My mother has always been a bit “flighty.” She was considered to be of lesser intelligence. My father and sisters derided this trait. I considered it a ruse because she really was smart but did not show it on purpose. My father is the domineering type and would be threatened by her brain. She submitted since she did not want a divorce like her parents.
About ten years ago my mom became absent minded. She would occasionally forget things and would be easily distracted. She was in her late 60s so no one was worried. About six years ago the condition became worse and I urged my dad to get her to a doctor. The regular doctor was an idiot and he finally took her to Mayo Clinic. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in 2009.
Mom was angry and denied that the doctors could be correct. It took her almost two years to finally accept that she was “losing her mind.” Her sister has Alzheimer’s. Dad was angry that he would have to take care of her. He blamed her and was rude. He implied that she got sick on purpose. I convinced him to attend a support group and he has finally accepted the prognosis. Unfortunately, his health is becoming frailer.
I live a couple hours away and call every week or so to check in. I always offer to come down and help with whatever they need. My sister #2 lives in town but her hubby despises our parents so she doesn’t see them very much except during times of need. I haven’t had a good relationship with my sister for about a decade. Our oldest sister makes up lies about me and has managed to alienate me from the family. I get along with our parents but I don’t even attempt to contact my sisters. No matter what I say or do, its wrong.
This all came to a painful point last year. Mum hasn’t been feeling well for months. I kept urging dad to take her to the doctor to talk about exhaustion but he wouldn’t. Neglect, maybe. She stopped eating and wouldn’t get out of bed. Emergency room. Diagnosed with pneumonia. Wrong. Diagnosed with blood clots in legs and lungs. Life threatening situation. She spent three days in the hospital and was released with intensive blood thinners. Factor V diagnosis.
I spoke with dad daily and he wanted me to come down after she was released. I made the plan. My sister then called and started yelling at me. She screamed that we were “at war” and that I “hated her husband” neither of which are true. I feel apathy for her and her husband, which is probably worse than acrimony. I asked her to calm down and said that she was over-reacting. I told her that I take orders from dad not her. Oops. She screamed, “You’re an asshole.” I hung up.
With great trepidation I traveled to my parent’s home. My sister is volatile and her family has guns. I am afraid of them. I am in fear that they will shoot me. I helped my parents that afternoon and my sister came over during supper. I was grilling outside when she came out. Panic. At least I had the meat pitchfork to defend myself. She didn’t mention the horrible conversation and was almost demure. I told her again that I was there to help mom and dad with whatever they needed.
I stayed busy with grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, washing clothes, baking, and other chores. Mom needed help to the bathroom and bed. We had to keep her awake and entertained because she wasn’t supposed to sleep too much. She was on oxygen and that was the biggest challenge to refrain from tripping on the cord. The machine made a loud whirring noise so it was stored in the bathroom. It was a big production to get her to the clinic for a two-day check-up and determine her blood-clotting factor. It was up to 1.7 and they wanted it above 2.0.
All went well until the morning of my departure. At 4:30am mom got up to go to the bathroom. She went okay and was returning to bed when she lost her balance and feel down next to the bed. I heard a noise and went running into the room. Dad and I had been sleeping. Thankfully, she wasn’t bleeding and seemed okay. I was worried because she will bruise due to the medication and could bleed internally. I asked dad about calling the hospital and he said no. I helped mom into bed and hoped for the best.
I was too upset to sleep so I packed my gear. I waited until mom was awake at 7am and checked for bruising and tenderness where she fell. Great sigh of relief that all seemed fine. I was jittery so I departed. I was so happy to be returning to my home. I am poor, underemployed, and lonely at times but at least I feel better when away from them. I have an intense fear reaction to my siblings who are bullies. They are kryptonite to my self-esteem. They have husbands and children to back them up. I have friends but my friends would not join me for family events.
Utterly exhausting experience. I was rattled from the unrelenting stress. I knew enough not to isolate or I would fall into depression. I joined my book-club for lunch and friends for dinner. I had to talk about the trauma. I had to get it “out” and writing is helpful, too. I mourn for a positive relationship with my siblings. It pains me to be distant from them, my nieces-nephews, and grand-nieces/nephews. I am not perfect but I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. I’ve tried to mend relationship with my sisters but they won’t listen. I gave up. I might as well be an only child. It hurts to be so alone.
Family divorce needed.
Copyright © 2013 by Ima B. Musing; All rights reserved.