My mother broke her foot last March and when I say “broke her foot”, I don’t just mean one of the bones in her foot, nope …. she broke her foot completely off of her leg … not in a zombie dangling foot kind of way, but more in a both bones were completely not attached between her foot and her ankle. She didn’t get to come home until November … several hospital stays for various things plus 3 surgeries, plus months in a rehab facility and blah blah blah … 8 months later she came home.
My dad died in May, while mom was in the rehab facility and going to tell her was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Even harder than drug withdrawal. Even harder than jail. Even harder than raising five kids. The day we got the phone call about Daddy is somewhat of a blur, even though I remember it very clearly.
One of my siblings lives in California, where he’s been since 1996. One lives three hours away. The other lives about 40 minutes away, but has school aged kids and is very busy. So take a wild, hairy guess who things have fallen on … been dumped on … been heaped on.
You guessed it. Me and the Big D.
For months, I spent most of my lunch breaks and most of my evenings after work at the rehab facility. After Daddy died, I spent every single day trying to sort through paperwork for his retirement, life insurance, funeral, etc. For months and months, D and I spent every spare moment cleaning out their house (our rent house), because my dad was a severe hoarder and there was no way that mom could come home to that environment.
During all of this time, I’ve been bitter. Mad at the world for not having time to myself. Angry that I can’t have a moment of peace. Pissed smooth off that this was supposed to be our ice cream years now that the kids have all moved out. I would spend all of my time dreading the phone ringing, knowing it would be my mom wanting me to come over to do something for her. I was scheduling her meals, making sure her bills were paid, micromanaging her caregivers, and trying to keep a smile on her face.
Well last weekend, I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and itched all over … along with stomach issues and a horrific headache. I did not feel like leaving the house. She called. Then she called again. Then she called again. The last conversation turned crappy on my part, but it had to be done. She wanted me to come over and make her meals even though I felt bad, then she got mad when I called my son and asked if he could go do it instead. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Well evidently me finally deciding that I had had enough did the trick. Her attitude has changed … and so has mine. Yes, she’s my mother and I will help her however I can, but I’m allowed to have a life too AND she is going to have to learn to help herself.