Monday, July 22, 2013

What's Better Not Said

You see, it's like this. When my mother had a stroke, and asked to be taken off IV fluids to die, but then changed her mind, and lived for nine more months, nine months during which she said and did such insanely awful things, things we could put down to the effects of the stroke on her personality, but maybe we couldn't, who could say?, and in any event the wounds she inflicted were so deep and painful we were incapable of using logic to treat them, and she scared her grandchildren, and got herself voted the most devious and manipulative patient that the staff of one nursing home had ever seen --

That? That is something I'm trying really hard to forget. So when a relative calls and says she feels like she had no closure when my mother was dying, because no one told her what was going on, and no one thought to call her (that 'no one' being me), I understand her pain, I do, but when she adds that she wants (needs) me to tell her what happened during those last nine months of my mother's life, and I open my mouth to oblige her, but the words won't voice themselves, not because there are too few but too many, well, that shit is hard.

I could tell her that I nearly went crazy myself. I could tell her that my mother told me I was no kind of daughter at all because I wouldn't take her out of the nursing home. I could tell her that on Christmas my children watched, mouths agape, as my mother crawled on the carpet of her room and screamed, "If you won't get me out of here, Sarah, I'll just have to do it myself!" I could tell her that my family was forced to make a choice between having both my mother's legs amputated and letting her die, and that I continue to be wracked with guilt for choosing the latter. I could tell her about having to wipe my mother's bottom. I could tell her what my mother looked like less than one hour after her death. I could tell her any or all of that.

I could. But I don't want to.


moplans said...

And you don't have to. You shouldn't have to feel you need to relive that.
I am wondering why she asked you.

Karen Bayne said...

All that and also? She has broken the golden rule of the concentric circles of things that suck (the title of that article was much better than what I can remember) ....the person closest to the tragedy gets the sympathy from those further out. As the niece of the deceased, she gets nada from you (the daughter of the deceased). She needs to get sympathy from her circle of friends/spouse/therapist/rabbi.

What she needs to offer you is sympathy and support, not neediness. Sorry, but she is just plan wrong to even ask anything of you.

Sarah said...

Karen: Actually, she's a cousin of my mother's. She's a nice person, though.

Patois42 said...

Many times, it is better not to know. And if that doesn't get her to back off, the link here should.

V-Grrrl said...

What horror. I think I'd just tell the truth in a sentence: "Those nine months were nightmarish for my mother and my family and I don't want to revisit them."

Mary Gilmour said...

What V-grrl said! Don't lift the scab. I can't get the last day of my mother's life and how she was out of my mind and I beat myself up over it over and over. And she was a piece of cake compared to what you had to do. Refer the cousin to your blog, if she must know this stuff.
Sympathy going in.

Christine said...

Is she someone you feel comfortable referring to this post? Because this says so much and would help her understand how painful and raw this is.


Magpie said...

oh honey.