Friday, December 5, 2014

I wish...

Today is my mother's 73rd birthday. She sent me and my sister a letter apologizing to both of us and wanting us to know she does love us and isn't just down there in Brazil not giving a damn. She apologized to me for not recognizing how unhappy I was as a child and how she should have hugged me and told me she loved me more. She said she's not sure how much longer she's going to be here and just felt like she needed to say these things.

My sister and I are worried that she's preparing to die. But I also acknowledge that there is nothing to be done about it - she has chosen to be one of the thousands who will die well before their time for refusing medical care in the service of their "religion". And she's isolated herself thousands of miles away from everyone who cares about her. What can you do? I feel helpless but also resigned. I just see no happy ending to this story.

I'll admit I do have fantasies about taking her in and nursing her through the remainder of her life here at home - although I recognize the reality of this situation would be a lot messier and more unpleasant than I could ever imagine. After all, I don't really know my mother anymore - I haven't spoken to her (beyond one line emails about the kids) in eight years and haven't seen her in more than ten. I hear she is gaunt and sickly and looks like she's at death's door - I'm sure if I ever did see her in person again I would be shocked at her condition. 

This time of year, though, in addition to the fact that I get unusually sad that my boys will never have a father, I also am reminded that they have no grandparents, either, and this saddens me. I'm not going to try to pretend it doesn't matter that Bobby and Teddy have no father, because it does. just is. The same way this situation with my mother just is. 

I know I need to write her back but I just don't know what to say. I guess thank her for the apology...? Is this the moment to say all the things that need to be said? I don't see her as this monster anymore, just a sad, sick old woman full of regrets. I hate that things have to end this way - I will never be able to reconcile the fun, hip, interesting woman my mother was when she was younger with this situation - and I so wish things could be, could have been, different.


  1. I'm sorry your relationship with your mom is so strained. Maybe this is the time to say all the things that need to be said? Sounds like that's what she did. If you feel like reciprocating - if you would regret not having reciprocated if she died tomorrow - then I say do it. If you have no desire and won't regret not doing it, then that's ok, too. My $.02. :)

    Your boys can have people in their lives who aren't biological family members, but who are "family" in every other sense of the word. We have some pseudo-family members, and they're awesome. It's so easy to forget, eventually, that they're not "real" family.

  2. I think your first response was the best - thank her for her apology. She made some bad choices that hurt you terribly - at least she now realizes it. Small miracles.

  3. I agree with Shannon's advice.

    I didn't say anything to my mom (or dad) while dying that would have hurt her, because I felt like it wouldn't have made me feel any better. If there's something that will rankle you for the rest of your life for not saying it, then say it. But think about what you hope will come of it, if you do say it.

    Of course, my mom was in my life and yours was not. Which is a HUGE difference. My childhood was really not good but my mom tried. So I give her that.

    And the hardest thing about losing her is knowing that my child(ren) won't have grandparents. That is an ache that hasn't stopped hurting. I am doing my best to cultivate relationships with others to fill that void but it's a partial replacement, at best.

    I'm sorry that things are going down the way they are.