(Please read my previous posts so this story makes sense)
My brother and his narcissistic wife had done little to none in the first three to four months after my mom had surgery to remove an 8″ mass and her subsequent diagnosis with a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer. She slowly but surely was recovering from her surgery and so she decided to go back to work. Her boss was really cool though and let her work from home. He set her up with her own computer and all. She would wake up and commute across the hall to her office. My mom was always a very dedicated worker. She had been doing ok except for one hospital stay where she needed a blood transfusion and discovered her blood pressure was really high and so they kept her until they could get it down to a more normal level. She called me up during work hours to tell me that my brother had scheduled the appointment to get the second opinion at Sloan Kettering and he didn’t even tell her about it. She found out via a call from Sloan to remind her of her appointment. She called my brother and apparently it had slipped his mind.
Although I was annoyed that he wasn’t communicating with me about it and I found his sudden interest in my mom’s health funny, I acted as if I was happy and told her I would like to go too. She answered me by saying, “well your brother is driving, so….”. Leaving that open ended “so” there I took it was he’s driving so if you want to come, get your own ride. I replied to that by saying, “well then I guess I will take the train or drive my own car in?”. Her response was that I really didn’t have to come and that she didn’t want me to have to drag my son there, and it would probably be a big waste of time. I told her I didn’t care and that I really felt like it was important that I went and so she told me to work it out with my brother.
I text him that day, as well and told him that I our mother told me about the appointment and that I felt like it was important for me to be there too. Again from him I got a very similar response that he was picking her up and driving her in. There was no invite for me to come along and so I told him the same thing I said to my mom that either I’d drive my own car in or take the train. He just said, “ok.” and that was it. He didn’t offer for me to come in his car with them and so I just left it at that and planned to drive myself.
The day finally arrived and my son ended up being really sick that day. I had no choice but to stay home with him. Later on I found out that after the appointment, my brother took my mom to see the new house he and Satan were buying. That is most likely why he didn’t want me in the car. He didn’t want to have to ditch me when they went to look at the house. Once again my brother and his life is the most important shit.
The visit ended up being a complete waste of time just as I thought it would be. The doctors told them it was too soon and that my mom should come back after she got her three month later, followup scans. In fact, the doctors did three months may have been even a little too soon. In some cases they wait up to 6 months.
My brother never discussed the appointment with me or what was said. I started to feel like once again we were back to this bullshit not talking shit again.i tried to maintain communication with him but a lot of the times I would text him and he’d never text me back. Any times we did talk it was because I initiated contact. As the months went by I heard less and less from him.
After the Sloan Kettering appointment my mom also didn’t hear from him for weeks. Things were quiet with her for a while in April of 2016 and she seemed to be doing a little bit better. I was actually able to take a little break from going over to her house. My best friend was coming her and me and her had planned a day in the city with our husbands. I had asked my mom months ahead of time if she could watch my son and she said yes but the day before that day, I asked my mom again and she told me she didn’t know if she was feeling up to watching him. I totally understood until she then informed me that she was having my brother, Satan and their baby over the following day and she was cooking for them. She asked if me , my husband and son would like to join them. Suddenly I felt my self being a little annoyed. Here she is telling me that she doesn’t have the energy to entertain my son for a few hours but she somehow had the energy to host a dinner party for everyone. A dinner party to me sounds like a lot more work than sitting around with a three year old all day. That bothered me and so I said something to her. She got all defensive and told me I was being unfair to her.
I needed time to cool off. Maybe I was wrong for being upset but my family seems to think I should always understand their feelings but not have any of my own. It did hurt me that my mom somehow was able to find the energy to go shopping for food, prepare the food, serve the food and drinks and clean up all the dishes and stuff. Her dishwasher was broken too and so that meant she’d have to stand at the sink and wash all the dishes, glasses and pots and pans, by hand. I just felt like after all I had done for her she could’ve just helped me out for a few hours. If she wasn’t doing the dinner thing I wouldn’t have even cared but the fact that somehow had energy for the two people who did the least for her, it bothered me.
I’m very self aware. I didn’t want to fight with her or get on her about my brother and so I decided that I needed a little mental vacation. Pretty much since December I was dealing with everything. I would run errands for her like picking her up for prescriptions, or bringing her to the lab to get her blood tests or to doctor visits. I was also helping her around her house cleaning and doing laundry. She also needed a few blood transfusions and so whenever she needed those, I would bring her to the hospital and wait for her.
One day I drove her all the way to the hospital for a transfusion but once we got there they told me I couldn’t bring my son in. They said she’d be 2 hours or so and so I dragged my son to the mall and we walked around in circles . 2 hours turned into nearly four hours and after walking around a mall aimlessly for that long, she calls me and tells me that they want to keep her. I had to drive all the way back to her house, grab some stuff for her that she needed and drive all the way back to the hospital. The medical world is the most frustrating thing on the planet.
