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My Mom is going nuts.

She is becoming her mother.

She thinks she is dying.  Is living under the assumption that she is dying soon.  Everything she does, all of her pain and suffering,  seems to be done for attention.  Just like her mother did.  Even dying was an attempt for attention for my grandmother.

Pay attention to me.  I am in pain.  I am dying.

The guilt trips are summoned with the desperation of someone who is alone.

No one ever calls.  Your kids don’t respond to my emails.  I never get to see you. 

My father is there.  He is trying to understand.  He is scared.  He is tired of trips to the ER in the middle of the night.  He is tired of the endless amounts of tests that all show she is perfectly healthy.

Son, is it possible this is all in her mind?

I don’t know, Dad.  He asks me not only because I am his oldest son, but because I am the one who has the experience with knee and foot surgeries, having gone through the recoveries for both procedures and more than once.  I am old enough to have been mature enough to understand what my grandmother did to her daughter the last few years my grandmother was alive, was the boy who visited her and took care of her house and car, listened to her lament for my dead grandfather, how she wished she was with him.

I want to die.

My mother is saying that.  Dad says that he hears it several times a day.  As I listened to my Dad tell me about that last night the resignation in his voice told me a lot.  Dad is used to the strong woman he has known for more than fifty years, the type of woman who never gives up, that fights like a bull dog, who stood up for her husband and her boys with the devotion that only a wife and mother can have.  I am used to that also.  I also heard my mother say many times that she will never become like her mother.  Her mother gave up.  Her mother wanted to die.  Her focus turned inward and she could think of nothing else.

Son, she is your grandmother.  Your mother has become what she said she would never become.

I couldn’t disagree with that.  Two weeks ago, Mom sent an email to me, my brothers, our wives, our children.  It was wishes from a death bed, instructions to never forget God, always respect your parents, an admonition that she will be gone soon.

I am going to visit my parents this weekend, a relatively short two and a half hour drive south from Chicagoland. Mom has already shown her approval by sending out an email to my brothers and I — “STEVE is coming to visit this weekend”.  Funny thing is that one brother lives 45 minutes away, comes to see her frequently and my parents visit him frequently.  My other brother, a successful executive for the Sears company up here in Chicago, comes down to visit a whole lot more than I do.  Dad is planning the meals, looking forward to the time we are going to spend together.  I am not bringing Miriam or the kids.  It’s just going to be me.   I think Dad needs the time to visit with me without the distraction of my family, needs to get away from the stress of caring from my Mom.  I am looking forward to spending a little time with friends, need the time away myself.  With all that is going on in my life, I am going a bit nuts myself.

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