My mother had been acting odd lately. She was weirdly upbeat, like she had this tension that she was trying to cover. Our relationship is not one of open communication, so I didn’t probe beyond a few light queries about money and her husband.
Last night, she called. She had gone to the doctor’s that day, and walked away with a diagnosis of the being in the early stages of Alzheimers.
I’m trying to unpack everything I’m feeling. Our relationship is complicated: We’re not close, but we’re bound to each other. If we weren’t related, we’d never be friends, but since we are, we talk nearly every day. We don’t share, and when I’ve tried to share, I’ve usually been shut down with a curt “I don’t need to know this.” So, our conversations are light and superficial.
What I’ve unpacked so far:
- I’m pissed that she ignored my pleas to PLEASE get tested, since this runs rampant in our family. She called me an ‘ungrateful cunt’ the last time I brought it up. I’m also pissed that she ignored all of my other advice (please don’t retire yet, please keep mentally busy, please make friends locally, please don’t just sit at home and watch TV).
- I’m jealous that my step-father, who arranged her doctor’s appointment, is being heralded as such the hero of the hour.
- I’m grateful that my step-father actually got her to the doctor’s.
- I’m upset that this is happening so much sooner than I thought it would happen.
- I’m sad for my kids, who I thought would be adults when they had to deal with this.
- I’m scared, because my step-father is a Peter Pan, my husband puts his head in the sand, and the rest of my family is too busy with their own emergencies to help out. I’m going to be all alone in this.
- I’m dreading the personality changes. I have seen what happens, and it’s not pretty.
- I’m glad this has finally opened up the “what next” conversation that we’ve been avoiding for the past decade, mostly because she got hostile when I brought it up. She’s now willing to talk retirement communities.
I feel like I’ve been crying all day, even though I haven’t actually sat down and had a good cry. I need a drink.