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Friday, March 10, 2006

Another Day, Another Cuckoo Nest

I am overwhelmed by all the supportive comments and nice emails. Honestly, overwhelmed by how nice people are. I do read every single comment and every single email and I appreciate each and every one of them. I couldn't possibly respond to each one, but I thank you all.

This experience has been surreal. Thankfully I have my dark sense of humor to get me through.

Mother: "When I die (name of cousin) is getting my cat."

Me: "That's nice. He likes cats."

Mother: "You can not have my cat."

Me: "Fine."

Mother: "You can't have my cat. I already decided that (name of cousin) is getting him."

Me: "I do. not. want. your. cat."

Mother: "Why? Why don't you want my cat? He is a beautiful cat."

Me: "Do you want me to want your cat? Is that what you want?"

Mother: "You can't have him. Are you crying? I can hear you crying. You can't have him. He won't like you."

Me: "No, I was laughing, because I really do not want your cat."


Yesterday morning my mother was admitted to the psych ward at her local hospital.

I found out yesterday from my step sister that my mother also has an intestinal blockage. She was hospitalized for it at the end of December where she was told she needed surgery. She refused the surgery and left the hospital against medical advice. Her surgeon told her that without the surgery she will die.

Since that point in time she has basically stopped eating and drinking and has lost 50 pounds. In the past week she has resigned herself to die.

Wednesday when she wanted to talk to me it was because she felt like she would be dying soon. She wanted to make sure that I knew I was disinherited before she died.

The wedding thing throws me a bit, though I think now she was using the word wedding to mean funeral. She wanted to control how things would be after her death. One last stab at being controlling by trying to control how we all act after she is gone. Or was it just her last chance to make me feel bad and let me know what a disappointment I have been.

And I do feel bad. I feel bad for the life she chose for herself. I feel bad that she could never find true happiness. I feel bad that even during her darkest times she feels the need to drag me down. I just feel bad.


Last night I was sitting on the couch with my ten year old watching American Idol (yes we watch it, our dirty little secret) when a commercial came on for one of those wife swap shows.

"I would never want to be on that tv show." he had said.

"Yeah, me neither." I laughed, thinking of all the things my kids could be coaxed into saying about me. And also about all the emails I get from the producers of the show. Enough already, people! I will never ever agree to go on your show. My dignity has a much higher price tag than you can afford.

"There could never be a mom as nice as you." he said.

I looked at him and for a minute wondered if he was joking or being sarcastic.

"Do you really think that? Do you think I am a nice mom."

"Of course I do. I think you are the best." he answered looking at me, "Don't you think you are a good mom?"

I try, baby. God knows I try.


Things might still turn out different for my mother. I asked my step sister if we could get my mother declared incompetent and force her to have the surgery without her explicit consent. But that raises all sorts of ethical dilemmas that I am not sure I want to wrestle with.

Regardless, I know how it will play out now. She will never be the mother I wanted or needed. It is time for me to let go of that. She is what she is. We will never have a relationship other than the one we have right now. I'm okay with that, I think.

It's time to let go.


Blogger Gretchen said...

((hugs)) Chris. Though my father isn't as abusive as your mother, I find that I have to accept that same realization, that he will never be the father I needed or still need. (He doesn't call to say I'm disinherited or that he's disappointed in me, just to tell me how he's spending all his money on himself but can't afford Christmas presents because of "all those grandkids" so we get the shaft while he goes on a cruise to Tahiti) It sucks, and it ain't fair. God bless your son for coming up with that for you out of the blue. Perfect timing!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

It is a tough pill to swallow, realizing that we don't have the parents we desperately need/want. We can only change ourselves and pray for others.
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is more than sufficient in his care, love and patience. {{hugs}}

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Isn't it amazing how the love of our kids can help us cope? My son is perfect at knowing when I need a little boost and knowing just what to say when I need to hear it.

I know it's easy for a stranger to stand on the sidelines and tell you what you should do, but it's always so much more complex than that. I'm glad to hear you're coping and that you obviously have the World's Best Support System at home. Take care.

9:33 AM  
Blogger meredith said...

I am sorry that you had to grow up in that kind of craziness. Isn't it a wonderful thing that with our own children we have the opportunity to parent them in our own way and can make the decision to let go of the past.

