life stories

the center of the universe is the brain

I’ll Tell You Why

Call it obligation, doing penance, familial duty. The three weeks I spent with my mother was frightening, deeply emotionally disturbing and the greatest challenge I have ever faced. I did it out of love.

My mother is a very difficult person on any ordinary day. Put in a situation where she is vulnerable, she became a complete bear. A grizzly bear.  At the nursing home where she spent ten weeks they called her Boss. When she asked me to do something… after a few days she did understand that she had to ask, not tell… she expected it done before she finished making the request. If it wasn’t done in five minutes, she asked if I’d forgotten.

I could not deal with her anxiety. She frequently put her hands over her face and said, “I can’t do it, Steph.” When I asked her what it was she couldn’t do, she wasn’t able to explain. “There’s so much that needs to be done here,” was as far as she could get.

If an emotion arose, she became distraught. When someone came to the house that she didn’t want to be around, she behaved rudely and very much like a child.

The reason I went down to help her out was not because I enjoy being with her. Nor was it out of some great spiritual understanding that it was the right thing to do. My mother can be rude and obnoxious. She’s manipulative and needy. But I love her.

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