Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Family Ties (or the 4 A's)

Hello, everyone. Know it's been a minute since I have scribed, and that is a shame. I will have to get back to using writing as a catharsis because so many things have gone down, and if I go back to bottling it up, the end result will definitely not be a pretty one.

For those who peeped my Facebook status, you are probably wondering what the heck is going on. What happened between last Wednesday and now?

Time for a little backtracking and summarizing. I am not going to tell the long version of the story because it may deviate too much from the focus of this blog, but I will say this:

To me, my grandparents are my Mama and Papa because they raised me. My grandfather is the only father I know. I haven't seen my father, interacted with him, none of that...I don't even truly know what he looks like. I am the person I am today because of them.

About a year and a half ago, the doctors discovered polyps in my grandpa. They had cancerous potential and they recommended that my grandpa undergo the surgery to have them removed. So they were able to get almost all of them; they ran tests on the few that were remained and they were deemed to not be a threat.

Or so the doctors thought.

My grandfather started complaining about being in lots of pain. Loss of appetite. Not being able to fully sleep through the night. So he got rushed back in the hospital and the very ones the doctors believed weren't a threat had not only got out of dormant stage but had spread through his body. The doctors concluded that my grandfather's body could not take the chemo (because of his age...he's 92) and feared the cancer had already become too advanced.

So they started talking about different options, like putting him in a nursing home, hospice, etc. He is discussing this with my uncle and my mom (who hadn't got back into MS too long ago, like this past fall). Neither of them have had the best relationship with Grandma or Grandpa at all, and at times, their presence causes more stress than not.

My mom was looking into putting him into a hospice, but Grandma wanted to make the final decision. Grandpa was sick but he was still able to move around, talk...he was still somewhat active and could still do things for himself. Grandma didn't see why he couldn't be at home with her...she would look into those other things only if he got to the point where he couldn't fully function.

So the doctors gave him medication to make the pain and restlessness bearable and opted to send him home on Thursday.

Grandma had called me on Wednesday to give me the details of everything; she said he had been asking for me.

So I made a split decision to make the journey down. I didn't tell anyone. All I knew was that I wanted Grandpa to have his wish sooner rather than later, and although I hadn't saved up enough money for a plane ticket, train ride or what not, I had to trust that my car was in good enough decision for a round trip of 38 hours of driving. I wanted it to be a pleasant surprise.

Side Note: For my friends down South, my apologies for not stopping by. My main focus was to see about my grandpa and the way the GPS took me, some of the states I didn't have to cut through.

Also keep in mind that I don't have the best relationship with my uncle who's there, and I have a horrible relationship with my mom. I hadn't laid eyes on her in about eleven years, and that interaction did not turn out well at all.

But my love for my grandparents easily overrides any aggravation and trama that is associated with her or my uncle. I hadn't thought of how to handle the two of them--I just wanted to be there for my grandparents.

So I arrived in MS around 8pm on Thursday. I saw my mom outside. I spoke to her, and at first she didn't really recognize me. And then I gave her a hug. She hugged me back and then I asked her where Grandma and Grandpa were.

Grandpa had walked to the door; Grandma was wondering what is going on. Lots of hugs, kisses and what not. Grandma flabbergasted because I said nothing to her about my coming but both of them were glad that I did.

Amount of hours before petty stuff starts popping off....um, on Thursday night, about three hours I say.

Grandma hadn't been prepared for my arrival. I wasn't expecting a bed to be ready, and I am aware of how much stuff my grandma and grandpa had. Plus, I know my grandma's condition--she's taking medication for her blood pressure, a weak heart, and for her bones. I'm not going to expect her to clean nor cook. I had an air mattress in the car...blew it up and set up to sleep in the den area.

As I was preparing for bed, my mom calls the house and offered for me to sleep in one of the rooms in her trailer. She had the place to herself--she had sent my youngest sister off to stay with my other sister and her husband for the week and didn't expect her back until the weekend. She thought that I didn't have room to sleep in the house because of all "the junk" that was in there. I told her I appreciated the offer but I was okay.