9:45 AM  
Blogger speckledpup said...

I can never make sense out of what my mother is. What my brothers are...etc.

Here's what I tell myself in the mirror when I'm having a "daughter's guilt" moment. I am what I am because of how they are. You ARE a product of your raising. I am a better mother because of her bad example. I love unconditionally and without burden because I know what it feels like to be on the recieving end of the opposite.

If nothing else can be said, your mom, in spite of herself, has a wonderful daughter. Had she been different, you might be too.

Everything comes to pass. I wouldn't do anything to sustain a life she clearly doesn't want to sustain. Let her go with as much dignity as possible. It's all about treating her the way you would want to be treated, not what she deserves.

Hugs kid. I know it's hard.

9:49 AM  
Blogger owlhaven said...

Kids can be very healing, can't they? Hang in there...


10:14 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

good for you chris. you are one great woman to come from that and raise such fantastic children. you are the mother you deserved.

10:24 AM  
Blogger halloweenlover said...

How did he know that you needed to hear that?

Hugs to you Chris. I hope this works out soon. It sounds like an impossible decision, but I hope you have find peace in whatever decision you make.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Woman with kids said...

It can be so tough, not having the parents we needed. Hope you find peace.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

That is a great thing to discover, now you have all the power.

BTW, the wife swap people were after me to "swap" lives too. I don't think so.

10:53 AM  
Blogger T. said...

The letting go is the hardest part. Once you do that, moving on is fairly easy. I am sorry you have to endure a crappy mother. Take solace in knowing you broke that chain. Good for you and your kids!

10:59 AM  
Blogger Erin-erin-bo-berin said...

IT's wonderful that you have acknowleged that your momther never has been, nor will ever be the kind of mom that you need. I've done that with a member of my family (not my mother, thankfully), wrote the name on a slip of paper, slipped it into a ballon that I blew up and released to the wind. Now it's gone. All the disappointment, sadness, anger are gone!
My life began where you are now - simply admitting that to yourself.

Congratulations, too, on being a mother that is exactly what your children need. No one else's opinion counts. Just your sweet kids!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Chuck Pierce said...

Ok this is not right, but might make her happy. She obviously wants you to be mad that you are not getting anything, so tell her somthing you really really want. Give her the enjoyment of saying no.. hehe. My sence of humor is dark too..

Oh and WHY do they never ask Husbands about Wife Swaps. Cause I could be talked into anything... maybe...

11:23 AM  
Anonymous tammie said...

Hugs to you girl. It sounds like you have made the best decision for yourself.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cat thing is pretty funny.Like really extreme passive aggressive behaviour.

new subject...

So who is your favorite on AI?
We have a blog devoted to talking about the show.

And the wife swap thing...My husband watched it the other night because I had it on while cooking a late dinner. He was very interested when I told him that someone had contacted me about the show. I guess they are looking for large families.
He perked up especially when I mentioned the money!
I would never want to expose my kids to everything that would come if we did that show!
I don't think he grasps how many people would actually be IN your life.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Dana Glover said...

Listen to your son. He (and all your others) truly know you ... your Mom doesn't. Makes me sad though, 'cause my 4 yo told me the other day that I'm "mean too much". He even told my Mom that ... she asked him when I was mean. He told her "whenever I get in bad trouble". I guess kindergarten will be a nice break for him then. :)

11:42 AM  
Blogger Menjiness said...

So yesterday I posted with a HUGE headache and I think I misspelled almost ever word. I am not a crazy person. (Well that actually depends on who you ask) LOL. I was in extreme pain and you post touched me so much. So please forgive all my spelling errors.

You are an amazing woman. It is so hard when our parents who are suppose to be everything to us, disappoint us so much. You are a wonderful person. Your kids are what matters the most. You are doing the right thing and they are letting you know that. Keep your chin up.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous mummyv said...

it's impossible for parental crap like guilt and manipulation, not to mention good old fashioned neglect, to not bother you terribly. without getting into an "oprah" on a comment to a stranger, i really do understand what's happening with you, i go through the same here. and it's sh*t.... there isn't anything you can do it will forever hurt you, but as i've discovered by having a baby, you can help to heal some of the pain by the energy and love and attention you put into being a parent - something you're obviously doing now... oh, wait - you have seven kids? haven't you heard of birth control? don't you have a tv? ;)

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Xangelle said...

