I started this off in One Day, I’m Going To Grow Wings. I’ll provide a brief synopsis. When referring to my mother, there should probably be another word accompanying it. Really, if you want the entire story, please review the referenced post.
So, to continue this saga, we’ll open up Lulu’s family history. My father is a disabled Vietnam Veteran with PTSD. My brother has disabling Autism. So, that makes my mother a dependent homemaker.
“I (bleeping) hate that woman. If my dad dies before her, I’m going to let her rot on this Earth until she dies. And then she can burn in hell,” I wrote in a text message to C.S. this morning after my first conversation with her. I mean it.
Rewind. My mother is second born of my grandmother’s six children. Of those six children, three remain in Allegheny County. One continued to live with her and my Pappap. Pappap was ten years older than my grandmother, and he passed away 15 years ago after a ten year battle with prostate cancer. That makes my grandmother 85.
My mother was my Pappap’s favorite and my grandmother’s least favorite as a result. And since Pappap was always away on the railroad, and my mother’s older sister was always in the hospital on the cusp of death, that made my mother mostly head of the household. Yes, responsible for all of the cooking and cleaning for all of the kids my grandmother kept popping out. This was during the fifties and sixties. So, of course, my grandmother’s last little girl was her favorite and has resided with her ever since.
Are you still with me?
The people in that family are the most mentally unhealthy people on the planet. No exaggeration. These people can seriously not even see the big, pink, suede elephant in the middle of the room, because they are that good at denying it’s existence. They have enough guilt to start their own religion. And in the same line of thinking, you know what my family needs? A big wooden cross! Everyone resents each other but keeps them under each other’s thumbs in the name of family. A little box of lies wouldn’t cut it; they need a whole bleeping warehouse! The air is so heavy with secrets that the walls actually can talk. Except they’re too afraid to.
I’d like to point out that I’m really not exaggerating this at all.
That brings us to the last week in July during my extended absence just before Alternate Realities. Summer semester had just come to a close, I was In lay-off status, so I was at home all day with T.D. I was at my parent’s house with T.D. when they got the call. Apparently, my grandmother had called my aunt (Abby) at work hysterically begging her to come home. In turn, AB calls the Rents and asks them to stay with GiGi for the remainder of her work day because she couldn’t stay. So, naturally, they rushed off.
That’s when Abby finally revealed to the rest of the family that GiGi has been mentally deteriorating badly. We had suspected as much when another aunt (Accy) flew in from California at the beginning of the year for a visit but didn’t leave for two months. But all potentially embarrassing information is provided on a need-to-know basis. You know, because the potential of senility is really mortifying. Especially when it is presenting with hallucinations and delusions. But, in my family it is more important to save face than to admit it, and go to the doctor.
This afternoon visit turned into daily eldersitting, which turned into my mother accompanying GiGi to doctor’s appointments. Eventually, they ended up at a geriatric doctor who handed down the diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. In short, GiGi had been suffering from a combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’s for over six months. At least, those are the six months that we know about.
Last week, I got called back to start work today. I asked my mother if she was watching Trent. I pressed the issue and all I got was a pathetic, “I don’t know, I don’t know!”. When I pressed some more, she gave a lofty sigh and said, “I guess I’ll have to work it out.”
Today came. It got around 11AM and I figured that I would call since I hadn’t heard anything.
I asked, “So what’s the plan?”.
She replied, “What plan?”
I said, “To watch T.D.”
She answered indignantly, “I don’t know what you me to do.”
I tried to keep the peace. I calmly said, “I have to go to work. I have professional training that I cannot miss.”
She let out another sigh. I heard her ask my father in the background, “Would you be OK with watching T.D. today?”. He easily agreed. She continued, “He’ll look after him through Friday but I don’t know what do after that. We could get Accy to fly out but it won’t be until the end of the month at the earliest.””
“Mom,” I said, “you and Abby need to start facing facts. GiGi isn’t going to get better. Something has to happen here.”
She snarled, “That’s my mother and your grandmother you’re talking about.”.
“Fine, I’ll have him ready for Dad at 2:15. Bye.”
I was ready to explode. How dare she put me in that position?! I asked her for a whole week if she could do it. And she was backing out at the last minute, claiming that I couldn’t care less for GiGi, because I was selfishly shoving my kid on her so that I could have a job. The same woman who complained for the last month that she was the only child that had to bear this burden after GiGi had treated her like garbage throughout her entire life.
It wasn’t about that. I could have worked something out last week! I absolutely cannot miss these seminars and trainings. My job hangs in the balance. And I can’t afford to quick my job; we depend on that income.
I took the reins. I called friends and made arrangements. I was still enraged, so I took it upon myself to have another conversation with her.
I growled, “After Friday, you won’t have to worry about T.D. anymore. I have that covered. So don’t you worry about it being your problem.”
She responded, in her most innocent voice, “I told you that I couldn’t.”
“No! You went on and on for a month saying, (in a whiny voice)’I don’t know, I don’t know.’! And then you screw me at the last possible minute! I could have worked this out last week! I have to work! You seem to think that with two working adults in this house that we’re rolling in the cash! Guess what?! We’re broke! We can’t afford for me not to work! And guess what?!
Eventually, you are going to be stuck spoon feeding GiGi and changing her spoiled diapers. Enjoy turning a blind eye to the future, and patronizing everyone, because she isn’t going to get better! I hope you’re happy!
I’ll call Dad later. Bye.”
She deserved it. It was a long time coming. She stood by and watched as my father physically and emotionally absued me. She knew I was cutting for two years and turned a blind eye until the school got involved. She would get belligerently drunk and instigate fights with me. She got drunk the night of my homecoming dance. She didn’t bother to stop my dad from kicking me out because I got a tongue piercing. She got drunk the day of my 18th birthday party that she made my Dad drag me to and then told the whole family what a horrible daughter I was. She made a circus out of my wedding. She hid the fact that I got pregnant three months before my wedding. She outright refused to throw me a baby shower.
I thought I could forgive her for all of that. It was a long time ago. But every new knock brings up those terrible memories.
Do you know the last time she hugged me or told me that she loved me? Right after my blood pressure tanked when I was having T.D., almost three years ago.
Today, she acted like she bought T.D. a toy and Wendy’s. What bull. She didn’t get back until six. I knew it was Dad who took him out today. She told C.S. this when he picked him up. Because, I refuse to be within 50 yards of her. I want nothing to do with her. And after Friday, I won’t have to.