"The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy."
~ Sam Levenson
I was sick, having spent the entire previous night heaving my guts out. My leg muscles hurt and I couldn't really do anything at all besides lay on the couch and mope. I couldn't even properly mope.
I decided to call dad, and then, because I hadn't talked to her in a while, I would call my mom.
Insert ominous music here.
Dad informed me how poorly my grandfather is doing, health-wise, now. His condition has worsened so severely that they have begun the process for home hospice care. He has been in the hospital this week and growing increasingly difficult to work with. He is in momentous amounts of discomfort I am sure and, like anyone in a situation of this kind, is sick of the poking and prodding that happens when you are in a hospital for any real amount of time. Dad says the morphine drip did wonders for his mood--when he let them use it.
All in all it was a good conversation with dad, nothing special, but good considering how many years my father and I went without a real, decent talk. Now we are going on several in a row.
So I called my mom. It is painful to even begin to think about it, but it went something like this:
"Hello?" A rather loud, already perturbed sounding voice.
"Hey mom, how are you?"
"I'm fine, how are you?" Already I don't get a good vibe from her voice.
"Oh, I got really sick."I start and then debate how much I really want to say. "I threw up all night and today have a lot of muscle pain and feel generally crappy."
"Oh, wow, what do you think it is, some sort of bug or food poisoning?"
"Yeah, I think it's salmonella."
"Oh, god, where do you think you picked up THAT from?" Again, her voice gives away a lot. If I was wise I would have just said I needed to go and hung up. But no.
"I don't know, I have to think through everything I ate, it could be any number of things."
We talked back and forth about how I should take care of it a few more sentences, then it was quiet.
"Grandpa Dick is going into Hospice. " Wait for some reaction. Finally she said something.
"Oh, that's too bad."
"Yeah, he isn't doing really well, his lung cancer is really advanced." I say a couple more things about it I don't remember now.
"Well, he is pretty old, so that's the way it goes." This is already sounding bad. Loving confrontation, I continue.
"Apparently this week dad says he has been in the hospital and has been pretty belligerent with the doctors, but I think that's normal." This was the beginning of the end of this horrible experience. One moment later and I wished I never would have called.
I am going to leave this here. I don't even want to regurgitate what was said beyond this point.
Sorry to leave the audience hanging, but this is just another sordid episode in the battle everyone I have ever met has had with my mother. And its title as a movie would be something to the effect of:
"You owe me"
"What have you done for me lately"
"I have never been treated well, poor me."
I have had it. I am officially finished being judged, being the subject of passive aggressive self-fulfilling guilt trips, being told how much has been done for me and how unappreciative I am, and blamed. It's over and you know? I don't care anymore that it is my "mom" because there are plenty of people in the world who DO care, and treat me like a human being and don't hold things over me to be used later.
So Mom, have a good life and be careful how you treat people. Although I doubt you will ever let anyone get close enough to you to worry about it.
Some day, you will be alone in your world of hate, facing the end of your own days, swamped in judgment and feeling sorry for yourself... and then, well, I hope you are happy, finally. Because no one will be there to tell you you are wrong when you use your last words to once again blame the world for your faults.