Thursday, October 30, 2008

old shoes

yesterday i spent part of the day with my mother. lately it's become increasing difficult for me to visit with her. i find that i am no longer comfortable making small talk. i just ask her what she needs, because she always needs. making only a minimal effort, doing only a fraction of what i use to do for her. i just don't have it in me any longer to take care of her.

morally i am conflicted by this. i want to take care of her. just because she was a horrible mother doesn't mean i have to be a horrible daughter. children are suppose to take care of their parents in the latter part of their lives. it's part of the life cycle. but she's only 65. she's to young to be this old.

God help me.
i can't get past it. i can't get over it. i can't go around it. it's just there, like the berlin wall, it needs to come down. i don't know what to say to her or how to say it. am i bold enough to speak the ugly truth.

she has never accepted any responsibility for my childhood abuse. because she was a battered wife, brutally abused by her husband, she classified herself as a victim. i remember having conversations with her when i was a small child, trying to comfort her, telling her not to worry, when i grew up, i would take care of her.

now my mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer's.
now that she honestly and truly needs me to take care of her, i just don't think i can do it.

it would be okay if she was only remembering her life, her childhood memories, but she is not.
she's like a walking detonator, every time she opens her mouth, she sets off an emotional bomb inside of me.

i survived my childhood, you know. i lived through it. i was proud of myself for that. no matter what was said or what was done to break me, i survived and i didn't break.

i grew up, i got married and raised my children the way i wanted to be raised. and i'd have given up my life and my soul to protect my babies, my beautiful children, anything to provide them with a happy, healthy, abuse free environment to grow up in.

isn't it basic human nature to want to provide better for your children than what was provided for you?

now, here i sit, staring into my mother's glazed eyes, with her child-like expression, flashing back to the past, and worrying about the near future. Her mind will slowly fade away. if i don't ask my questions now i'll never be able to. i doubt she will be honest. it's not in her nature to accept responsibility for the choices she has made.

for my entire life i could hear her voice ringing in my ears, "don't judge, put yourself in my shoes..."

so here i am, just like a good little girl, sifting through the dust and debris, searching that closet full of skeletons for my mother's old shoes.

i wonder if she ever thought to try on a pair of my sister's or mine?

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