I’ll have a choice to make soon. Not today but soon. And as often seems to be the theme of my life, my choice is between crap and poop. Or poop with a side of crap? Or how about no poop perhaps, but an agonizing pain in my azz?
OK enough, understood I think.
I’ve been happily denying the existence of my mom and siblings, for quite some time now. Maybe not happily, but it was working for me to have them all in a mental storage box while I attend this intensive trauma recovery program to deal with the PTSD I have from growing up with them.
Then my brother texted that my mom is having surgery. No details. I didn’t ask for any but replied I hope it goes well. Because I did. I wish her no harm or suffering.
Update is that my brother called and said mom has cancer. Bad, stage 4, liver, colon, not sure what else cancer. They were unable to remove it during the surgery. She hasn’t told anyone, my brothers found out same day as me.
So I have a choice to make. Let me share some of my thoughts first.
This news doesn’t suddenly flood me with love or make me miss her. I guess I wish it did. Instead I feel the familiar hole, the dreaded emptiness where the love is supposed to be. And some guilt, for not feeling what I think I’m supposed to feel.
I want to do what’s the most right for everyone here. Ideally I’d have more time for my therapy before having to deal with this. But I’ll be fine. I’m having flashbacks and memories and swirling thoughts, but I’ll be fine. My new counselor seems to know what she’s doing. Let her earn her money! Here
Seriously though, I want to do what’s right for my kids. And for my mom. And for my brothers. In that order. My therapist says what about me? Oh…yeah, I wasn’t part of the pros and cons analysis. I never am. I don’t matter to me. She cocks her head and says hmmm knowingly and I thought she forgot about it until she assigned my homework today, which I’ll describe at the end of this.
For my kids, they know my mom but aren’t terrifically attached to her. Visits are always short, a bit uncomfortable, but not unpleasant. Other than our cats and a distant uncle, my kids have not witnessed sickness and death. I wouldn’t keep them from her if we were close, but it is unclear to me what to do with this awkwardness. I don’t want to teach them to avoid life’s difficulties. I want them to have a chance to say goodbye perhaps if they want to.
For my mom, I don’t hate her. She is toxic to me. I’m better with distance and boundaries. But I also understand her. She, unlike AF, is not purposely cruel. She had a tough lonely life. She’s done her best. I can understand some of her actions, especially when you know she was AFs first victim. But I don’t feel it gives her a free pass, not for all of it. I was open to the idea of slowly letting her back in my life. Eventually. After my therapy. But it looks like I may not have time for slow and eventually. And unlike AF, I don’t think I’m OK with her dying alone thinking her kids hate her. That feels cruel to me, and I’m not cruel. So even if it means nothing to her, I may have to take the chance that it does. I’m not talking about rejoining her life or helping with care or hospital visits. I’m thinking some gesture on neutral ground to reach out to her. Nothing grand, but big enough out of this vacuum we are in now.
For my brothers…well they are big boys. The one that lives with mom will need someone to care for him. It’s not me. I’m sure my oldest brother has a plan. He’s good that way. Let them rely on him. I can barely rely on me. Plus that’s the brother that molested me, not like I’m opening my home to him.
This is only some of my thoughts, feelings, concerns. It’s much more complicated of course. I’m getting tired though.
So the homework…my counselor wants me to keep a log. Not a journal, but a log to enter a quick title for which memories and flashbacks are getting stirred up right now. Taking the dysfunctional family mental storage box off the shelf has me shaken up and caused some distressing PTSD symptoms. Usually these memories are too overwhelming and I disassociate, distract, and ignore, then self harm. But with my new skills, I’m staying present, mostly, and aware. I’m feeling crap. I’m crying. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m ashamed. Then I cry again. Yay for my new skills, right? So much fun. Stupid skills.