The End.

My mom seemed a little “off” on Thanksgiving…maybe a little more tired than most other times I’d seen her recently. She’d been doing the withdrawal thing for some time leading up to that night…resigning herself to the death that has been chasing her since this time last year. Her spark had been low and she didn’t eat much on Turkey Day. That was the last time I saw my mom.

She must’ve had the stroke sometime after we all left her for the night…
Now, she just lays in her bed at the hospital, no signs of life besides her breathing. She sometimes responds to a question or comment, but mostly, she just lies there starring at a spot on the ceiling.

She has a low-grade fever every night, further damaging what brain cells that have managed to spare themselves from destruction throughout everything. The doctors say that the stroke was caused by her brain mets (her most recent PET scan showed several very small tumors in the frontal lobe above her eyes); they say that is the root cause of the lasting delirium and confusion also.

The full sentences that she manages to get out make no sense at all and range from topics like horse racing to stigmata (not a single topic being anything familiar or realistic). Sometime during the first week of this hospitalization, she blurted out pretty loudly and clearly

“I don’t wanna be part of this two-bit town!”

She also has a recurring theme of horses and sweeping out the garbage into a trash bag or sometimes into a pile, depending on who she is talking to. My Grandma Joey is “visiting her” regularly, despite the fact that my Grandma has been dead for almost 6 years now. My great grandma T left the reservation to come lay hands on my mom (an ominous act if ever there was one), but my mother didn’t recognize her and became agitated and uncomfortable with the presence of my Uncle Horse.

This goes on since the morning  after Turkey Day…no change for better or worse although I can read between the lines that this is likely the wrap up for the bitter end of my mom’s fight with Cancer.

Clingy.

When you aren’t available, the world feels hollow.
I can only pray to nobody and nothing that you haven’t left me behind yet.
After all these years, no grip of mine is tighter than this desperate clinging to you.

It Hurts.

me n mama 2017

“Watching your mother tortuously and slowly sink into the grips of death is equal to that of existing on a daily basis without being able to make anything at all better for someone who has always found a way to make things better for me.”

Guess Who Has Resurfaced?

…For now, at least.

And, I will not squawk at a single thing about her mental return, no matter it’s duration. Gods, it is just so fucking good to see my REAL mom again, after the last few weeks of her  degenerative Living Hell. I honestly believed that I would never get to talk with her all about the traumatic events that have led us here; I was sure we’d never be able to sit and sift through the details that ended with the horrid, 5-day-long brain seizure that she endured right under my nose; I was certain that I would never know why and how it all went to shit so fast for her after her diagnosis…I had prepared myself for the reality that my REAL mama died recently, and what I had in her place was the “New Mom”.

(Didn’t I say that there was definitely something besides depression, fatigue, side-effects of chemo or simply late stage cancer happening to my mama?)

The rest of her once: thick, long, widely admired, randomly touched by friends and strangers, alike “dirty dishwater blonde” hair had fallen out while she was in delirium; and she was not happy at all. A few fruit cups and an whole milk cappuccino later, she was directing me through her bureau to find her new t-shirt. It’s  a shirt I bought her when her chemo started last month; though she didn’t find it amusing, much less wore it. She sported it tonight with her bald head and nose hose as I wheeled her around the grounds of the rehab center in the pouring rain, with the song ‘Whose Crying Now?’ by Journey (her all-time favorite band) playing in her lap. She was totally alert and full of her normal piss and vinegar tonight. I loved every minute of it. It was a gods damned good night.

Delay.

FOREWORD:

They say that the delirium is late-stage cancer – nothing more. Perhaps it is, I can’t say at this point. What I can say is that the delirious woman is still my mom; is still worthy of my love and support; is still a person who I love very much, suffering…dying.

baby-of-mine-dumbo-o.gif


Let me tell you a short (though, repetitive) story; one I have come to know by heart without consciously trying…one that plays itself out through each and every nightmare I have if I am lucky enough to fall asleep deeply enough…one that has come to define each and every “visit” I get with my mama, anymore:

The Bedpan: It is an inevitable circumstance, no matter where mama is.

In whichever facility that she is hospitalized, she is bedridden and increasingly unable to move without severe pain. She, therefor, has been reduced to a bedpan or commode when she is lucid, or, a fucking adult diaper, otherwise.

