Life Con’t

Having only my alimony, I was forced to take an apartment in a low-income complex for seniors. It was o.k. but depressing. The neighborhood was awful and dangerous but, again, I managed. About a year later, my ex-husband died suddenly. Alimony ceased…income ceased. My Dad was very near death and died 30 days later to the day. Life, as I knew it, went off the deep end.

My income ceased, my Dad was gone and my Mom was a basket case. I wasn’t in much better shape. However, after 58 years of being the oldest and the one Mom always turned to, I tried to keep a grip on myself. Let me back up for a minute. My family was always extremely dysfunctional, even though I didn’t know it. Dad was an alcoholic and Mom was an abused wife, but physically and emotionally. She followed Dad’s rules without question. He drank, she worked and took care of the kids. When she was at work, it was my job to look after my siblings, take care of the house and do the cooking. That was my life. We moved around so much, I lost the count on how many schools I attended. I didn’t have any friends because Dad wouldn’t allow it.

Now, back to Mom. She didn’t learn to do the everyday basics in life. At the age of 78, she still cannot put gas in the car! She can’t find her way out of a paper bag, let alone find her way around town. Basically her life evolves around her own neighborhood but even then, when she does go somewhere on her own, she always has to go back home before going to her next stop because she can only remember how to get to point B from point A. You get the idea. Mom was always afraid of Dad and turned to me in times of crisis because I was always the strong one.

My Mother was also diagnosed with terminal emphysema. She is on 18 different medications a day, as well as oxygen. Before going any further, let me say, I Love My Mother Dearly.

Mom has relied on me since I was a kid. So much so, that my youngest brother thought I was his Mother until the age of 8! This I was not made aware of until we were both adults. All through the years my other siblings went on with their lives. They all left it up to me when it came to helping Dad and Mom. Not one ever offered any help or support to them or me.

After Dad’s passing, the leeches came out of the woodwork! Mom had never really had any independence from Dad. She has never been forced to make her own decisions. Dad made all the decisions in the house. If, in the early years, he was too drunk or abusive, Mom came to me to ask what to do…this since as early as I can remember.

In the days following Dad’s death, only one sibling came to town. And boy did he ever.

This being less than a year from Dad’s diagnosis and this sibling telling me he probably wouldn’t even come to the funeral because he and Dad were never really close.

He immediately took “control”, right down to picking out Dad’s casket and making all funeral arrangements without consultation with Mom or any of the other siblings. In a matter of a week, he had her life all figured out. Told her what and how she should live and who she should or should not take “any bad advice” from, i.e. ME. Why? That is only a question he can answer. Mom is very impressionable and is easy to confuse. She is one that believes the best in everyone no matter what they do to her. To keep peace among the siblings, she will tell little white lies or cover things up. All that has done is tore us further and further apart.

Keep in mind, at this time, I was already falling apart. I was trying to stay strong for Mom and, yet, I had no idea what I was going to do myself. I had no income and no savings left. I had a year to go before I would be eligible for Social Security but could not find a job. Had it not been for a dear friend of mine, I would probably be living on the street.

Now, you may ask, again, why? If my Mother was there, why couldn’t we work together to help each other? Great question!

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