Monday, October 13, 2014

Well, That Was...Something

     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.


Ed Skinner said...

You're right. It's called "family" and it's very hard. Each one goes through a different ordeal even though it's one family. Stop. Take a breath. Wait. It's all right. It's like this for every family. On the other side, each will be a different person. You don't have to like them but you'll still have that umbilical connection.

Anonymous said...

My niece and her husband were just thrown out of their home unceremoniously because of a misunderstanding with their landlord.
Her husband's brother!
Family can be terrific, but you choose your friends!


Robin said...

That kind of weird controlling behavior is indeed very wearisome.

Sorry you had to experience that.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I often feel that I have more in common with non-family than I do with family.

I haven't talked to my sister or any of my cousins in months.

But we went to an event yesterday with a couple hundred people we know via fraternal activities, and I felt like I was at a family reunion.

Family is what you make of it, I guess.

Anonymous said...

I figured somebody with your skills could fix your sister's "stuck mike" problem. ;)

In all seriousness, Im sorry she wasn't able to be a sympathetic fellow traveler (to her sister, no less) on your shared journey. You deserve better. Know that there're folks out here with you in our thoughts and prayers.

Holler if there's anything the FIC* crew can do. I mean that.


* Free Ice Cream

Comrade Misfit said...

Family: you're thrown in with them by accident and convention tells us we must love these people we grew up beside.

Ayup. I've got stories. I suspect that we all do.

Ken said...

I'm sorry for your trouble, Roberta. Don't know what else to say.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divemedic said...

I don't accept behavior from family that I would not accept from a stranger. After all, my family should treat me better than a stranger would.

rickn8or said...

What the others here have said. In every situation like this, there's always one that feels like they've had to shoulder the entire load while everyone else has loafed, and they're gonna get their licks in while they can.

Sorry you're having to deal with this, but (having BTDT) walking away is your best course.

You've still got all of us in The Free Ice Cream Crew, and while that's not much, you can tell us off collectively and individually without having to feel bad about it.

JohninMd.(HELP?!??) said...

Annnd THIS is why cops have such entrrtaining stories about domestic calls on Thanksgiving/Christmas...... As everyone else has said, sorry for your troubles, Bobbi. How's Tam doing? Kinda quiet over there, hoping all is well....or at least working.

Roberta X, remotely said...

Tam's got some project going -- good things soon, she promises.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

My only sibling, my sister, and I get along. A nine year age difference helps. Our 50+ first cousins keep things stirred up. Sis and I refuse to take sides, or keep track of who isn't speaking to who.

Kristophr said...

You don't get to choose your relatives.

rickn8or said...

"Tam's got some project going -- good things soon, she promises."

Figured as much.

But thanks for the reassurance.

fast richard said...

There is something about having a parent in declining health that brings out sibling conflicts. Hang in there. Your blog readers are better listeners than your Sister seems to be.

Vinnie said...

I have only ever had one bumper sticker. "Jesus loves you. Every one else thinks you are an asshole."
I'm an atheist. Some of my family gets the point.

Anonymous said...

Declining health of a parent can be a very bad time for everyone. They are mad at the world and take it out on the people in front of them. And some people are just hard to get along with.

The parents can do the same thing. They are mad with more justification. Still isn't easy to be the one standing there.

Even the Christians and Jews don't tell you have to love your family, only "honor your parents" whatever the hell that means.

Davidwhitewolf said...

I'm afraid your sister may be a glimpse of our future, when the masses speak in clickbait:

"You'll never guess the weird news about Dad!...

...Could it be about Mom? Find out using this one weird trick!"

SJ said...

For some reason, I'm reminded of a [translated] quote from Leo Tolstoy.

"Happy families are all alike. Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I feel like I'm late coming to this...Best wishes in dealing with the sister, and with the Mom.