So sorry about all you're going through with your mother. It must be so hard.

Doesn't the comment by your son just make all the hard and trying times of a mother's life worth it. That was so sweet!

12:30 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh Chris, I'm so sorry you're having to go through all this. What an awful ethical dilemma, on top of dealing with all the abusive behaviour... Wow. Take care of yourself.

But that comment from your son made me cry. I'm so glad you got to hear that right now. Kids are wonderful!

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I just want to say how sorry I am that you're going through this. I am sorry.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Whinger said...

Total tears in my eyes for the adorable child's comment.

Carry on being a great mom.

1:12 PM  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

Letting go of our expectations of others is a real project sometimes. But...hey. Your son? The one who said such a beautiful and sweet thing and meant it? You raised him. Yay you! :-)

1:21 PM  
Blogger TBG said...

You are the best mom and you know what you have broken the cycle! BRAVO!

I am sorry your mother is not what you wanted or needed but you would not be who you are if it was not for how she treated you! You are you becuase of it as hard as that is!

You and your husband have created a fabulous family and you should be proud!

1:29 PM  
Blogger HangerMom said...

I'm so sorry at what you're going through with your mom. Children really can work miracles without trying though. How sweet your son is!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Oh Chris, I am so sorry. I don't get it, I can't fathom it, it hurts to think about.

Your kids are BEAUTIFUL and WONDERFUL and HAPPY and it cannot possibly be because you are a "selfish brat".

You are the mother your mother never was and you should be proud despite the fact that she cannot be.


2:16 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I am sorry your Mother was not there for you growing up or now.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Melissa L said...

I'm really sorry that you have to go through this. I have a similar situation with my mom and I can relate. Like you, I have become the mom I wanted and never had. You are a great mom, fun and funny!

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Listen to your son. Kids have the great ability to tell it like it is!!! ;)



5:58 PM  
Blogger rose said...

Nothing sucks more than realizing that you have to give up the dream of having the parent you wish you had.
It sucks to be the bigger person and to let it go.
Your courage in getting involved in your mother's insanity this week is awe inspiring. I don't think I would have been able to do it in your shoes.
I also think that my father is mentally ill. He has never been declared so. He is a pathalogical liar and I have come to the conclusion that the only way to not be lied to and to not be swindled is to not talk to him.
I still cry for the father I wish he had been. When he dies, I will cry because of that, not because the man he really is is gone.

Your children are living proof that you are a fantastic mom.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Franny said...

God Chris, I sympathize with you. The best choice I have made in my life so far, is to "let go" and face the fact that my mother will has never and will never be the mother I wanted her to be. The only thing that keeps me sane is knowing I have the power to be the mother I choose to be.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I can tell you, and this is from experience on the subject, that THE ONLY way you will feel remotely better, is to accept exactly what you said at the end of this post. I have had to accept the sad fact that no matter what I do, or say, or try and change, or make better, my mother WILL NOT change. I have just accepted this is her, and I have seperated myself from her. I cant stand the mental and emotional drama, its sooo exhausting! I would do something for her or change something in me, in hopes that SHE would change and become this mother that I have dreamed of and would just be different. Nope, not a fat chance. She will be the way she is until the day she dies. I really hope that YOU find your inner happiness, so that YOU will be ok in what lies ahead. Hang in there, you are an awesome mom. Have a good weekend.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ah Chris, I'm sorry. Just plain old sorry. Hug the kid (and tape him next time so you'll have proof he said it).

9:25 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

If you can get your mother declared incompetent I would do it. My mother - the depressive one who died when I was 14 - died because of an intestinal blockage she refused to get seen to. I found her dead on the toilet floor one morning. As much as it was a relief that both our suffering was over - it was a horrible, excrutiating way to die. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

It is so hard to forgive someone when they don't even realize, or won't admit, that they have hurt you so deeply.

I cannot even imagine what you are going through right now, but I'll be praying for you and your family.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Dawnkeywest said...