I know you are thinking,
How would that cause any drama?
Most normal people would see the following things:

1. It would be very awkward to spend the night with someone you haven't had a kosher relationship with...ever, particularly with an 11 year drought.
2. If the focus is to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa, it would make more sense to be in the house where Grandma and Grandpa are at.
3. I know the house I grew up in. I know what is treasure and what is trash. I have always found it amazing that both my mom and my uncle called their parents' stuff "junk" (yes this is their mom and dad) but they are always asking to borrow (more like have) all of the "so-called junk".

But my mom didn't see it that way.

Fast forward to the next day.

I wake up to make sure Grandpa took his medication. He has pills that he takes every twelve hours. I make breakfast and coffee for Grandma and myself...kind of like the old days when she and I would sit on the porch, drinking coffee and chatting.

I notice when looking in the refrigerator there is no food or anything to drink, and Grandma and Grandpa let it slip that a lot of times, my mom and my uncle come up and eat and drink quite a bit of the food but more often than not, do nothing to replace it. He also let me know that he had to put gas in my mom's car for the trip to get him from the hospital and had to give them money to eat.

I also saw that laundry had been piling up, so I asked Grandma did she want me to wash it and go to the laundry mat to dry the clothing. She was like "okay", so I went about the task at hand. Some of the clothes could fit on the clothesline, and those that could I put out there. All the others I packed in the car.

While I was outside, my mom drives up in one of her cars (she has three vehicles, 2 cars and a truck) and asks me when I am going to stop by and see her. I told her I was doing stuff for grandpa and when I was done with it, I would stop by there. She told me okay and drove down to the trailer.

And as I was hanging the clothes, I couldn't help but wonder, "She has all these vehicles and she doesn't work; why doesn't she have time to stop by to help Grandma or run errands or check on Grandpa?"

Instead, Grandma has to ask different people to help out, and my mom is literally not even five minutes from the house. On the same property...her trailer is on Grandpa's land.

I made up my mind I was not only going to make sure the laundry was done but to make sure Grandma and Grandpa had food and drink as well as dinner.

Doing all this took a bit longer than anticipated, and by the time I finished up, I was a bit tired and wanted to wind down. So I was looking at TV, and I felt myself drifting off, near falling asleep.

The phone rings, and Grandma answers it, and it's my mom. She is asking where I'm at and what I am up to, and Grandma tells her. Next thing I know, I hear my grandma's voice get really loud, and it doesn't get like that unless she is really upset, so I quickly wake up and run into the other room to find out what happened.

To sum it all up, in my mom's mind, she made it seem like I didn't want to spend time with her or my youngest sister (who got dropped off a day earlier than anticipated) because I was busy helping out her mom and dad. So she said a few comments that struck a nerve and my grandma said that she wasn't going to deal with her drama and hung up the phone on her.

My mom, being the drama queen that she is, decided to tell my uncle her version of events, and he comes up to the house. He is bumming in my mom's old trailer, also located on...you guessed it, Grandpa's property. So instead of finding out all sides of the story (since he wants to get in the mix so badly), he starts yelling at Grandma about "family and how family needs to get to know each other."

I find it very ironic that he, of all people, would say this because of all the dirt he had done to the family, and that is a whole 'nother blog altogether. When I lived at home, he never got to really know me nor did anything for me. He, like my mom, always thought they were entitled to something. They tend to carry around things they still feel resentment about many years ago that constantly manifest themselves into the present.

I feel like instead of waiting until tragedy strikes to do right, a person should do strive to do and be right all the time. In other words, don't act like you are the uncle/sibling of the frigging year all this time when you just started to act like a decent person.

It was only until Grandpa came out that my uncle stormed out. It was reliving 11 years ago all over again, only back then, it was my Grandma that had just gotten released from the hospital.

So I had to go and calm down Grandpa, since this interaction really upset him. He couldn't understand why my uncle jumped in the situation and why he had to yell at Grandma the way he did. I didn't understand initially why my spending time helping my grandparents was an issue.

Then I had to calm down Grandma, and the more time went on, the more I realized this was another instance of stuff my mom hadn't dealt with.

My mom was still up to her old tricks:

1. Trying to rewrite history to make herself look better.
2. Causing drama when she doesn't get the attention she needs.
3. Misinterpreting events to fit her viewpoint.
4. Getting others involved in the drama and placing the right spin on it to make her claims seem valid.
5. Being too cowardly to show her face after she's left the damage.
6. Never apologizing, especially when she is wrong.

