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“No Wire Hangers!”

“Why can’t you give me the respect that I’m entitled to?” (from Mommie Dearest)

My mom's high school senior picture
My mom’s high school senior picture

“Yeah, I’m here at mom’s. She fell and has been laying here for one or two days.”

It’s the call no one wants to receive—to hear your 78-year-old disabled mother injured herself, couldn’t get up, couldn’t call for help and was being rushed to the emergency room. The call from my brother, who with the maintenance man’s help, was able to gain entry to our mother’s apartment was a jolt. She was in pretty bad shape.

How could this be happening? Usually you only hear about elderly people falling and being left for a sustained amount of time on the news.

You know you have mommy issues when you wish for a Mother’s Day card that reflects your dysfunctional upbringing rather than the typical mushiness. When I was growing up I was scared of my mother’s explosive temper and it seemed there was nothing I could do to please her.

Most of my life I’ve volleyed between a deep hatred and nonchalance for my mother. Her attempts to ‘make things right’ in my adulthood were annoying and what really got under my skin was the way she rewrote history as if we lived like Leave It To Beaver vs. an episode straight out of the Jerry Springer Show.

My mother could be mean as a snake but to outsiders she came across as the sweetest person you’d ever want to meet. It’s unfortunate we’ve been unable to become close because as I’ve come to realize over the past few days I really don’t know her full story probably because of that nonchalant thing.

When I was little and knew my mother resented me, watching her dote on my baby brother was tough. Even so, after I began having children, and she became disabled, whenever she needed anything I was there. I remember one occasion when she was hospitalized for internal bleeding and at the end of visitor’s hours was that awkward moment where I felt I should give her a hug, kiss, and say “I love you” but it just felt so icky.

So when my brother called to tell me the condition he found our mother in, all I could think of was if God would give me one more chance, I would bring her home with me and make it work somehow. I didn’t want her life to end with her thinking things were still uncopasetic.

It used to drive me up the wall the number of times my mother wouldn’t let me take her out, even if it was just for a drive in the country. Instead she lived alone with very few visitors with the exception of me and my three boys as my brother resided out of state at the time.

I know she was self-conscious of her disability related deformity but I would get so ticked off at the number of “nos” I received for whatever excuse she could pull out of a hat. She insisted on remaining in solitude yet she’d get upset because life was continuing on outside of her apartment.

For many years I was ashamed of my dysfunctional background, ashamed of my mother and ashamed because I couldn’t feel for her what I felt I should feel, if that makes sense. But my mother has come through some stuff and though it wasn’t right, were it not for some of the things I endured early on I might not have become the person I am today.

My mother is a survivor! She overcame addiction, she’s lived with Dystonia, a painful neurological movement disorder, for over 25 years. She’s managed to live independently with her disability and for years she’s done her penance in solitude. Does this one small bit of enlightenment mean that our relationship will become miraculously mended? I doubt it, but who knows.

Once mom comes through this episode I’m sure she’s gonna say or do something to irk me, I’ll be angry and then as per usual, I’ll get over it. Afterall our family wouldn’t be dysfunctional if we didn’t go through these bouts but I hope I can always remember the reason I am a survivor today is because of my mom.

Note: My mom was severely dehydrated and diagnosed with pneumonia. She is still recovering in the hospital and will be released to a skilled nursing facility for further recuperation and therapy. As I need to take care of business for my mom, I will post when possible. 

Have a nice weekend!



58 thoughts on ““No Wire Hangers!”

  1. I appreciate your honesty. It is refreshing.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting Rose. I really appreciate it! 💜

      1. Keep writing. You have something worth saying.

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    My Childhood – Living Through The Life Of Ibz

    1. Hi Ibz, done and done. Nice to meet you. Steph

      1. You’re welcome! 🙂

      2. Please share would mean a lot

  3. Here’s wishing you both the best!

  4. It takes a lot of courage to share our family issues. I have plenty of my own and I will send out prayers for you and your mum. Please know my thoughts are with you both.

  5. You’re a good daughter. I hope your mom recovers. Take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing such a personal and poignant piece of your life.

    1. Thank you Caroline!! <3

  6. Wishes and prayers for your dear! Take care! Hope you find light in the harsh times. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It’s a bit tiring but taking things step by step is very helpful in getting through this situation.

      1. Yes indeed. I hope you find peace soon and get through this situation. Somethings take time but when they do it’s worth the wait. 🙂

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s fall. I hope she recovers soon. From what you say, it sounds as though the two of you have had a sometimes difficult relationship. Larkin above may be right, though. Perhaps even at this stage, there’s time for emotional healing too. In any case, it’s great that you’ve always tried to do right by your mother, even when things have been strained.

    1. Thanks Bun! A part of me thinks the fall had to happen for her to get the help she needs. She’s more often than not been in a confused state but b/c of her lucid moments and sheer stubbornness there was little that could be done. At least now we’ll have a better idea of what we’re dealing with.

      1. Here’s hoping she recovers from her fall soon.

  8. What an open and touching post, Steph! Relations with family can be strained, hope one day you can reach that point of letting go of past hurts. Sending you much love…*Hugs*

  9. Hang in there. I hope there can be healing in the relationship even now. Helping someone through the later part of life is hard but important. You’re doing a lovely thing by staying involved.

  10. What a frank and honest assessment Stephanae. Would it surprise you to know that many people harbour these ambivalent feelings toward their parents? I love the way you are determined to resolve things. It’s important for you and your boys, if not for your mum.

