down the rabbit hole

family: a blessing, a curse, the learned dysfunction, things and people out of our control, the baggage one carries through life. one woman's story of the craziness that makes up her family. the hurts, disappointments, fun, hilarity, tears, laughter, life and death.

10 March 2006

the current drama

if you've read my other blog, a life restarted, you've read the occasional post about my mom, her alzheimer's disease and it's rapid progress the last few months.

gerry is the steadfast caretaker of our mom as she falls into her abyss of darkness. i do what i can from a distance: calling regularly, visiting when i am able, supporting gerry and helping him with the tough decisions.

with mom's quickening descent, gerry and i have been discussing the inevitable move to assisted living. he asked that i email hannah about mom's "progress", along with requesting that she try and help a bit with mom. after all, she's only a hour away.

my email detailed mom's decline: forgotten showers, forgotten toothbrushing, trying to curl wet hair.....and the list went on. would be nice while gerry and hope are on vacation that you could go up and check on mom a couple times in those two weeks. she shouldn't be without visits or being checked on for that long and i can't leave my job for 2 weeks at this point. besides, you are an hour away and haven't seen much of her......

her response was vitriolic, along with a little history rewrite. nothing uncommon for hannah when she's faced with the truth. however, i was seething when i read her response. she takes no responsibility for anything. one of my little pet peeves.....

.....i'm busy with work and am starting school again. i can try to call her and maybe get up to see her. it's expensive and my finances are limited.......

she lives a bloody hour away from mom. it's gas money! okay, so gas isn't exactly cheap these days, but it's her mom for god's sake!

....besides, i was the one to drive and see dad at least weekly when he was sick and dying. nobody bothered to come to see him.......

that was it for me. we'd all seen dad regularly while he suffered through his emphysema. it was an awful, slow and painful death to watch. thankfully, dad did have a wife to take care of him. he could still think, remember, read.....i learned a great deal about strength, dignity, forgiveness and love during those two years. all hannah seemed to be able to see was that she spent so much time and energy driving to be at his side.

hannah has always seen life from one perspective: how events will effect her. such a self-involved way to view the world. even as her daughter is looking at possible deployment to the middle east, germany or korea, her lament is:

....what am i going to do without marie? who will i talk to?

and i'm thinking......honey, your daughter's getting deployed. shouldn't you be thinking about her?

what's most upsetting in this little family drama to me is hannah's short-sighted view of things. our mother is slowly leaving us. her worry is whether there will be money left for us to inherit, what she gets from the "estate"........

i have trouble understanding that. as i watch my mom lose what makes her my mom....memories, knowledge, beliefs, i am saddened, often to tears. my thoughts are not on what i may or may not get out of my mom's death. i don't care. i don't want to look into mom's blank, unknowing eyes. yet, that day is coming.

i'm angry with hannah for her cold, seemingly unfeeling reaction to mom's decline. i know that's not typical. she could have rivaled the paid italian mourners of old with her tears and wailing at dad's funeral. i don't understand her cold response to mom.

and, as we face the loss of our last parent, it also saddens me to think that i will lose my sister. our relationship has almost always been difficult, yet we managed to stay friends and speak regularly.....mostly about the mundane. now, we can't even seem to share that. and i'm at a loss as to how to repair things..........there is so much anger, hurt feelings and judgment between us, i'm not sure how to get around it. or if we even can......................


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