In her lucid times, the diaper must come off, else she have a massive coronary. During these interim of semi-coherence for her, is the perpetually running song and dance of trying to go to the bathroom. My mother is on diuretics for edema in her legs at present, and therefor has to pee like every 15-20 minutes no matter which state she is in…a detail that seems to define every moment that I spend with her anymore: the horrid revolving door of trying to get a fucking bedpan in time.

The orderlies and nurses are slow as molasses in any setting we have been; they seem to take pleasure in the circumstance of making my mama wait until she can’t hold it any longer, and a mess ensues, without fail.

Then, there I am: frustrated beyond words with the staff for letting this happen AGAIN; and there’s mama: so broken down and defeated by the humbling experience that she’s enduring, she just cries while I clean her up. Each and every time this occurs, it sinks my mama lower into her resignation to death and departure. Each time she cries, it does something to me that I can’t yet find the words to express accurately, but I can say with certainty that her tears in this context make me want to seriously hurt someone, or worse.

As a result of this hideous cycle of requests for basic assistance, delayed responses, messes to clean up, and mama’s subsequent withdrawal further into darkness, I have begun to absolutely dread going to see my dying mother at all.

bambi.gif

 

Wrinkled Brow.

Since your lights went out and lost their’ shine,

when you looked in through these eyes of mine,

and you shed many tears, said thoughtful goodbyes,

and I choked up when you’d start to apologize;

you are so far gone from my reach these days,

you just can’t climb on to the words I say,

they just float along in a blur past your face,

while you try to be strong for everyone’s sake,

doesn’t make you less strong if you’ve given your best,

let it go, give your tired body some overdue rest,

just know: I’ll be here to clean up any mess,

un-wrinkle your brow Mama, try not to stress.

Sinking.


“Don’t go out anywhere tomorrow…it’s supposed to rain enough to flood up in the mountains all day, a storm’s comin’ down tomorrow, put off whatever you gotta do until Friday, Hon; we’re planning to stay in and hole up for the day, ourselves.”

Those were the words my mama said to me (the “we” referring to my stepdad and her) as we parted ways on Wednesday afternoon. A storm came down, alright.

Yesterday was the very first day since my mom was diagnosed with cancer that I actually let her be the whole day, thinking she was snuggled in a blanket at home, watching reruns of Bonanza…I got the call at 8pm last night, mom was being taken via ambulance from her house to the hospital; she was unresponsive and burning up. My stepdad thought she was sleeping all day (he likely slept in the TV room in his recliner most of the day as well, as he has been exhausted in every way by everything just as much as any of us)…I don’t know exactly how it all went down but the summary is that by the time her found her essentially unresponsive and incoherent, her fever had likely already caused brain damage, at 104 degrees.

When I arrived at the hospital and saw her, I was overcome with so many different feelings of dread and guilt and disbelief and pity and mercy and various others, too. I have never seen my mama anywhere near so ill, so lost and childlike, scared…I don’t think I have ever seen my mom scared like that before, nor even imagined that she was capable of such fearfulness. My mama has a combative spirit; she is a Taurus; she is the spazz drummer of the band, she is strong-willed and hard-headed…I’ve seen her scrap in the street, I’ve seen her drunk and high, I have seen her in the grips of schizophrenic delusions and paranoia, I have seen her through each and every one of her 6 joint replacement surgeries (and the subsequent recoveries, more notably)…but last night…

It was as if I walked to into a nightmare straight from the warped perceptions of my childhood subconscious; she was so hot to the touch; at one point, she was trying to leave the bed over and over. Once she somewhat came around the first time, she was very angry and completely confused. She couldn’t focus her eyes but she never blinked either; she just stared at the ceiling with her arms crossed, shivering and mumbling things I couldn’t make out. Finally, they had to give her Haldol because she was becoming so out of control in her fever’s rage; eventually they got her to sleep and her fever went down. But the aftermath of that shit has a long life and she hasn’t been able to swim back to the surface like she would have under better circumstances i.e. without the fever’s toll on her brain and the presence of terminal cancer, to name a couple. Upon her transfer to her own hospital however, her BP dropped suddenly and they still haven’t gotten it up without heavy medication. Since her arrival to the ICU, it has been one issue after another with her body and its ability to fight this off, not to mention, her inability to understand what is happening and in turn, the anger and fearfulness. They aren’t sure of the level of damage her brain has endured during the fever and the effects of the drugs they have given he, everything is really touch and go still, she is not well though, she barely hanging in, just barely.

Relief.