    1. You know Robyn I’ve often thought many people are better at keeping their skeletons hidden in the closet. It’s interesting that one of the first things we learn as dysfunctional families is to keep secrets. In my case as I’m sure is probably the same with many others it was the shame that kept me quiet. Even when I was very young I felt no wouldn’t be accepted if I made my home life known to others.

      1. I understand your feelings, Steph. But think of it this way. By speaking out you help so many others who are struggling with similar issues. When your story doesn’t conform with the ideal, the one most told, it’s so comforting to know you’re not alone.

  11. It was nice to hear your story. I feel for you and hop your Mom can realize how much you want to share in her love. Just remember I’m on heavy duty prayers for all of you.


  12. Oh, Steph, sending love and prayers. My mom was a difficult woman to the day she passed away. I’m lucky to have 3 supportive siblings and we helped each other in dealing with mom when she needed more help. Please take care of yourself, emotionally and physically! <3

    1. Thank you so much for your soothing words. I used to think I was the only one who had such a difficult mother/daughter relationship and it’s sad to hear other similar stories. I’m glad to hear that you shared a close relationship with your siblings to make your situation more bearable.

      1. And I know that feeling of always wanting the relationship with your mom that you deserve — unfortunately, they’re not always capable of change, I guess. Hugs, sweetie!

  13. Sending healing thoughts to your mom. I understand the dilemma of trying to be good and kind to a woman who hurt you so much through your life.

    My mother was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to me as a child and my brother was the golden child! Even as an adult she’d call me each day and reduce me to tears from the hurtful and unkind things she said.

    It took me years to understand that she’s a damaged soul who needs to make others feel worse than she already does inside. I needed to learn to create some emotional distance between her and me so she couldn’t continue to wound me.

    I learned that I wasn’t being disloyal to her but creating healthy boundaries! I learned to accept that we’d never have the healthy and loving relationship I craved, but since I wished to keep things peaceful between us, I needed to limit what we talked about and what I revealed to her about my life.

    Did she like that! No! I had taken my emotional remote control back from her hands! She no longer could push my buttons! It was huge!

    I wish you all the best as you move forward with this!

    Peace, Tamara

    1. Oh Tamara, I hear what you’re saying and after many therapy sessions I tried to create healthy boundaries but the only way it worked for me was going silent by not answering her calls. After a time, when I felt I could tolerate her I’d talk to her, even though an apology was never forthcoming. It was exausting, this back and forth but I’d feel guilty if I remained angry with her. She was a master manipulator and I think to some extent I felt trapped.

  14. I’m sorry about your Mom’s fall. With more elderly people, disability or not, something seems to often happen at some point, where they need more care and cannot live alone. I have a Grandma and a Baba who went through this. I’m sorry its difficult with your mother. That she doesn’t want to get along or see any of the outside world. You are a good daughter to take care of her. Family is family and you demonstrate that so well in your recounting of these events. Have a great weekend.

    1. Thank you Mandi for your very sweet words. You’re right family is family and I’ve found they’ll take me places I never wanted to venture but in the end it’s the ties that matter. And the falls are extremely dangerous as a matter of fact an acquaintance of mine recently passed away from a tumble down a set of stairs. It was such a shocking situation but it also reminds us that we should be mindful of the present.

      1. I agree. Accidents can still be fatal at any age.

  15. I doubt that you will ever sorrow over the times you reached out to your mother. On the other hand, many would love the chance to try again. Love almost always opens way for pain, but still love is worth it. Parents, children, spouses, friends – they are worth caring for. Allowing for the exception that breaks the rule.

    1. Very wise words Oneta! I am fortunate to have another opportunity and as I mentioned to another follower, I believe my mother loved me but she just didn’t know how to show it and tried to make up for it in later years. It’s a heartbreaking thing to see someone appearing so broken now that she’s older and I can only hope that her confusion will clear if only for a moment for me to tell her everything’s going be okay.

  16. hope things get better soon for the two of you

    1. Oh Dina, wow you do understand. I remember you blogging about your cooking and when I read I thought about my mother. I am glad to hear that you know beyond a doubt that you mum adores you. I’m more than certain that mine does as well, she just struggled to show it.

  17. I understand your dilemma. I grew up arguing with my judgmental Mom, and we had a very tense relationship much of the time. My Dad was even more critical and judgmental. They divorced when I was 27 and should never had married, plus he had affairs. But….I also loved my Mom and she always kept a home for my son and I to come home to and bailed us out many times. I didn’t think I would miss her when she died but her death brought me to my knees and I miss her still after 17 years.

    I’m sorry you have a rough relationship with your Mom and hope you find peace.

    1. Thank you for saying this Katelon. For so many years I felt sort of alone in how I felt towards my mother. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s death and how you still miss her. In some way I’m glad I have an opportunity to find the peace of which you speak.

      1. I really thought I wouldn’t miss my Mom, as it had been such a struggle in spite of deep love, too. We had made progress the last few years before her death but it was rarely an easy relationship. That is why her death and the hole it left in my life was so shocking to me.

        I was able to be with her when she died in ICU, chanting over her body for days as she held on for my son to be there. Very profound.

        May you truly come to an understanding and resolution. Sending on love.

      2. My heart breaks for you Katelon because you are such a gentle spirit. Thank you for sharing your feelings. 💖

  18. Praying for healing — both physical and emotional…take care of yourself.

  19. Wow! Sending you hugs and prayers during this time. It’s a lot but God is a healer.

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