hit the road jack

not as in the song but an upcoming trip.

Taking the long way to Florida and along the way going to visit the folks, do some paper work for them, and spend two days in the hell that is my family.
No hate mail from my little hater please, I’m fine with my lack of endearing love for my parents. You worry about your’s, I’ll pretend to like mine.

I’m dreading this trip. I’m supposed to be there now but plans got changed. My mother has Alzheimers. That’s not the reason for my lack of affection for them, it just adds to the guilt I carry around. She isn’t a confused “gee I forgot” kind of sufferer, she’s gone the surly and rude route instead. That’s tough to handle. She was already trying to cope with going blind and this double whammy makes life there even rougher. My Father muddles through okay. My brother, aka the big fat wussy, copes by pretending everything’s fine. That’s his approach to anything he wants to avoid handling. She assists him by going from nasty to sweet whenever she hears his voice. I almost think I have the better bit of Mom. She may be rude to me but I know the reality and accept it. He doesn’t.

Her latest trick is to hang up on me when I call her. Then she turns around and complains that I never call. Luckily one of the few pieces of modern technology my Father has mastered is the caller ID box on their phone.
Now I know this disease has touched many lives and I know some of you are shaking your heads in agreement or thinking you know how I feel. I hope you do not because watching a good parent, a beloved parent go through these stages must be devastating but trying to cope with a bad parent going through it is a brand spankin’ new kind of hell. When it came to the parent lottery the odds were not in my favor…twice. Birth parents and adoptive it’s a crap sandwich no matter how you slice it and how many potato chips you serve with it.

And that’s fine, no one promised life was a rose garden so a little manure is to be expected. But honoring one’s Mother and Father is tough when one’s Mother and Father aren’t honorable. And just as I finally put my past behind me and stood tall-ish and secure in who I am…. bam! This happens and all the sudden the people I had the courage to turn partially away from I need to not only deal with regularly but I need to have compassion and forgiveness for. How’s that for a dilemma?

My faith in God is strong but my support system is weak. I have always struggled with my in-grown need to do what’s right so it took me forty six years to finally reach a point where I could remove my limb from the family tree and now I must graft it back on and knowingly and willingly face a barrage of venom and hate from a woman I have a tough time even liking let alone loving. I know what’s right and I know what to do but it’s going to be painful and it’s going to chip away at me and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

So, aren’t you glad you asked where I’ve been and why I’m not writing?
that’ll teach you…. I plan to write as I go and maybe someone out there will nod along and say “yeah I understand” or maybe you won’t but this is real and my blog’s always been about my life so here it is, it ain’t purty and it ain’t perfect but it’s mine and it’s the only one I’ve got.

3 comments on “hit the road jack

  1. Tia-does sound like a no-win situation and I’m sorry you have to go through it. I suppose the best thing is to make the visit as short as possible, do what you have to do, and then breeze down to Florida to recuperate. The “right thing” in this case may not be the right thing for you, that is being a dutiful daughter. I’d be pretty tempted myself in this situation not to get involved without some sort of guarantee of civility on your mother’s part. But that’s me, not you, and you have to handle it in your own way. Guilt can be pretty insidious, and a certain amount of detachment, if not indifference, seems pretty appropriate here.

  2. thank you Mr Toad, your words meant a lot when I read them. Guilt’s a funny thing, even when I know it shouldn’t be felt, it still is. I think it’s because of the thnigs that were hammered into my head at an early age. But while the guilt is something that took root then, so did my need to do what’s right. So I’ll do what’s right and try not to let the guilt stoop me over too much 🙂

  3. Good luck with everything and I hope things go better than you expect. When you return home I suggest some “binge clothes shopping” or some other treat! Be nice to yourself, you deserve it. It’s obvious from this post that you’re a good person, trying to deal with a difficult situation a best as you can.

    You talk about “the guilt I carry around”. I have no idea why we are all so good at ‘encouraging’ this emotion. It is so often misplaced, yet it persists in most of us. We would all clearly be much better off if we could replace it with something more useful! And the wicked ones who SHOULD feel guilty do not seem to have the ability to feel any form of guilt or shame whatsoever.

    Talking about guilt, the only Commandment which applies to parents is “Honour your father and mother” – which you are doing. It carefully skirts the issue of ‘loving’ your parents. I offer this in the hope that it eases your mind a little. Please don’t punish yourself in this way when you have enough to cope with as it is.

    And you know that “everything passes” – everything. We can’t hurt and hurt forever – one day it will end. Like grieving for a loved one, you think the pain will last forever – and then you wake up one morning and … it’s gone.

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