Monday, March 24, 2008

Still here...Still Crazy

It would be proper for me to just post a hello every once in awhile, wouldn't it?

I'm okay. Really. It was a "brick wall weekend" but it's over.

It was a week in which my grandmother, and subsequently mother disowned me.

It was a week in which I couldn't pretend to be somebody else because the memories kept prying open the door of my denial.

It was a week in which I realized that the basement now smells like the place Leonard worked because his rollaway has now been down there for 6 months...

It was a week, I guess.

I was doing good on Wednesday, and I should have shared that with you all so that this wouldn't be an almost week long "run away" on my part. I guess I could be honest and say that sometimes the truly anonymous posts make me feel like I'm "doing it all wrong". So I thought about turning off the anonymous feature and then argued with myself (I always win, go figure) that it wasn't in keeping with my thoughts of what the comments section is for. I always said I wouldn't touch it because it's not my place----it's yours. It's even anonymous's. So I will keep it the way it is.

I also "got something out" that I needed to. I put it somewhere else. And I think that exhausted my emotionally. I happy and yet sad that some more now know. I worry you see. Mark this paragraph down as one that doesn't make sense.

On Thursday morning, I picked up my Grandma to take her to the doctor. I talked about my grandma back on Halloween and how she can make me feel at times. She is her daughter's mother. That hurts, in lots of ways, because I looked up to her so very much as a child. Never seeing the faults. Always seeing what it was she wanted me to see. I guess we are all that way. On the drive to the doctor we were talking about just stuff really. I don't talk about Leonard, or loss, or my grief with her really because it becomes a contest for her. Who has it worst. And I really am trying not to fall into the bitterness pit. It appears bottomless. As we were driving she said to me,"You all have to realize my life has completely changed..." and it made me smile. I have always felt bad over the loss of Grandpa because he was a wonderful man. She has lived, basically the same life now, for the last 7 years with my mom. I know it is tough, but she is obtuse as well. We get to the doctor's office, sign in and all is going well because I basically am just listening. When they went to weigh her (my grandmother-in my opinion and her doctor's- has geriatric anorexia) she said,"Ohhh ho! I don't want to get up there today. I've lost a bunch what with mouth surgery (she had a tooth pulled) and all..." She weighed the same as at her last visit. "I must be bloated because I've lost,"she whispered harshly in my ear. I told her not to fixate so much on weight and food...that she had been doing well. I was becoming emotionally and physically overhwhelmed by this. It amazes me how much I cannot do and/or put up with anymore. We sat and waited for the doctor. I said something about my dad (big mistake) and because I don't want to keep saying "and" here is what happened...

Grandma: "You're mother put up with so much while trying to raise you kids..."
Me: "Dad was there for quite a bit of it, while Mom was doing her stuff."
Grandma: "I was there...and I remember"

Interjection: I lived within driving distance of my grandma for approximately 5 years of my childhood...the rest was spent in places where she visited once a year or so...

Me:"Grandma, come on, let's not do this. I truly was there. I grew up in the house. Let's just be happy for them..."

Grandma: "Your mother was right. You three (me and my brothers) are never there for her. You've chosen your father and you just don't care enough to do or be anything for her. How selfish you are."

Me:"&*#&*^@^! (of course in a church whisper...we were in the doctor's office) Grandma, what will I ever do to make her, and you, happy? It is not enough that I have helped her out emotionally and financially in the past. That I drive you to the doctor's for both her and you...and it doesn't bother me?"

Grandma:"Well obviously it does and you NEVER have to do it again..."

Me:"You know, I have tried to reason but my husband (insert words that are too graphic and painful for me to repeat because I am not in the same frame of mind and I don't want the recounting to be as horrid as the actual) and the children are all that I can deal with and I just can't do this, or the mind games or the crap anymore. Not from you. Not from mom."

Grandma:" Well I tried to love you. I really did. I offered to love the girl 'you say' you've become but I guess you just shut poor old grandma out." (no, I am not-although I wish I was-making this up)

Me:" I think you are the one who is doing that."

