Well Past the Expiration Date

I wish she would just die already.

That’s not the first time I’ve thought that and it certainly won’t be the last. The “she” in this case is my mother.

I’m sure your first thought is “Wow, that’s awful, how could anyone wish that?” while your second thought is likely about how much of a selfish, horrible, monster of a daughter I am. That’s fine. I’ve become content with the “Monster” narrative when it comes to anything to do with my mother. I’ll always be the monster in someone’s story, so I may as well write my own.

After spending the summer of 2021 in Camp Verde, Arizona caring for her, all the while she was on hospice and I was being told she could pass at any minute – my patience and give-a-fucks have worn thin. I spent 3, almost 4, months of not knowing if I’d find my mother dead in the morning or if today would be the day. I spent that time saying goodbye and making peace with the fact that she’s dying. And now here we are in Iowa, almost 8 months later and she’s no longer on hospice, living in her own apartment, but still is dying of end-stage COPD.

I used to subscribe to the toxic mentality that “family is everything” and you always do whatever is needed for family because… they’re family. Fuck that noise. We may share some DNA and that only makes us related, not family. And then I met D, who made me see just how toxic they really were, and helped me get out from under them. He helped convince me that having my name on my mother’s utilities wasn’t smart – what if she didn’t pay me? I would be responsible regardless. He helped me realize that loaning money to my brothers was only enabling their poor habits, not helping them. He’s never been much of a fan of my family because he only saw how they used and abused for years. My family’s dislike of him began the day he started opening my eyes to their manipulation and greed.

Now that I’ve managed to get my mother back to Iowa and living on her own, I’m still expected to be her bitch, run her errands, take her to appointments, etc etc. That might seem like just normal care of an elderly parent, but I’m also not her only child. I’m constantly guilted about not staying and visiting longer after I drop off groceries or laundry, but in all honestly – she hasn’t given me time to want to go visit. Every call is about needing something, not to just BS or shoot the shit like we used to. Even if it was to just go visit, she’s such a negative person that she sucks the air out of the room. I refuse to talk to her about anything D related because it all makes it back to my POS brother and then the rumors start. I am also not the only adult she knows, but it’s almost like she refuses to call on anyone else but me.

My mother has become a burden. I feel physical pain as I type that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. No, she’s not always demanding or needing something every single day, but I still have to take into account her needs before just up and leaving for the weekend. She’s on oxygen so her mobility is limited to her tubing. She can’t check her mail or do her own laundry. She can at least cook for herself for the most part, but she eats a lot of easy-microwave stuff. Better than nothing I suppose.

Reading all of this makes me sound horrible or like an ungrateful brat, but what you don’t read is about the turbulent childhood of 9 different elementary schools or at least 6 different apartments/houses around town, having to navigate the moods of my mother on a regular basis to avoid any freak outs or melt downs, the deterioration of my grandma’s mental health and health overall, watching my mother go through one abusive relationship after another, coming home to an empty house or apartment more than once because the sperm donor popped back in the picture long enough to rob us blind, or how my mother alienated all of us from our extended family because she always felt like the “black sheep.” There are cousins to this day I’m still meeting and getting to know because we never participated in family events or get-togethers.

I guess I’m just tired of being responsible, even if only partially, for another grown ass adult. Yes, she gave birth to me, but she chose that. Yes, she raised us the best she could, but it was still fucked up. It wasn’t a bad childhood per say, it just wasn’t conventional or the most healthy environment at times. My mother isn’t one to accept responsibility for how things have turned out. It’s always someone else’s fault that caused her problems. I’ve never really been able to 100% focus on MY life without having to consider what’s going on with hers or those of my brothers. I want to focus on me, on MY family that I’ve created, on what I want to do, when I want to do it, without having to consider the care of someone outside of that.

After spending an entire summer saying goodbye to her and thinking she would be dead before I ever made it back to Iowa, I’m ready to say goodbye again and this time for good.


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