Monday, November 5, 2007

The Invisible Girl

It is going to storm...or so it looks. I was taking the bags of leaves (there ended up being 8) out to the curb for pickup tomorrow and noticed that the lawn, again, is carpeted with maple leaves. The tree in the back still is covered with leaves. It is a never ending fall chore. One that I've always disliked and dislike even more now.

My father came over to visit before he took the drive out to Lansing to spend one last day with his brother. For the past couple of days I have been wanting to speak to him about a few things. Or even just talk. But when I talk, he isn't really listening. Too many "huh's" or "what's"...and then I tire of speaking at all.

Yesterday I spent the early part of the day at my brother in law's house. My son was begging to play with his cousin so we went. It is good to see my son having such a good time with his cousin (they have an entire room filled with Lego "bases" and they do mock missions). I was able to manage a semblance of conversation. My brother in law wants to "move on". However one does that. I understand-Leonard wasn't his every day, and hadn't been for a long time. I went out to Michael's (craft store) with my sister-in-law. She needed to buy some Thanksgiving crafty type things. I found a basked that perfectly matched our living room rug down the the shade of the I bought it...strictly so my sister in law had company...of course. I have no idea what I will do with it but it was 70% off.

After we left their house, I went over to my mother's house to see my aunt and uncle one last time. He wanted to take everyone out to dinner. He loves buffets (blech) so we ended up at "Old Country Buffet". They were busy and asked if we minded sitting back to back in two booths. I thought we would wait for a table, seeing as these are two people we don't get to see very often, but everyone else appeared fine with it. My mother sat with my aunt and my grandmother. I sat with my children and my uncle. It is hard to attempt to eat when one doesn't feel like it...and then being at a buffet...oy. My uncle ate enough to make it worthwhile and my son ate more than I have ever witnessed him eat in one sitting. While we were sitting there, I began hearing snippets of my mother's conversation. Mind you, this is the mother I have spoken of in the past. The one I have always had troubles with. The one who always claimed we were "never there for her". The one who wanted me, a grown woman, to choose sides in their divorce. The one I realized I could manage only because I had Leonard to vent to, lean on, and focus on. The one it hurts to be around now. The one who just got back from a 10 day cruise that she didn't tell us she was going on because "we don't care". She is also the daughter of the grandmother I have spoken of. The apple fell right to the bottom of the tree and stayed there. Only they don't see it...just the rest of Michigan does. To get us back on track my mom, who has been gone a good part of the last two months, began talking in "hushed tones" (think church whisper here) about "how she (meaning me) is doing..." Right there, right behind me, right where I could hear. Now, I am not so obtuse as to think that people don't talk about me and "how I am doing", but mostly one would think it would not be in earshot. She went on to talk about what I was thinking. How can someone do that? I am invisible. It feels as such. The one person who made me feel alive, and real, and worthwhile has left me.

I just really don't want to do this. I want to fall asleep and have it be three months ago, so things can be changed. It is what I have been begging the heavens for every night. I don't belong, I don't fit in... He made me special. He made me loved. He made me real. The things that people saw and liked in me were encourage by him. Without him, I am not doing anything. I dread the days I have to work...have to talk to people. I dread when my daughter comes home. I cannot manage sustained drama for very long. There is no respect there for mom. Only wants, which differ from the needs that I attempt to provide for. It begins to wear a person down.


Shari said...

That is really an uncomfortable feeling to have someone talk about you when you are within earshot. Sometimes, I can get a few words here and there. I never forgot one day I had to work with a really hard-to-work-with person. I heard her say something about me (For some reason she didn't like me, but I didn't care. It was no loss. Her personality was "I'm better than everyone".) I looked at her and said, "Hey, no one's perfect." I put her in her place-she didn't even realize that I still may "hear" things. She was right across from me.

I still think you are doing as well as you can. You are out there, visiting people-relatives, and just living. I think Leonard would want you to. I hope that wasn't the wrong thing to say.

God bless.

The girl left behind said...

Your mother sounds like she's all about herself; it probably didn't even occur to her you were listening, or able to listen, because the story was actually about her--what she thinks and feels and how she's dealing with how you're dealing.

Family, especially moms and daughters, is tough.

Hang in there.

Kathy said...

Here to listen, offer a far away shoulder, and just to let you know that you are less alone than you feel right now. Hugs.

Laurie said...

I agree with you Laura, your mom and grandma came off the same branch of the apple tree. And maybe they both resent the fact that you broke the mold and did not turn out as they have. Good for you. Is the brother in law you speak of Leonards brother? If so, how sad, but then again, most men do not know how to show their feelings like Leonard did. I'm glad James had fun with his cousin and it probably makes him feel normal. and I want to tell you that all of the wonderful things Leonard brought out in you and taught you, well sweetie, they are still there because this is who you are now. It just hurts so much not to have him there to remind you and others don't seem to appreciate how much you are worth. But it doesn't change who you are and you are a wonderful young lady. You will see it down the road in time. I'm praying for you to continue being strong and not be hard on yourself.

Love You Girl, Laurie in Ca.

Betts4 said...

Siblings are not spouses. They suffer a loss but they sure don't suffer like if it was their spouse. There is no one in the world that can understand the feeling that you have except maybe another widow. Having your body ripped in half is a description. You and Leonard chose to be with each other. Your choice been voided without anyone asking. I am sorry this happened to you and I don't think an in law will ever understand.

I send hugs.

haylee said...

Laura: You said: "The things that people saw and liked in me were encouraged by him". That is what loves does - it encourages. But no where is it written that Leonard created these things in you - this, you did all on you own. Which is another trait Leonard so much admired. Without a doubt, Leonard admired and was attracted to you for a truck-load of reasons. While they have certainly lost that specialness to you through his passing, they are still very special & very present if only because Leonard adored them.

This sounds like a ramble but I do hope it makes some sense.

My hubby has a saying about our children: I may not be able to make them like me but I can damn well insist that they respect me. If respect isn't forthcoming, neither are the gimmees. Another one is: Kids have enough friends. In me, they need a parent, not a friend. Parents go the whole 9 yards, friends disappear when the going gets tough.

In my very humble opinion, I think Nicole, regardless of her own issues, needs to be reigned back a few notches - for everyone's sake - past, present and future.

Try to do it as dispassionately as possible - sounds like she provides enough drama for the entire family.

Perhaps take to a counsellor specificaly about this issue.

Hugs & prayers send your way....

The Stevens Family said...

Laura, I am sorry for your mothers rude and uncalled for behaviors. And as far as your daughter is concerned, there needs to be some sort of recourse if her actions make you "dread" her coming home. I am sorry that noone can understand what you are going through. Hugs to you and you can send me a rambling e-mail anyday to vent!

Jess T said...

:( I'm sorry. Thinking of you!


haylee said...

Better late than never but I forgot to add to my post that our children adore their father but, first & foremost, they respect him. I was just quoting some of his childrearing philosphy - which has served us very well throughout the years.

But the truth of the matter is that you cannot demand love from your youngsters - but from doing what is right, they will respect you... and I suspect love is just around the cornor.