Grandma: "No. You hate me. It's obvious. You hate me..."

Me:"Yep, I hate you." (/sarcasm off)

Grandma:"Yes you do..."

Can you see where this went in a fairly quick and juvenile like manner? And I was mad at myself, and yet glad that I got it out. It excised a little bit of the cancer of bittness from my soul. I don't want to be like them. I strive to not be that way.

The rest of the appointment (thank goodness the doctor arrived) went fairly well. She is healthy. Nothing's wrong. Nothing ever is. But these are visits that she requires and I did take her without hating it to every one. (Gosh, why do I feel like I am pleading my case here?). She was acting quite melancholy and said,"Well then I guess I'm a healthy old lady then, eh?" to which the doctor replied,"You're a healthy young woman Margaret...with a good family to support you..." and I swear I could see her eyebrows waggle up and down from almost directly behind you. The doctor (who also happens to be our family doctor) looked at me and I just winked. And we were done.

They were going to book another appointment but she said she would "wait", until the nurse reminded her that on her next appointment the doctor would want to excise a mole she had on her face. Her face brightened at the thought of possible surgery (add Munchausens to the previous diagnosis) and she said,"I suppose I should schedule that...if my granddaugher can 'stand' to take me..." and so the appointment was made. And I didn't feel so very much better after all. She went home and, predictably, told my mom. I just can't do that, with them, anymore. I need the bits of strength for surviving the last bit of Nik's childhood and the years I have to guide James. Truth be told, I'm not doing a very bang up job of keeping him scheduled and well rested. And I hate myself for it.

So, in a nutshell, it basically spiralled down from there. I found Leonard's secret stash of candy (one I didn't know he had) and it made me cry at the little boyness that could be him. My kids colored eggs with my dad. My dad and his girlfriend came over Easter morning for the traditional eggs and bacon. It hit like a wave again; Leonard not being here. He needed to be here to crack eggs on his kids' heads. I stayed home while the children went to visit my mom and grandma with their baskets. I didn't want to cast a shadow over it. There was no basket from Nonny this year. It hurts that her anger at me is directed at the children. She doesn't realize it. There is nothing I can do. I can't do it with them anymore. For my health.

There was a birthday party for my nephew thrown in there somewhere too and it was good to see my son smiling.

There was also a wonderful, handstamped card from Lissie. Thank you so much Lissie. You all touch me in so many ways and I am glad that I have this little blog, if only for meeting so many wonderful people and being able to share what was once a blissful life with you all.


Kesha said...

Laura, I'm so sorry you're dealing with such bitterness and selfishness from the very people that should be supporting and loving you. It's so hard to have to put up with that for the many years that you must have. As your said, for your health and for your children they cannot be allowed to treat you this way. You have many people who love and care for you, there's no room for their ungracious behaviour.

Plese be good to yourself.



Linda said...

I am so sorry. You don't need that now-you don't need that ever...

Your grandmother sounds very much like my own mother. She was a wonderful person, but she had a way of always wanting me to feel guilty for something. I like to say "my mother was a travel agent for guilt trips". So sad, really-not for me but rather for her.

I hope this week is better for you!


BetteJo said...

Sometimes families just suck. Sorry. But really, you can love them and you can dislike them all at the same time.

It may be harsh but I am not one who believes you have to listen to anything that comes out of somebody's mouth just because they're family. Or even better - because they're old.

You're doing the best you can do and if right now you can't take the martyrdom than by God - don't. When you are able to deal with it again - you will.

And that goes for people who aren't even grieving so add that huge hole in your heart to the mix and I think you get a straight up pass from listening to anyone else moaning that you don't care about them. Especially when both of you know it's not true.

Save your energy for healing, and for taking care of your kids and putting one foot in front of the other. It's self defense right now. You can only afford to surround yourself with people who want to be kind.

Ronni said...

Do your best to stay away from the negative people. There are those who love you and demand nothing. Hang with them when possible...

Glad you are back.

Sharpie said...

