I managed to get through Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s, an event that pretty much had filled me with an amount of dread that defies description. I did this only for my daughter and for no one else. If it wasn’t so important to her, then I would have extended my best and offered some reasonably plausible excuse to explain my absence.
I managed to avoid my mother for near eighteen months - until eleven months ago - but no longer. My daughter was too upset by this and I felt that I wasn’t being fair to her so last November, I did my best to bury the proverbial hatchet. I don’t want to go into great detail right now about how we managed to get to where we are today but I very briefly let me tell you a story which I feel perfectly illustrates my mother’s character as well as helping you to understand what has pretty much been her life long treatment of me, her only daughter.
In 2002, my father was diagnosed with cancer and after his first month of radiation and chemo, he found that he could no longer drive himself to the hospital so he asked me if I could. Now this meant taking him five days a week there and back for approx five months. I didn’t mind doing it although obviously it greatly impacted my life as well as my family’s. Just before Christmas, my father finished with all of his radiation and chemo treatments.
Christmas that year was nice although we knew that my father wasn’t going to get any better regardless of his treatments. By the third week of January I had returned to work full time and tried to settle into a new routine. Less than a week after I was back at work, my father was admitted to the hospital for what ultimately turned out to be the rest of his life. I visited every day which was hard.
I was juggling a new job, my family’s needs plus the demands of my mother. I knew that this was incredibly hard on her. Here was her life partner, a man that had looked after her now since 1956 and she the same. The were truly a magnificent couple and loved each other until the very end. It has always been sad though that my mother was incapable of bringing this beautiful and precious piece over into other areas of her life, her treatment of me in particular. This has always been very much a mystery to me.
To illustrate, when my father finally passed away the second week of March I was overwhelmed with so many different emotions but more than anything else, I felt so very, very tired. The last week of his life, I had spent every night sleeping beside my father in a bed that his nurses had put together for me. The one thing that I wanted to be excused from was having to take my mother to the funeral home the day after his death. Jim and I had taken her there prior to make all the arrangements. I figured as my brother had only visited him twice the whole time he was in hospital, that he and his wife could look after this.
At the time, I didn’t think too much about making this request but for months after, every place that I happened to take my mother whenever she was offered condolences, she told everyone what a rock my brother had been to her and how she wouldn’t have known what to do had he not looked after everything the day after my father’s passing.
No mention of what I had done for five months nor the three months he spent in the hospital, nothing at all, and all of this in front of me, and not just on one occasion, but multiple times.
That pretty much says it all. I could easily go on but I’m not of the mind right now to rehash feelings of bitterness no matter how much she manages to annoy.