Receiving The Call No One Wants
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.