Oh Sweetie - It may be difficult - but you have to rid your life of people who drain you emotionally. Just cut them out of the daily stuff. I know you can't disown your Mom, but keep it to a minimum when you can don your armor and fend off the attacks. Other than that - do what you are doing - save your energy for your kids and just being. Sometimes that is all we can do - Just Be.


Jeanette said...

I'm so sorry for you having to deal with this when you are so emotionally fragile right now. The best thing you can do is to spend as little time as possible with them Don't feel bad. You have to put yourself and you kids first. My grandmother was a lot like your grandmother. Always the victim. I have to say that I wasn't ever very patient with her. Just hang in there and do what you have to do.

Rebecca said...

After reading that, I swear we’re related. I have the Exact. Same. Family members.


You handled that way better than I would’ve. Could’ve. I can’t deal with that kind of me-me-me crap. People who don’t quite “get” that other people have feelings, things they’re dealing with, their own memories of events that might actually be accurate, that they’re really REAL. That life isn’t a play or a television show starring the “great and mighty ME.”

Um… yeah, little tangent there, sorry. So much for my sympathy and understanding. I’m gonna post this anyway because, well, I think you’ll get it. What I’m trying to say, that is, tangent or no.

Forgive me for being cheesy, but this quote from Sleepless in Seattle made me think of you…

Sam Baldwin: Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breathe in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breathe in and out...

Anonymous said...


The other commenters are right == you don't need this type of mind games & drama. Do what you need to do to do to take care of yourself & your kids.

Some people are just like that & as Linda said above, it's sad for *them*/their loss.

Hang in there.

Nance said...

Some people turn grief into a contest. And if those people happen to be the type that are hooked on drama, it's even worse. AND, if they labor under the privilege of old age, whereby they feel that their burden of years gives them a free pass for plain old bad behavior just because they've been lucky enough to outlast a lot of people, then you're really in for it. Sadly, you get to add one more variable, and that's the worst of all: family.

Your situation is hard; it's unique because of the circumstances surrounding your husband's death. Toxic people are the last thing you need as a hurdle to your healing. I don't care if they're family or not. Your first obligation is to your kids; second, yourself. Perhaps you need to clear your path so that you can feel more able to get on with it.

Donna said...

I'm with everyone else...stay away from negative people..relatives or not...You're doing fine!! Much love to you sweetie!!hughugs

Courtney said...

You are doing great. Don't let anyone bring you down with their negativity. Let them be. It is their loss, they will lose one wonderful, helpful woman who would help them as much as they need only because they want to be negative.

Laurie said...

Hi Laura,

Unsolicited Guilt just sucks all the way around. So many are so willing to dump it out on everyone else instead of owning it as their own. "I can't do it with them anymore. For my Health." Now you're talking Laura. In standing up for yourself, you will be breaking the chains on a sick tradition of "self centeredness" that has been there for generations. You are right, you don't have to play. I think you are doing so good girl, I really do and I admire your heart for wanting to help your family. I only wish they could look outside of themselves to see your heart. Give your heart to your kids, they love and appreciate you. You are the only one who can stand up for YOU. The whiners will have to find another place to whine!:) What do you have to lose?? Sorry here girl, this behavior just makes me fume~~~~~~for you. Breaking this pattern will free you to get through the important things in your life. You are worth it.

Love and Hugs, Laurie in Ca.

Betts4 said...

Can't say anything that hasn't already been said.

Don't feel bad because your grandmother is making you feel guilty. You may feel bad anyway, because you are a loving caring person, but try to step away and see her as an old woman in a mindset.

You shouldn't have to be putting up with this.


Shelly said...

Oh honey, she sounds just like my mother. So sorry that you have two of them. Try to avoid them as much as you can. I'll be thinking of you.

haylee said...

Dear Laura:

You have earned my admiration and respect in many ways - not the least of which is your ability to channel your very strained emotional resources to the proper places. The episode with your grandmother is no exception.

Good for you for recognizing her potential to erode the energies you need for yourself and your children. You might notice that I put you first because I think the best gift you can give your children right now is a mother who is not continually pounded by the selfish whims of others.