I noticed it the instant she arrived this morning; and walked through my front door on her own: no struggling for breath, no panicked look on her rosy-cheeked face, no coughing…

I smiled bigger than I have dared in weeks at her as she shuffled past me in the entryway for a cup of coffee (she used to love my coffee, but hasn’t wanted any for a long time now). My smile was immediately reciprocated; and my heart warmed me down to my toes at that. I don’t know when she last genuinely smiled at me before today, but I do know it was too long ago.

As I sat down beside her at my kitchen table, and said something like,

 

“Well, well…look who wants coffee again and seems to be feeling a little better…”

 I saw it; the lump on her neck that was the cause for her diagnosis with terminal cancer; or shall I say, the lack of the lump, altogether. It has become invisible to the naked eye since yesterday, somehow, amazingly. Anyway, I am not deluding myself about her survival or anything; I am just SO VERY HAPPY TO SEE HER GETTING SOME RELIEF from the constant inability to breath or stop coughing…so very happy. Today was a throwback for me of my healthy Mama, who smiles and drinks coffee.

 

Staggering Cruelty.

Yesterday, I was called “so cruel” as to be “staggering to the mind” of the person who chose to voice such a mean-spirited thing to me right now. I was called cruel because I carved out the next few days completely for my mom; so that I will not have to worry about juggling or racing around to fulfill commitments I’ve made to anybody besides my mom. Upon being called cruel in this context yesterday, I realized something quite clearly:

If being with my mother as she lives out the end of her life equates to my own cruelty towards a single person other than her, so fucking be it. I have dread this circumstance for my entire existence, and it has finally come to meet me, to take her away forever. I may be a self-absorbed bitch for ignoring any and all of my other connections to other human beings at present, but that’s the way my crumbly cookie has fallen apart

I am 110% pre-occupied with my mom’s situation, and if that is abnormal – – – shoot me; and then, go fuck yourself real good.

Lump.

Last weekend, my Mother called me up and said she needed to come over so I could look at her neck (as if I am some kind of professional on mysterious growths, or something). She arrived earlier than she said she would, as she tends to do these days, a look of sheer terror on her face. Upon looking at her neck, I was immediately concerned, as she has grown a notably large lump on the lower right side of her neck, near the collarbone. We obviously didn’t talk much about it, and she proceeded to make an appointment for a biopsy; that appointment is today. I will be driving her to this appointment today because she asked me to; and in all honesty, I feel like I wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world.

 

Anyone who reads me, knows about my deeply embedded Mommy Issues that reside within my heart and mind, stemming from childhood and very much alive and well to date. A few months ago, I decided that because the Holidays are so incredibly horrendous and ugly for me, and because they are so extremely difficult to get myself through alive each year, that I will do something different this year. I basically feel tired of spending my holidays alone, in the fetal position underneath the dining table, in tears, beating myself to an emotional pulp through with guilt and regret and failure. I have written also about the Hell that my offspring is currently putting my parents through, resultant of their own enabling behaviors towards her throughout her life. My mom claims to feel like a hostage in her own home etc. Needless to say, I can totally relate to what she says in regard to my daughter; I have so been there with her in the past as well.

So, in a moment of frozen brain capacity, I said to Willow:

“Let’s start a new tradition this year for Christmas, just you ‘n me…”,

completely expecting her to laugh in my face at such a proposal.

 

When she actually showed interest in my idea, and I explained to her what I had in mind for my own part (a quiet, peaceful, nostalgic, quaint Bed ‘n Breakfast in the heart of Gold Country for Christmas Eve and Christmas), she was so excited and intrigued that she actually asked me to take her online for a virtual tour (she hates the internet and anything even remotely associated with it), which I did. We have, since that time, hammered out every minute detail of our upcoming holiday excursion together; and I must say that it feels like it has been a healthy form of bonding, somehow. I even got her a snow suit and boots that she already wears at night when she goes outside in the cold to smoke and play Mahjong until 0-dark-thirty, it’s cute. And in all truth, this year’s holiday feels much less painful already, as a result of the above described circumstance.

 

I am cursing the Gods for even putting that lump on Willow’s neck, whatever it may turn out to be; and I am secretly terrified by the possibility of losing my mother now, at this stage of things in my own Life (or lack, thereof). When I was still very actively suicidal (the state of my being upon starting my blog in the first place), Willow used to guilt-trip me into Life often. She would say things like,

 

“If you love your Mama at all, you won’t leave me in the wake of another lost child…”

or

 “What would happen to me if you killed yourself?”