I needed a break. I was at her house nearly every day for almost three months straight as she recovered from her nephrectomy (removal of her kidney). I needed to get my house back in order and spend some time with my husband and my son, together. If she needed help she knew she could’ve called me and she could always call my brother for things too. I hadn’t done anything for myself or my family in quite sometime and I just needed the break. We still spoke however and I facetimed her nearly every night so she could see my son.
I talked to my Aunt Debbie a lot during that time. Aside from me, she was the closest person to my mom. They worked together and for the last ten years since my dad passed, my aunt Debbie talked to my mom on the phone every morning as they both got ready for work. Between me and her I felt like we kind of filled the void of my dad for my mom. Over the years my aunt Debbie had many talks about my mom. My mom had changed a lot since my dad passed. She became kind of anti-social (not the personality disorder lol), bitter and kind of negative. For the past decade I was trying to get my mom to see a therapist but she refused. My mom had a lot of self esteem issues both from childhood and adulthood. Of all her 5 brothers and sisters it was told to me that my alcoholic grandfather was the hardest on her. I believe it was because she was the smartest yet most rebellious and so my grandfather expected more from her. It didn’t help her any that she married my dad who was also an alcoholic and didn’t always show her love and affection. At times he was downright nasty and would call her fat or tell her she needed to lose weight. My mom struggled wit her weight ever since I could remember. She was always trying new diets, losing and gaining weight.
I tried to talk to both my aunt Bea and my aunt Debbie over the years and telling them how I thought my mom was depressed, but following the breakdown of mine and my brother’s relationship, along with her cancer diagnosis I saw that she was getting seriously depressed. She was becoming neglectful and wasn’t taking the proper care of herself. Sometimes I felt like my concerns for my mom fell on deaf ears. Aunt Bea was always too concerned with her own life. It was hard to talk to her because she’d always try to compare my mom’s situation to her own and they were just living in completely different worlds. She couldn’t relate at all with what my mom was dealing with. My mom lost her husband and had been alone for ten years. She was completely independent and took care of herself and her some all alone. Aunt Bea and her husband uncle Bob were attached at the hips. Aunt Bea never even had to pay a bill or pump her own gas because uncle Bob did everything for her. When I tried to talk about my mom to her she would tell me that she just needed to think positive. She’d tell my mom the same thing. My mom would constantly tell me how Aunt Bea didn’t get her and didn’t understand what she was going through at all. I had even got into it with Aunt Bea a few times and I told her that just thinking positively wasn’t that easy. If it were that easy there wouldn’t be a billion dollar mental health industry. There’d be no need for Zoloft and Paxil and no one would be depressed because they’d just simply think positively.
Aunt Debbie was a bit more understanding of my mom’s situation. She too was solely responsible for her home and paying all her own bills and making on her own. Aunt Debbie was married to my cousin’s father for over 20 years and when my cousin was about ten, they got divorced. Shortly after she met another guy. A retired police officer with a major drinking problem. Much like my brother and Satan they moved in and got married really quick. That didn’t last too long. About five years later they were also divorced. The difference between her and my mom was that she had an ax to grind with the world. When you are divorced it motivates you to get out and meet someone because you want to piss your ex off and show him that he is replaceable. My aunt replaced both of them, time and time and time again! When your spouse dies you carry guilt with you. You feel wrong moving on and living your life and dating. My mom never attempted to move on. Her guilt held her back but so did her self esteem and self image issues.
My mom had recently found out that her transplanted kidney’s function was starting to decline. Her doctor suggested she see a nutritionist who will help her with eating foods that were right to try and save her kidney. She refused the help and told me that she knew what to eat. At this point I was really starting to worry about her mental wellbeing. She would tell me things like all she wanted to do was sleep. That she just didn’t feel like doing the things she normally did. My mom had completely lost interest in things that once made her happy. For instance, she loved gardening. My whole life friends always used to comment about how beautiful my mom landscaped our yard. She really did a great job. I mean she was like a botanical encyclopedia. When I first purchased my home she was so excited that I too became interested in flowers and gardening. It was one of the many bonds we shared. Every year when the spring rolled around we would go to the local nursery and spend hundreds of dollars on plants. This year my mom told me that she has absolutely no interest in that and it really worried me. She was neglecting everything. Her garden, her house but most importantly herself.
I hadn’t really talked to my aunt’s but I decided to reach out to them one more time in a desperate attempt to help my mom but what I got in response completely changed everything.
(To be contributed in my next post…)