You shouldn't feel badly for calling your grandmother out. She obviously is lacking the instinct to nurture and support her decendents. Fortunately for Nik & James, you seem to have this instinct despite your maternal's relatives lack thereof. The lack of an Easter gift is just plain mean but really underscores that you did what was needed.

I cannot begin to understand the difficult situation this creates for you as you attempt to shield your father from the pain of your struggle to find your footing. Who will be your shoulder?

As you continue on, always keep in mind that what is emotionally best for you is ultimately best for Nik & James.

I said it before and I'll say it again -- it is truly tragic that your second line of defence cannot or will not offer you loving support as you deal with the loss of your primary supporter. I so wish I could share with you the mother I have been blessed to have.

I also want you to know that the details you have shared with me about the day your world fell apart has given me a deeper understanding of your struggles while, at the same time, demonstrating what a truly selfless man Leonard was. I understand what you said last week about how your anger could never be directed at him and I suspect others would feel the same. I am glad you found an outlet and pray that it comforts you.

Try to cut yourself some slack with James's shedule. Ultimately, he too is working his own way through this process where, pray God, rest & peace will be the end reward.

I hope that you can cauterize or compartmentalize the added woes of your mother and grandmother and continue to move ahead one day at a time.

Let of all us here who love you be your shoulder.

With love,

KamaAina said...

E komo mai kaua! (Welcome back!)

It sounds to me like Grandma is the real-life equivalent of a "troll" (and not because she lives "under the bridge", either). If she were to turn up at our other meeting place with that attitude, she'd be TS'd within the hour. (The same goes for these anonymice that keep popping up here.)

Alas, in real life (if this is real life), there are no mods. You must decide for yourself whether to put her on Ignore.

Aloha pumehana (the warm, flowing kind, like lava).

Erin said...

Oh Laura. They are failing you, not the other way around. It is not fair and not right when you very much deserve better. I am sorry.

becomingkate said...

You deserve better, but some people just don't know how to love. I'm so sorry! And I am glad that your dad is there for you.

Shari said...

I don't know what to add. I think people like that, even relatives, do that to "get your goat", so to speak, and they like seeing their comments hit home. Sorry you have to deal with that. You need more positivity, for you and for your kids.

I used to take my mom to the doctor's, church, or the grocery store. Sometimes she never had to call me, I would tell her I was going to the store and ask if she needed anything or for me to come and pick her up. One of the hardest things about hanging up my keys was to call her and tell her I couldn't drive anymore, that I couldn't take her anywhere anymore.

Rach said...

Hi Honey! If you hadn't posted today, I was going to email and check on you.

I'm sorry things got so ugly with Mom and Grandma. Don't sweat it. There's nothing you can do and Grandma will come around. They always do. (B's Granny was the SAME way...)

I'm also so sorry the week was so very difficult for you but happy you got some stuff off your chest. You needed to.

Big HUGS for you, Sweetie! HUGE HUGS and a whole lotta LOVE! :o)

Stella said...

I'm sorry about what happened with your grandmother, particularly that she took it out on your kids. My grandma would do the same thing to us when she was mad at my mom, and I remember how it hurt. I'm glad your son still found something to smile about.

I hope the next days bring you and your children more reasons to smile.


David said...

Thanks for your sharing.
I enjoy your posts and drop in when I can.

J at said...

All I can say is that I hope your mom and grandma come around, but that I think you are right to avoid becoming bitter. Strive to be the woman you want to be. And at this point, that's really, really hard, and having people around who make it harder to just get through your day is not a good thing.

I hope they'll be back, but it sounds like you need a break from them right now anyway.

Karen MEG said...

I think a break from them is good just about now. You've been so good about it all this time; it's unfortunate that they can't let the bitterness go; I'm glad that you're not going down that path yourself.

I had a very crotchedy grandmother and it was always, always all about her, no matter what her kids/ grandkids did. That's just the way she was, to her last day. I loved her, but didn't like her so much the older we both got. It's just too bad that your mother is in the mix too. Thank goodness for your Dad.

I hope things are going a bit better for you today.