Went up to Mom's old place to pick up the last few items and drop off my keys, on a kind of gray day. Warmer, at least.
No one there. Texted my brother, offering to leave the keys and use the snap lock on the front door so the place would be buttoned up, if not dead-bolted. He replied he'd be on his way shortly and my sister was en route, so considering there was little in the house, I could even leave it unlocked if had to leave before either arrived.
As I was making a last sweep through, my sister showed up. Now, we are very different people; and she did raise four very nice kids. She even writes (poetry), has taught High School and college English classes and has (as you might expect) advanced degrees. She's done an awful lot of the "detail work" with Mom, going item-by-item, weekend after weekend, in a long and often emotionally painful keep/donate/pitch. Conversely, my work and other factors have caused me to miss one entire weekend and overwhelming emotion has had me struggling to leave my house and mostly silent and distracted when I get to the old place throughout this process.
So when I said to her that this has been very difficult, she responded as if I was claiming some special burden. I tried to back away from that and she mentioned in passing Mom was scheduled for more surgery in November, then lit back into me. She made it pretty clear the price of finding out when Mom would be in the hospital was submitting to a harangue about how little I had done and how dreadfully hard she had worked, at bitter don't-you-interrupt-me length. And how "she'd been trying to tell me" about Mom's next surgery the previous weekend, in a coy series of telephone messages about "weird news about Dad," that I had asked her to just text or leave the information as voicemail, since telephone conversations with my sister are lengthy, discursive* monologues. (Also, "weird news" about a dead parent? How often is that anything you really wanted or needed to know? The guy did as best he knew and now he's gone. Leave him be.) She had refused to do so -- I found out from Mom Saturday it was just a bank mistake, in which they'd duplicated an existing account in my late father's name.
I didn't want to deal with the conflict Sunday, so I went to my car and left before my sister had worked up a full head of steam, resulting in a last-word text from her, "You'll just have to find out from your brother!" and I thought, Yes, I will. I've had it with her; for now, she's seen the last of me. And that's probably for the best.
Family: you're thrown in with them by accident and convention tells us we must love these people we grew up beside. That doesn't mean we necessarily like one another and trying to fake it just leads to more pent-up resentment. Forget that; I'm out.
* So maybe we're not that different, though I hope I am less negative.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago