Hey folks, I usually like to come on here and make people laugh.I generally prefer to not vent about personal subject matter, but there's an always the exception to every rule , even self-imposed ones.

My mom has been in deteriorating health for the past five years with an uncertain diagnosis of Alzheimers Disease. After losing dad in '95 she had several years of half-hearted interest in which she entered some of her paintings in local art galleries , learned to line dance and joined a group widows that we jokingly referred to as the "Widow Women Club". Her self motivation waned over the last decade until she pretty much stayed at home, rented movies and fed the cat.

Five years ago, her colon ruptured unexpectedly and she had to undergo emergency surgery . Woke up with a colostomy and in a "Assisted Living" facility, never to return to her house again…My brother and his wife had her home cleaned out and rented within 2 months. Suddenly and mysteriously they also had the money to build their dream vacation home in the north Georgia mountains…A genteel little shack : Six bedrooms, three bathrooms, TWO kitchens. You know, cozy.

For the last five years they have traveled from Florida to this place, each time passing within a mile and a half from our house just off of I-75.

Adam and I traveled up there once and that was the time mama met and fell in love with Adam…For whatever reason, the Alzheimers, old age or just his sweetness , mama did a 180 degree turn from her lifetime disapproval (or denial)  of my supposedly chosen lifestyle. She loved him and still does. Not one conversation goes by that she doesn't ask about him despite her deteriorating mental capacity.

The last time mama was able to travel a year or so ago, it was the same story…We were invited at the last possible second and expected to drop everything and take off with no notice…We couldn't and my brothers wife got pretty ugly about it . I've become accustomed to this and didn't let her know that it bothered me. If you know me on here , you know that I'm very respectful of my friends that goes for my female friends as well…Well there's a name they call people like my brothers wife and I'll let you figure that one out…It isn't that hard…She is a drama queen and seems to like to keep people at odds with each other..

My brother let it slip in the past year that she had paid for an online criminal background search on all of the "close family members". When I asked him why, my brother said that it was because she had heard that "pedophiles were most often close and trusted family members."  They are helping rear their grandchildren and she wanted to be sure that no family members were "that way." TRANSLATION :  She thinks that because I and my partner are gay men , that this translates to pedophilia !   I immediately  replied that  she should know all about that seeing that she was from Alabama and from a litter of 12 !

Needless to say, that between my brothers wife the Viper, and my Jew For Jesus half sister who put the EXTREME in religious extremism, I  have MUCH Southern Discomfort at the very though of walking into that lions den…

Three days ago mama was put into the hospital after running a fever, throwing up and complaining of abdominal pain…Whatever differences I may have with my brother, he does take good care of her and makes sure she gets the best care HER money can buy…He has power of attorney and being the only sibling that has remained on out hometown, the burden of responsibility has fallen to him…He hasn't  dodged his duty but the Viper never lets an opportunity  pass to remind everyone just how much they have done for her…To listen to her you'd think that she sponge bathes mom herself ..Dear god….

When I got the call from my brother, he promised to keep me updated on her condition and he has…I got a call from him not long after we got up today. It's the week of Adams late shift so we got to sleep in late, not something we got to do often…Not long after I was up, my brother called and after a short preamble said "well, I'm going to cut to the chase…" which is not only very unlike him but uncommonly un-southern…so I knew it was big…

Mammas surgeon said that they didn't do the colonoscopy that was scheduled for today because there was a blockage that prevented it…whether or not it was scar tissue from the previous bowel surgery or not they didn't know ,but in any case they have to get it opened up before she dies of peritonitis…She's scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning at 9am and they are doing her second colostomy….most likely this one will be permanent for more than one reason…….now the bad news.

Moms Petscan results came back and at least one third of her liver is cancerous…they won't know until they go in tomorrow how far it has spread. My brother agreed with the doctor and I concur that chemotherapy on an 87 year old woman would just be inhumane and most likely  it wouldn't prolong her life in the least..They are doing the colostomy tomorrow but are giving her six months at the most to live. I asked my brother if there was a possibility that she would be able to return to the retirement home where she was quite comfortable, around her friends and familiar surroundings…My brother said that he would like that if it's at all possible…At least we agree that we don't want mama to die in a hospital…She and daddy signed a living will years ago that included a DNR clause and my brother said he would honor it…

Here is my delemia: My dad had Parkinson's for at least the last 12 years of his life and thanks to the care and stubborn nature of my mamma, he spent the last years of his life at home..unfortunately because an ambulance was called, he ended up for the last three days of his life in the hospital, hooked up to machines and totally unaware of his surroundings…

I sat  with him for the last three days and nights he was alive and it was a blessing when he passed…Mom was ever the grieving  southern widow and too much in shock to really be completely aware of what was going on…She went through the motions as we all did but she was a zombie…I would still give a pretty penny to know what she was on!

 Being on Zoloft at that point of my life I was a Zombie as well; totally and emotionally flat-lined….It was a good thing too, because it was the only way to survive my nut bag family…I remember the whole Southern graveside scene perfectly as if I was watching a  movie…I acted with total efficiency greeting guests, serving food, clearing plates at .the big church dinner afterward.You couldn't call it a true wake because being a mix of Methodists and Baptists there wasn't a drop of liquor to be found.(damn) At one point where i was popping Xnax and Zofloft like Skittles, Mama…a die hard shutterbug actually LINED everyone up for a GROUP FAMILY PICTURE.  When she said "Now everybody SMILE!" ….I remember thinking  "Sweet Baby Jesus! this woman is truly and seriously nuts." Later she sent me copies of the group line-up and there I was on the back row, the only unsmiling face with this empty, dead-behind-the-eyes look.

Alright I've laid my case…The question is: Do I go down there to see my mama for one last time? Despite what you may have read, I do have a heart, it's just that I've learned over the years that I have to protect it…I do love my mama and I've told her this every time I've called, which has been every day for the last decade and a half..

Adam keeps telling me that " when your'e ready just let me know and I'll make it happen." Meaning that he will spring for my airline tickets and a hotel down there if need be. He knows that I wont and I CANT stay with my family…I survived  my family after my dads death for two important reasons: One : I was 15 years younger and in much better health. TWO: I was numb on psych meds….I stopped taking antidepressants soon after he died when it dawned on me one day that I did NOT suffer from Clinical Depression! I was P***** OFF at my screwed up family and was avoiding feeling anything by taking  Perscription drugs! Took myself off of them and never went back…Yes I've gone through some really bleak cycles and still have some anxiety attacks from time to time but I don't ever want to feel nothing again! Whatever the psych meds did to mask the depression killed whatever creative thing that lives inside of me when I was on it. If i have to take the crazy and the occasional depression so be it…

This then is my Achilies heel : STRESS….we all know what it can do to us who are HIV positive…there have been times that I have gotten sick for no other reason than a stressful family situation. It would seem that moving over 500 miles away from them would ailieveate  this but they still occasionally manage to splash it all the way up here.

I am trying to explain to Adam that I can not afford to go down there to see my mother…We can't financially afford it for one thing. Adam would put it in his charge card in a heartbeat but I can not in all coincidence put that on his tab when we are just managing to struggle out from some debt. We still have a mortgage to pay and all the things that go with home ownership. My disability check pays a fraction of the expenses but he never throws that in my face. He's generous to a fault.

I can't afford to let my family destroy my health…For the first time in a very long time, I'm truly happy and stable and I will not let my family ruin that…If that's selfish then I guess I will just have to live with it. I'm not sure that even after nearly ten years Adam knows the way I tick, but I'm really hoping that he understands and respects me for this decision.

Thanks for letting me rant.I don't think that I need advice but since opinions are like….ears ….and everybody has at least one , I'm sure that I'm going to get it.    I'm not even going to go back and edit this as I usually would.

PS: I just got off the phone with mama and she doesn't even remember that she is having surgery tomorrow morning…Of course I didn't tell her…I just told her a  couple of silly stories that she's heard a hundred times before and made her laugh. Then I told her for the millionth time that I love her and told her to sleep tight.

 

1 Comment
  1. Puglover 13 years ago

    Glad to hear its not just MY family that is dysfunctional! That's why I live in Florida and they live in Ohio! But they are my family, the only ones I have and I talk with them almost everyday. You  only get one Mom, I couldn't see mine before she died, if I had a choice I would have been there in a heartbeat, regardless of family dynamics.Only you can LET them stress you out, 'get to you" . You have to do whats right in your heart no matter what the cost. You might not get another chance. But if you can be at peace without seeing her again, good for you, not anyone else in the family. Everyone deals with grief, sickness in their on way, do it your way.. and my best to you and your Mom and Adam..

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