Chris, always remember to cherish the moment and never look back. The past cannot be changed and the future is always uncertain. The only thing we have any control over is the here and now. Your time with your Mom cannot be changed but you can have total awareness of the here and now with your own family, with your great husband and wonderful children! I had an unfortunate upbringing with my mother but we all need to let go of the past and live for today! You are a WONDERFUL mom and wife and remember, what you put out into the universe will always come back to you! You may not think it at the time but if you do the right thing and remain the better person, it will definately be returned to you.

1:08 AM  
Blogger The Daring One said...

Okay. Your top post is absolutely hilarious and I'm just getting around to reading a few blogs again after a few days' break to deal with my own life drama.

But it's nothing compared to this. I'm so sorry about your mom. You are likely the best thing to come from her life, despite her efforts to bring you down. Her illness and treatment of you have only made you a more empathetic person and a better mother to your children.

When you do go to her funeral, you can know that although she had a rough life and passed that on to you, her real legacy and yours will be your children who have been raised in a safe place with love and understanding. You rock and I will be thinking about you. I'm so sorry, Chris.

1:25 AM  
Blogger 4 girls and 3 boys said...

I felt much better once I realised my mother and my father were never going to be anything but who they are. We are never going to have a good relationship or any relationship other than the controlling abusive one they wanted which isn't happening anymore. I felt sad. I wondered how happy they will be at the end of their lives when they look back on all they missed out on cos of their manipulation and urge to control everyone but it isn't my problem anymore. How they treated me made me a better person. A better mum and a better wife. So in a twisted way things worked out.


1:26 PM  
Blogger Silly Old Bear said...

I'm sorry, Chris. I hope things work out somehow, someway.

And "reality" shows? No cameras in my house. No thanks. Unless they pay me a LOT.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

We dealt with these same issues with the woman who gave birth to my mother (I can't call her my grandmother) and it's absolutely heart wrenching. Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Maddy said...

10 year old boys are very clever and wouldn't lie about something as close to them as their mother. I know I have one too. You are a great person, mother, wife and blogger :)
In a way you have become the great person that you are because of, if not in spite of, the relationship you have with your mother, you can always take that from the relationship and love it.
My husband was brutally bashed by his father all through his childhood, he is now languishing in a nursing home following many strokes that have left him disabled in body but not in mind. My husband hates to go and see him and feels a lot of resentment towards his horrid childhood. One day I pointed out to my husband that he is a fantastic Dad, and he was surprised by this. He always presumed he would be like his own Dad, when in fact, he is NOTHING like him.
I don't think you have to take anything bad from your relationship with your mother, you have become a great mother because she was the way she was.
Geez that was all a bit heavy for a Sunday morning….. have a great weekend.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Chris, I'm sorry, I was sick for a while and missed all of this. I'm sorry that you are dealing with this.

Email me if you need a shoulder.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Sheryl said...

When your ten year old gives you an endorsement like that, it must be a salve to those wounds from your mom.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous tiddlywinks said...

holding your hand...

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Truly, we are all only doing the best we can with what we have. Try not to let your heart harden. thinking of you...

11:25 AM  
Blogger Ms. Mamma said...

There is 'something' comforting in the Zen of letting things be and accepting the situation. As mothers who love and cherish their children deeply, who know just how precious that relationship is no matter how we may gripe and kid, it is just so hard to reconcile where we actually came from, the fact that we lack this very bond with OUR parent(s). Maybe that is why some become exceptional parents, others just repeat the destructive pattern. The great mystery. Your chidlins' are very lucky to have such a wonderful, patient and kind mamma. His comment, enough to melt the coldest heart. Keep on truckin', Chris.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about your mother. I had a similar relationship with my father, and similar feelings towards him.

The good that comes out of this is not only do we learn what kind of impact our words & actions have on our kids, but I think most of us strive to be better, more loving parents, to boot.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

That must be very hard. I lost my dad to suicide. Almost seems about the same thing since she could have surgery and get better. Its hard to understand mental illnesses but they are just so real. My dad was 100 percent a different man when he died then the man I knew my whole life. That man had died and no one liked the man in his place and he didnt like anyone either. But you can get the surgery done. If she is in a psych ward then she can be considered imcompetant and will have to go. But sometimes its just better to let people go and end the suffering. Either way it hurts. I am sorry.

10:57 PM  
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