 

Naturally, being the empath that I am, these statements always struck that chord in me that connects somehow directly to my dead little brother (who committed suicide very young); and the reality of such things would always anchor me once more to Life. I know she wasn’t even necessarily trying to save me from death, but she did. When I think about the prospect of her being gone after all those times of refraining from suicide simply to avoid destroying Willow the rest of the way, as her daughter and then I think about being left behind in the end, after all, well….my abandonment issues flare up and I become semi-manic.

 

A Strongly Opposing Inability.

It’s true:

I am a precariously teetering creature; fragile, on the edge between the ability to cope and survive, and a strongly opposing inability.

_

 

I’m good at allowing people to assume that I am “normal”;

I don’t know how to reach out to others for comfort or support;

I was born anti-social, and Life’s experiences have only hammered this trait irretrievably deep into my being, in turn;

I am honestly not sure how long anyone can make it in Life behind a facade before finally just coming undone;

I have realized that I am running on empty – and have been for some time now – and am puzzled in stomach-wrenching way by the fact that I haven’t sputtered and died out yet.

_

 

Here I was all this time, thinking I had things pretty much in order; in terms of the emotional handling of recent and life-altering circumstances and the associated outcomes, at least. My seasoned readers know about the struggle with my kid, how it’s been so long-standing and draining yadda yadda yadda. To the point where it is all just so incredibly bad and dark and regrettable that I have detached myself totally from it all out of sheer necessity. Do not get me wrong, it has been HELL; but it has been something that I have been “dealing with”, even if that means detaching myself (from a situation that I hold zero control over anyway). I have also written lots about my mother; about the lifelong boxing match (I mean this emotionally, more than physically, but she is a psychopath who likes to scrap, too) between us. I have also described the unfolding ugliness surrounding the relationships between my kid and my parents these days, as my daughter has pretty much taken over control of their household and rules with thievery, destruction and chaos; I have written about my need to break away from the never-ending toxicity and generalized unease that is naturally and unfailingly attached to any dealings with any of them.

I haven’t been in contact with my daughter at all; which has been surprisingly easier this time than ever before because she disgusts and shames me on a whole new level. I have been trying to maintain some semblance of a relationship with my mother throughout, however, which I have already admitted here as being a stupid idea, and one that is counterproductive to my emotional status. I love my mother, in spite of myself; and genuinely long for closeness with her – the one that she has dangled in periphery all my Life. I am willing to bend for her; I am open to trying, but she is just so seemingly set permanently in her unhealthy and dishonest ways that it has begun to feel futile. I have straight out told my mother that I desire “no-contact” with my kid; and she always puts on this song and dance about how she totally gets it and is proud of me for being able to take care of myself, to put my foot down, etcetera. She plays as if she is totally in my corner to my face every single time, without fail; but is totally being a Fatmouth.

She sings a different song to other people; many have said this to me over the course of the living nightmare with my kid for the last ten years or so. She thinks my own brother (who does not sit there and let her badmouth me without defending me in outright defiance, for the record) won’t be so angry that he won’t tell me about it afterward, which is just mind boggling to me. In such instances, there are typically other family members present to witness what will ultimately become argument between them; my mother doesn’t even consider that any of those people might foster any relationship with me strong enough to warrant a bite to her tongue, either. She vows secrecy over touchy issues and then turns around and tells the very secret thing to the very person who wasn’t meant to be told. When confronted by the secret teller, she plays the ol’ “oh, I wasn’t supposed to tell them….? I didn’t realize you didn’t want me to tell them…” o convincingly that the only options you’re left with is to bludgeon her to death with clawhammer or just suck it up and move on. I realize more and more daily how toxic she is, even when she isn’t trying to be. She is toxic to me, at least. And, the reason behind her seemingly “exceptional” relationship with my kid is suddenly blatantly clear to me as well:

Of course they share a closeness that neither one has with me…they are so similar and alike in personality and behavior that it could be no other way!!!

 

I know what I need to do, like…for real; doing it will be the part worth mentioning in the future.

Sordid Queen.

All along, you’ve been,

the perfected example of,

a fair-weather friend,

a swiping white glove,

every time and again,

deprived me of your Love,

you’d reel me right in,

then forget who I was,

mistress of my chagrin,

destroyer of my trust;

Somehow, over the years,

I’ve carved a space for you,

you’ve become fully endeared,

by the darkness you bore me into,

captured in buckets of tears,

the pains I associate with you,

you’d flicker and disappear,

I just wanted you to approve,

dagger-fanged in my nightmares,

destroyer of my youth.

