Sunday, 4 May 2008
The One Where They Tell Me I'm A Murderer.
So. It's Sunday. You started to really leave us on Wednesday. I haven't, at this stage had any sleep since Tuesday Night/Wednesday morning (where I got up at 4am). I'm not eating, and I'm starting to need some space. There are people everywhere, in and out whenever they please. I feel cold to the bone and the walls are starting to close in on me.
I decide it'd do me good to get out for a couple of hours. Dad's at home. Mum's parents are there. Gemma and Michael are there. Tamara is there. Mum's brother and his wife are there. Daniel is there.
I ask Joel if he'll take me to church that morning. A couple of hours in a safe haven, surrounded by my friends, with time to reflect on the spirituality that was so important to both Mum and I.
I went away for two hours, and was rejuvenated. I had what I needed to go back and become a carer and a daughter, a counsellor and a hostess again.
Possible I should have stayed where I was. We drove into the driveway to see my grandparents, I think Tamara, My Uncle and Aunt and my SIL huddled around a car. Clearly, my grandmother was angry, and riling up my sisters with her.
"I'm leaving". She snaps at me, turning her back. She kisses my Uncle and my sisters goodbye. "You, I'll deal with you later" she spits at me.
I have no idea what she's talking about. None. Bewildered, I wander inside with Alexander nestled in my arms, Joel's protective one around me. I hand over my sleeping baby and walk into Mum's room. Dad's not there. He's on the phone in the office, and I hear him getting more and more angry. I can hear only his half of the conversation, of course. I can hear that it is Susan, Mum's sister. Mum's sister who is the most dramatic, manipulative, troublemaker I know.
She'd come to stay with us only two weeks earlier (Dad and I were dreading it, more than I can possibly convey in words). It was a wonderful week, for everyone. It seemed healing. She got to say her goodbyes (She lives in Sydney) and we got to talk to her.
She talked a lot about their childhood. It was messy (this we knew, of course, from Mum). Their father had sexually abused them, and when they confronted their mother she told them they were lying and sided with her husband. As was common back in the 70s.
Susan was upset, and Mum of course had her issues. In fact, much of her breakdown 3 years earlier had been about that. Her hysterectomy and resulting anxiety and depression had turned into a trigger for much, much darker memories. Never, ever had she received an apology, or so much as an admission for the trauma she endured at thier hands.
Susan suggested that Mum needed to hear this apology. That it was important. She and dad discussed confronting my grandfather and forcing him to apologise to her before she died. At length, they talked about it. I was less sure. Mum was actually quite close to her parents. She had chosen to let it go, for the sake of her family. Perhaps she didn't feel ready, I don't know. I just know she had been utterly adamant that nothing be said.
Dad agreed. It wasn't worth it, unless she wanted it. He agreed to ask her what she wanted. She was horrified at the prospect. She was weeks from death. This was not even remotely the time, or something she wanted to be dealing with. We agreed to drop the matter, but told her if she changed her mind, we'd support her.
So the matter, we thought was dropped. She was (susan) distressed at the level of pain mum was experiencing. Mum constantly refused her morphine, hating the way it made her drowsy and disoriented, especially if there were people (other than Dad, Joel and I) around. I was adamant that while she was conscious, the medical decisions were hers. I know I could have easily slipped some morphine into her medication mix. I was administering no less than 14 different medications in a day. One more was nothing. Except unethical and dishonest. It showed no respect for her and her dignity or autonomy. So much control had been taken from Mum during this illness.
She couldnt' walk. She coudln't stand alone. She couldn't move her legs. She couldn't eat. She couldn't swallow. She couldn't toilet or dress. She couldn't brush her hair or teeth. She couldn't move her fingers anymore, so all communication was conveyed via me (as she was unable to write, type or even point to letters on a letterboard any longer). I'd be damned before I would take away any control I didn't have to.
As I've mentioned before, Mum was determined to live until our Memorial (our version of Easter, a memorial commemoration of Jesus' death). That year it was to fall on April 16th. She said that after that day, if she were still with us, she would agree to the medication. That she was ready, tired of the pain. Tired of waiting. She would take any morphine and allow herself relief, and rest.
Well. Susan decided to call, this Sunday morning. She informed my Grandmother that I had said that after the memorial, I was going to "hit her with everything". Every drug in my arsenal. I was going to euthenase her.
And they believed her. And honestly (competitive bitch that I am), I don't know what offended or outraged me more. That they thought I would kill her myself. Or that if I did, I'd do such a half assed job of it that I'd let her linger in pain for 5 freaking days of agony.
Edited: because there was a reason all of that molestation stuff was in there. Susan also told my Grandmother that I was planning to blackmail them with the molestation accusation when she died. We were going to split up the family. Yes. Susan. The one who wanted us to do it. After we told her we wouldn't, as it wasn't what Mum wanted. Now decided that I'd brought it up and was going to use it against them all.
Stay tuned. She'll feature again before the week is out.
So. Somehow, I was to spend the last day of my mother's life, dealing with a family that had turned on me. They were going to go to the police. They were going to see I was dealt with. And that now that it's come up, they didn't like how I looked after her.
I was controlling. I didn't let them see her. I didn't let her see them. I was domineering and selfish and wanted nothing but power. I was living with them for the money.
Uh Huh. For the money. Joel and I moved from a sweet little house, with a fixed rent of only $150 per week. To a home 3 times that price. For the money. Joel went to part time work, to help with Alexander, so I could care for mum. For the money.
And don't forget the power. The truth is, that mum was uncomfortable with anyone but Dad, Joel and I. Even my sister and brother made her feel she had to be 'together', be able to 'talk' to them. Pretend. And her parents actually became angry any time she used her lightwriter, insisting she could talk to them.
So, on a bad day, she would ask me to cancel visitors, so she could take her drugs. She didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, she just didn't want to deal with them. As her carer, her advocate, it was my job to give her anything she wanted. So I would call. Say "I'm sorry. She's really not well enough today. Can we leave it, try again this afternoon or tomorrow".
A couple of times they tried to ignore me. Show up at the door anyway. Counting on me being far more malleable than I actually am, when it comes to protecting someone I love. I refused to let them see her. Told them they were welcome inside. That I'd sit and have a cuppa and some biscuits with them. But that they wouldn't be able to see Mum.
I know I was the bad guy. BUt it was better than hurting them. Saying "You know what. You stress her out. She'd rather not see you today" I still, even after all of this time, haven't told them how she felt. Cause, you know. I'd hate to hurt them. God I'm an idiot.
So here I was. Suffering Post Natal Depression. Nursing a 12 week old baby. I'd be caring for my mother for a few months. In the past weeks, I'd also been caring for my father, who'd had back surgery. I was playing nurse, confidant, mother, sister, daughter, grandaughter, niece and counsellor. Cook, cleaner and businesswoman.
And they branded me a selfish, controlling killer.
That, my friends, takes us to about 2pm. I'm tired. I'll be back later tonight.
Taken a month before she died. She is in the background of this pic.