weeks would be different? Just because she was on her deathbed? Like it or not, she would not have believed it. She would have wanted me to prove it in some way, probably by coming out to see her, which I could not do in any way. Instead of it being an unconditional question of whether I loved her, I would have needed to prove it by meeting some condition of hers.
And this is the honest part I spoke of that will surely piss off family, but I truly do not regret my actions, especially over the past year. And I absolutely do not care if she died thinking that I didn't love her or that I thought she was scum. I never gave her cause to have those doubts and I know my actions stand-up to that test. And I also don't care because I know that where she is now, she has received the clarity to know the truth.
For those among us that she has left behind, you can choose to believe it or not. Those are your choices and you are responsible for making them and which ever one you choose has absolutely no affect on my belief.
It is now late and my children will need me tomorrow pretty early, so I need to rest for them.