Thursday, December 20, 2012

Don't I feel stupid?

So I wrote a big, long blog entry about my Mom today.  I'm sitting here, crying my eyes out over a blog I almost certainly will never publish.  What a mess I am.

After struggling with it all morning, I guess all I can say is this--don't let life pass you by.  My Mom has spent the past 37 years waiting for life to happen to her.  She's almost 79 years old now--she is alone, she has no friends, is bankrupt, and is unutterably sad.  And resigned.  And yet, she will take no steps to improve her situation, and no amount of prodding or encouragement inspires her.  37 years she's been like this.  37 years I have begged her to meet people, to do things, to go places, to live.  She is, by turns, angry, bitter, sad, disappointed, scared, desperate, and always, always alone.  No friends, no hobbies, no activities, no hope.

Don't do that.  Don't let it race by you, because the days may seem to crawl, but the years gallop.  And suddenly you're not 41 anymore, you're 78.  And it's too late for you because you don't know how to change, you don't dare.  You're paralyzed with fear, and you're utterly alone with a lifetime of regret for all the things you didn't do.  And your kids?

Your kids are paralyzed, too--with guilt.  With sadness.  And they grieve for you even before you die. 

I love you, Ma.  I am so sorry.


  1. I'm afraid that I am a negative as my mother was. I always see the dark side first. She was a very lonely woman and we all thought she would be happier surrounded by people at a Nursing Home. She was not. She just became more self centered and did not leave her room or socialize with others. She died at 93. She finally got her wish.

  2. My in-laws were like this. They would not travel, because they didn't want to put "wear and tear" on the car, were afraid of flying, didn't want to travel by train, bus, whatever excuse they could think of. They were both from Massachusetts and often lamented how impossible it was to go back home for a visit, even though they could easily afford it. They'd moved to Brigham City for his job, but after he retired, they would not venture further than Layton, ever. As Catholics, they had never managed to make any real friends in Brigham, except for a Mexican lady in the neighborhood, and racism seemed to keep them from considering her a friend. They had hobbies, including cleaning their house and puttering around the yard, and complaining about everything in the world. At least they had each other. Until she passed away, and suddenly it was just one bitter old man too cheap to even turn on his TV, too angry to talk to anyone, besides that one, saintly Mexican neighbor who came to check on him every day. But since she is Mexican, and poor, she's not worthy to be considered a real friend. He just got more and more depressed, but I guess when you are in your 80s that is somewhat normal? I compared him to my grandma, who lived in a tiny burg in Oklahoma and was alone for several years before she died. She also hardly ever traveled and didn't like to spend money, but when she passed, she had just bought a new computer and was learning how to use it, and her funeral ran a bit long due to all of the people that wanted to speak about how she had touched their lives.
    Me though? I've spent half my life waiting for something to happen, and I don't have a lot of hobbies, most of my friends are not close friends, and I'm just not going to waste any more time. I am going to make a real effort to travel to at least some of the places I've always wanted to go, and to do things other than read and talk and dream.
    Your mom made her own choices and even if she seems to not have done things that you wish she had done, it's not your fault. She has a family and you care about her, so she's doing better than some people, at least there is that.

  3. Merikay, I struggle with not falling into the trap of becoming my Mom. I've been blessed (cursed?) with a well-developed sense of empathy, which my mom never had. Plus, I have a tendency to blame myself when things go sour, whereas she invariably blames everyone else. Those, I think, are the things that will keep me from being her. That said, I definitely have the negativity and the habit of seeing the worst in a situation sometimes. And my Dad's sarcasm, which doesn't help!