Plaster Hand.

I have this plaster hand…
Likened to yours;
Hanging above the kitchen door…
The one we made so long ago…
On Christmas Eve Day, just bored…
I have a poem written…
By your tiny hand;
As tiny as the one that hangs…
Above the kitchen door frame…
It says “Mommy I Love You”…
And the Gods help me…
If when I pass it by, I don’t hear the words…
In a sigh, a whispering…
I keep a tiny, silver jewelry box…
The one you saved up for;
Inscribed across the dusty top …
Is chiseled in, beautifully:
“I Love You Mommy”…
And Mommy dies a little more…
I have all these haunting memories…
Of having future plans;
Fulfilling hopes and dreams…
Just you and I surviving…
Getting back up to stand…
I saved these Christmas things…
Yours and mine;
Stored away like a box to mourn…
Every year, when it’s opened again…
And looks the same…
As the years before…
I held on to your special ornaments…
All of them;
Though I never hang them high…
I never get a tree anymore…
I see no reason why…
But I keep these things…
To remind myself…
Of the twinkle lost to my eye…
I held on to so many things…
Of yours;
Desperately trying…
To keep you somehow, near…
Closer at least…
Than wherever you are…
I have this little butterfly wing…
You brought home;
You flew it behind you like a kite…
A colorful ghost that chased you…
Right out of second grade…
I find these notes you wrote…
To me; To Mommy;
They read your apologies…
For spilling toothpaste on the rug…
And I want to come find you wherever you are…
And tell you that rug never mattered to me.

Curse the skies.

I’ve realized something within the past few weeks that feels like it changes nothing and everything all at once; I realize that the only reason I cling so desperately and miserably to any semblance of a relationship with my mother is because it’s all I have left. Without the ongoing disinformation that I feed myself regarding the likelihood of ever finding a fulfilling medium there, with her, my entire existence easily crumbles beneath me. The past and the future feel irrelevant; and the present moment is simply void of any true meaning or worth.

My good parent (my Dad) is long gone, curse the skies; my Papa too…and so went any ties to that line for me. I still technically have my brothers; but we are all grown up now and supposed to be separate, with our separate families…and, they each are, at least. I don’t begrudge them for it, either; and I am allowed into the warmth of each one’s circle occasionally, to thaw the frozenness in me enough to keep going. Sometimes, I feel bitter and very isolated upon leaving my brother’s house. My remaining full blood brother doesn’t speak to our mother when he can help it because he has the fulfillment of his wife’s huge and seemingly happy family to supplement. It was with him last week that I was having what seemed a trivial enough discussion, when our mother came up in conversation, and he said:

I try to avoid talking to Mom as much as I can; she makes me sick actually, to be honest…”

Coming from the guy who has always been on her side through the many years of turmoil and chaos between she and I, this struck me like a lightning bolt. I guess in a sense, it was validating on the one hand (as I feel like I have spent the better portion of my life in trying to make my brothers understand how totally fucked up and warped she can be), but damning on the other hand, somehow. I have been holding things together between myself and my mother through the catalyst of this specific brother for quite a while now, and without him between us anymore, there’s nothing at all.

My mother and step-dad continue to allow themselves to be used and abused by that evil Spawn of Satan that I bore almost 19 years ago. Apparently, both Boo and her no-good “boyfriend” still dominate the household over there. They made the choice to permit such bullshit, and so it goes. Boo’s 19th birthday is next week; and I am determined to let the day pass like any other day. I have not bought her a gift and do not intend to; as anything I have ever spent my money on for her gets immediately traded for drugs or given away to one of her stupid drug-addict, hooker “friends”. I don’t know how else to describe it, besides to say that I feel like I have given absolutely everything I have to give to that creature already. I simply have nothing left for her.

I will be honest with myself and say that I truly regret her; I truly dislike her; I truly want nothing more than to forget her completely – she has drained my life of so much of what’s important. She has spent everything within me already; the experience of being her mother has emptied me to my toes. I guess the combination of such an outcome for me, mixed with the perpetually deepening hollow in my heart and soul as a damaged and broken human being leaves me this way, feeling this way. Helplessness might begin to describe some of it; embitterment covers large portions of it; but emptiness pretty much buttons it up.