Receiving The Call No One Wants

Receiving The Call No One Wants

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

It’s the call no one wants to receive—your 78-year-old disabled mother injured herself. She couldn’t get up, couldn’t call for help.

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

The call from my brother, who gained 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.

I Realize Now I Didn’t Even Know Her

You know you have mommy issues when you can’t stomach the idea of picking out a typical Mothers’ Day card. When I was growing up I was afraid of my mother and it seemed there was nothing I could do to please her.

Most of my life I’ve had a nonchalant attitude towards my mom. Her attempts to ‘make things right’ in my adulthood bothered me. But what really got under my skin was the way she rewrote history like we had the ideal relationship.

My mom, like many people, was the sweetest person you’d ever want to meet. However, our home life was a stark contrast to what was publicly displayed. Reflecting back, it’s unfortunate we couldn’t become close because I realize over the past few days I really don’t know her full story.

When I was little, watching my mother dote on my baby brother was tough. Even so, when I reached adulthood and she became disabled, whenever she needed anything I was there for her. I remember that awkward moment at the end of visitor’s hours during a hospitalization where I felt I should display affection but it just felt weird.

Just One More Chance

So when my brother called to tell me how he found our mother, all I could think was I didn’t want her to die. 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 I hated her.

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 in solitude with very few visitors except for me and my three sons as my brother lived out of state.

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.

A New Realization

For many years I was ashamed of my dysfunctional background, and ashamed because I couldn’t feel for mom what I felt I should feel. But my mother has come through some stuff. While my early years could have been better, were it not for some of the things I endured 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 get angry and then 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 is through my mom’s example

Note: My mom was severely dehydrated and diagnosed with pneumonia and kidney failure. 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. 


Published by Stephanae

👩🏾‍🦯 | INTJ | HSP | Collector of knowledge | Alpaca Fanatic “If I stop to kick every barking dog, I am not going to get where I'm going.” ~Jackie Joyner-Kersee Hi, I'm Steph! I'm a highly sensitive proud introvert and a recovering people-pleaser. These traits or quirks used to bother me because I always felt out of place until I began a recent process of self-acceptance. While I'm still a work in progress, I view my quirks as my superpowers and am grateful that they contribute to who I am today.

58 thoughts on “Receiving The Call No One Wants

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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*

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.


  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. I can relate to this. Mum was in hospital for about a week. And for some reason, even when she’s unwell, she had the ability to push my buttons. At times nothing I can do can please her. None of my cooking (I blogged about it here). So many times I’ve tried taking her out for coffee, lunch and all I get is sulk and wordless conversations. It’s hard. I know. But I just don’t call the shots any more. All I do is just ask what she wants (she’s not very demanding) and do just that. Nothing more. Strange as that all is, I know she adores me and appreciates me.

  24. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Your Cart