For reasons I don’t fully understand, today has been one of those “teary days” that sometimes enter my life. The latter part of the last week has been full of fear, worry, disappointment and, at times, utter panic. As I’ve written previously, my mother died in February, 2012. I’d known for years that she was not mentally competent and known even longer that she had serious mental health issues. She chose not to deal with either affliction. Unfortunately, her affliction became my affliction because I shared a house with her. Day after day, I’d watch her make horrible mistakes and could do nothing. One person in whom I’d confided kept telling me to somehow “make” her do things or “make” her brothers stop protecting her so that she could receive real medical help. My mother was not someone anyone “makes” do anything. The end result was that she lived in a world that didn’t correspond with reality. Nothing I said, did, didn’t say or didn’t do made a difference. I told her in anger once that she would always find a way to screw me over even if she had to go down with me. That’s a pretty harsh thing to say to one’s mother. That didn’t mean it wasn’t true. Two utterly devastating financial decisions she made that I desperately tried to talk her out of or guide her through have come back to bite me in the ass just as I told her they would.
The financial difficulties I’m experiencing actually force me to mourn my mother. I have not had any real time to do so in the last 18 months because I’ve been too busy dealing with two creditors who hold the paper on the house and my minivan–KeyBank National Association and JPMorgan Chase Auto Finance, respectively. To say these august institutions have been “difficult” would probably be the understatement of the year. I have new grey hairs because of them. Fortunately, my attorneys have kept me away from a lot of the upsetting discourse because, honestly, I don’t think I have it in me to remain focused and calm. My mother’s death and the years that preceded it are truly tender spots on my psyche. There is a lot of unfinished business within the family confines that are deeply painful and ugly. There are days when I can barely keep the dam of anger and pain from bursting as though built with shoddy concrete and rusty steel. Inevitably, there will be cracks where the water of my tears will seep through and run down the spillway of my cheeks. Today is one of those days.
I may have written of a favorite great-uncle, Herbert, who was more some combination of grandfather/father than great-uncle. Even though he was only ten years older than my mother, he had a very big hand in raising her. It was a bond that lasted throughout their lives. Uncle Herbert preceded Mom in death by a few months shy of four years. We didn’t have a chance to say a final goodbye, but I think he understood.
Uncle Herbert was always there for me, too. He and his wife, Ethel, were my rocks when I desperately needed them growing up. Lately, as I’ve watched my world turn upside down, I have wished that Uncle Herbert were here because he’d tell me how to fix everything or protect me as best he could from the very harsh realities I may have to face. My lawyers do help me as best they can, but they can only do so much. Aunt Ethel helped me even though I was deeply ashamed for asking. In the end, it is up to me. It is my responsibility to clean up the hot mess my mother made of both our lives because I didn’t do what needed to be done: have her declared mentally incompetent and get myself appointed conservator. Kicking myself is a waste of time, as is blaming her enabling two oldest brothers who interfered when I tried to get her help. I know that I will never have the same relationship with them again. So be it. However, I have to mourn the woman she was before she was crazy and mentally incompetent, then pick myself up, gear up and fight for my life.
I think the thing I do best is fight. My existence has been a constant struggle since the day I was born. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have to fight for something or another. That’s one of the things that would have/will make an excellent litigator. I believe passionately in equanimity and fairness. To me, those are basic human rights. KeyBank made a predatory loan to a woman who had no business conducting any financial transactions at all. I even warned the loan officer that my mother was not competent, but the loan officer saw an easy mark and inserted herself into the relationship with my mother. Anytime a woman “forgets” that her daughter has fibromyalgia and a birth defect that has caused problems in various musculoskeletal areas of her body even though that daughter has been on disability since the early 1990s and several doctors have talked to her about the daughter’s needs, that woman is in serious trouble. Whether Mom really forgot or whether she just didn’t want to face facts is something I’ll never know. What I do know is that I may lose my house due to Key’s greed. I have a feeling that I am not the only person who is in this type of difficulty.
Picking myself up to fight another day is one of the most difficult things I can envision doing right now. I am so damn tired I don’t know what to do. My spirit is tired. What keeps me going is my girls. Without them, I would be locked away in an psychiatric facility undergoing God-knows-what kind of “therapy” to lift the fog of depression. Yes, I am fighting for myself, but I am fighting for them even more. We are a set; a team; a four-some. We are family. I really don’t like this house because it wasn’t built very well. However, it’s got a large backyard with incredible possibilities and I don’t have to worry about my babies making too much noise for the neighbors. I know that I live and do things for them when I can’t do them for myself. This time, I’m fighting for all of us.