Her rewrite of why she left me with my grandparents: My grandma insisted that I stay and keep her company.

If that what helps her sleep at night, so be it, but it doesn't change the fact that she left. It doesn't change the fact that there are too many eyewitnesses that know what really went down and who informed me of what the deal is.

The drama: I didn't come running at her beck and call by not spending the night at her trailer and by not getting around to spend time with her when she requested me.

It didn't matter if it was because I was being there for her mom and dad; she was pissed off because she wasn't the priority. It didn't matter if I had decided I was going to make time with her the following day after I completed my errands. Because it wasn't on her timetable, she felt the need to make a scene.

The viewpoint: "My mom is keeping my child away from me. She must be telling her stuff about me. It's because of her the family isn't tighter. I'm going to let her know she can't keep her away from me...."

play the violin.....yada yada yada

Same argument since I was born, not taking responsibility for her actions. My grandma never had to tell me anything about my mom because the simple way my mom acts speaks volumes. My mom's actions keep me away from her; the toxic energy keeps me away; her inability to improve keeps me away. She still doesn't get the picture that hurting Grandma and Grandpa, the very ones that raised me to ensure I wasn't a ward of the system, is hurting me, disrespecting me, not honoring me, and not loving me....if she acted like a decent human being to them, the healing process can truly start, but both of them, being at their weakest point, and she still doesn't show them appreciation? Absolutely sickening!

The Spin: "Brother, Monica isn't trying to get to know her sister. The family needs to stick together. I am trying to explain this to Mom, and she hung up the phone on me....."

So she gets my uncle worked into a frenzy, spins it to where it is about my disconnect with her, driving him into action because of the disconnect I have with him as well, which is also a lot of past drama....

Somehow my being there for Grandma and Grandpa in their time of need gets lost. Also, that my mom is mad for my youngest sister being dropped off a day early and trying to figure out how to keep her occupied while she socializes and stays on the Internet all day. Then, the game plan changes--to try to create guilt on my end so I can spend time with her and my sister when I already knows it will just be my sister and me while my mom does her thing.

Sorry, it's just her pattern. I've already seen the blueprint play out. How do you think she got my other sister to watch her during the entire spring break while she was doing her? I'm a little wiser than she gives me credit for.

Unfortunately, my uncle isn't, and he falls for the trap every single time. He fell for it eleven years ago, too. Some things never change.

The cowardice: After that event, do you think she has even called, showed her face?

The apology: Do you think it came?

Well, let's see. After seeing my grandparents so worked up, you really think that prompted me to spend time with any of them? Also, if I did, I had to ask myself if I could guarantee that I could be as civil as I were when I first arrived?

If I couldn't answer yes to the later, then I had to stay away. Spend the remainder of the next day with my grandparents because I had to get on the road early Sunday to make my way back to NJ.

And that's exactly what I ended up doing.

I knew Grandma would still want to talk and vent about things; I was always her sounding board for that. Plus she didn't want to rile up Grandpa again via venting.

She did call my other uncle in Cali to explain what happened, and I guess he is finally realizing my mom being there isn't necessarily a good thing and he's making plans sooner rather than later to come down because neither Grandma or Grandpa want to interact too much with my mom or my other uncle.

Neither my uncle or my mom stopped by or called Saturday or the day I left. It didn't surprise me; it was what I expected. Family can't truly bond if the elephant of pettiness is in the room.

Perhaps if my mom, would start doing the four A's, it would come a long way toward family building

Then they can actually mean the stuff instead of throwing around the word when they haven't grasped the concept.

First A: Acceptance. Accept what you cannot change. Quit trying to rewrite the past. Focus on the here and the future. Work with what is in front of you.

Second A: Acknowledgement. Take responsibility for your actions and the consequences...the good and the bad.

Third A: Apologize where there is wrong doing.

Fourth A: Advancement. Try not to repeat the things from the past--use those things towards the present and the future to mold you into becoming a better human being.

My relationship with my mom will never be the relationship I have with my grandparents. It took me a while but I have accepted that the mother I wanted--loving, caring, nurturing--is not the woman who pushed me out. I had to let the illusion go and adjust accordingly. It is time she does the same.

I just pray she comes to her senses before it is too little, too late.

Perhaps it already is.


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