The next day we waited in the hall outside the intensive care unit until everyone arrived. Once all four of us were there we took turns visiting mother. Each of us saying what we needed to in private. When my turn came all I could say was,”Mom, thank you for giving me life,” which I meant. Sheri spent alot of time talking about moms wisdom and love. All the things she’d learned from her. Try as I might, I could think of nothing wise or loving I’d learned from my mother. In fact, one of many things mom frequently complained about to my siblings in regards to how she felt about me, and why, was how upsetting it was to her that I never went to her for advice, help, or direction.
As a small child I felt an innate lack of trust in her. Couldn’t handle being patronized and lied to which she did often. Like Snow Whites evil stepmother she went to great lengths to lure me in but unlike Snow White, I didn’t take the bait. Took to fits of rage when she would try to pull the wool over my eyes. Once tipping over my dresser to make my point. A story she told many times, always leaving her part out, she used what I did as evidence to prove my insanity. Discredit my experience and feelings. Hide her behavior.
Years later, after I’d left home, married and had my first child, I fell in love with a man who wasn’t my husband. I went to my mother for direction. I still wonder how she’d finally put me to sleep, why I thought she would help or comfort me. When I arrived at her house we took a ride in my car. I proceeded to open my heart fully to her. Sparing nothing I poured my feelings into her hollowed out bosom. There was no tenderness, compassion, or wisdom in her response. She started off with, Oh sure, when you were in good standing with your almighty church, [I'd been excommunicated for adultery], you were too good for us, but now that your life is falling apart you come running to us for help. With me, mother always spoke as if she and my siblings were a unit that I was outside of. Her mean-spirited snarling words were the poisonous kiss that awakened me. Reminded me of the truth between her and I.
When I was fourteen years old I met my huntsman. A man who rescued me by marrying me when I was seventeen years old. Instead of the cozy cottage of the seven dwarfs, my refuge, became the Mormon Church. Rather than being proud of me, or at the very least attempting to understand and support my desire to climb out of the godless violence, poverty and alcoholism of our family by seeking God, Love, safety and community through my church, she punished me for it by accusing me of becoming arrogant because I chose not to spend much time around them. Also wouldn’t allow them to drink and smoke in my home. Spend time with my children when they were drinking and drugging which was all the time. My parents and siblings took vacations had parties and dinners without inviting me and my family. Truthfully I would not have gone and they knew that. At that time I didn’t drink or drug. Nor could I stand the fighting that almost always went on. Much of it physical.
The second and last time I went to my mother for help was several years later. I’d succumbed to addiction. Been arrested for writing my own prescriptions for tranquilizers. I called my mother to bail me out, promising to pay her back the next day which I fully intended to do. Even though she’d bailed my brothers and sisters out many times, in many ways including jail, that she’d never bailed me out of anything, she said no.Weeks later when the probation department called her to see if she felt I was a safe candidate for probation or if she felt it best that I be sent to jail for five years, she told them that locking me up was the best option.
When I finally came in front of the judge he took pity on me. I had no prior offenses of any kind, honestly had no idea that what I’d done was such a big deal [a felony]. The officer who’d done my pre-probation investigation and report came to me in private, said he thought I should read it. He’d talked to several different people including friends, lovers, employers and the doctor I stole the script pad from. All of which said probation was enough. I was touched and surprised to read their understanding and compassionate reports about me. When I got to my mothers appraisal the shock was no less of a jolt than a hit from a stun gun. There was nothing good in her report. She basically said I was a useless and worthless. Then added that I’d always thought I deserved more than everyone else. And in regards to the aspirations of those in my family, she was telling the truth.
Next came the meeting to determine what should be done with mom. Her breathing and feeding were still being supported and she was still in a coma. Three doctors one nurse and the four of us kids filed into a room with a large conference table. Each of them gave us their prognosis. Basically it was the same except that they wanted to put her on full life support. My mom was clear on this matter. Had a DNR order in place.
It’d been just over forty-eight hours since her fall. I wondered if we should give her some time before we pulled the plug. Didn’t speak up because I was unwilling be responsible for her care. Mother wasn’t willing to help those who cared for her to do so but instead commanded us to do what she wanted. She used guilt and fear to attempt scare us into doing it exactly how and when she wanted it done, just the way she’d done all our lives. Ron spoke up first. “Mom wouldn’t want this.” Vicki turned to Sheri who responded but my hearing seemed to fade, like someone turned down the volume of the situation so I don’t recall what she said. Then she looked at me. I think I shook my head yes. Relieved to not be alone with such a ponderous decision Vicki agreed. The last order of the business of moms life was if we wanted them to make her comfortable with morphine, to which there was a resounding Yes.
To be continued very soon…