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I HATED MYSELF
29 July 2013
I yelled at my mother...and hated myself for it. It was one of those days where I was grateful for her dementia, because I think she soon forgot that I'd yelled at her.
It was over something so simple, and so stupid. The weather is cooling down. It's only mid-80s today and so she had the back door open to get fresh air. For some reason, her apartment has been warmer than I like, though a temperature that I know, from experience, is fine for her. But not only is it warmer than I like, but it also makes me sleepy, so I can't stop yawning.
Since I found the fan that Walt bought me in China, the warmer temps have not been a problem. At Logos, and at my mother's, I just get out the fan and fan myself a few times.
This was the third day that I've taken out the fan and each time she asks "are you having a hot flash?"
NO, I'M NOT HAVING A HOT FLASH, I yelled at her. I haven't had a hot flash in 20 years. I went through menopause around the time of David's death.
But her question hurtled me back to a very brief moment in time during my adolescence. I must have been 13 or 14, and just beginning to develop, physically. The event is so very clear all these years later. We are riding to my grandmother's house. For some reason my mother and I are sitting in the back seat, me next to the window, she in the middle. For some reason I scratched my chest and my mother asked "Why are you itchy?" and then leaned over and tickled my barely formed breast buds and laughed "think it's because you finally have something there?" I was mortified. She frequently laughed at things like that. I never found them funny. Sexual things at that age embarrassed me.
Isn't that silly? More than 50 years later and I still remember that very brief moment, still cringe remembering it, and yell at my mother for laughing at the notion of my possibly having a hot flash.
In truth, I had gone to Atria in a bad mood already. I was taking her the book of wedding photos from her 2nd wedding. I had retrieved it from her house the last time I was there because I thought she might like to have it. But it is a book that is very painful for me. I made the cake for her wedding, and she asked me to be the photographer. And that's what I was. The cake decorator and the photographer. While she made sure I took pictures of her with every person and groups of Rynders family and Fred's kids and their spouses and his mother and father and all the grandchildren (that one included our kids), and her siblings who attended, nobody ever asked me to be in a picture. I left the wedding so hurt. Years later when I mentioned something about it she denied it. Of course there were pictures of me at the wedding, but no, there were not.
It was just the start of the 18 or so years when it was "Fred's family" and "Mildred's family," never the blended family I had hoped for, and Fred's family came first in everything. Whenever I tried to tell her how I felt, she brushed away whatever I was saying. I was wrong, of course. I was always wrong.
The problem is that she has zero concept of the times when I was hurt and even if I try to tell her it's pointless because she can't understand.
And the last thing I want to be is my father.
My father's mother went into a facility in San Rafael but hated it. She begged for my mother and father to take her to their house to live out the last days of her life. And so they did. She and my father never got along and one night they were sitting at dinner and he decided he was going to tell her all the bad things she ever did to him. My mother begged him to stop, but he got it all out of his system and told her everything about her that made him angry. It was a long list.
My mother said she watched Nannie sink lower and lower in her chair and when he finally finished she just asked my mother to help her to bed.
She went into the hospital the next day and died there within the week. My mother always said that my father's tirade killed her. I was not fond of my grandmother, but nobody deserved the treatment she got at the hands of my father.
I have buried so many hurts over the years and hold them all inside and have vowed never to bring them up because I know that she loves me, and that she always thought she was doing the best for me because of that. I also know that it is long past the time when letting her know how I felt would do anything. She won't understand and it's too late to do anything about it anyway.
But today was just a bad day and I finally left early because I was in such a rotten mood because of the album and the "hot flash" comment for the third day in a row. I also decided I need a day off and plan not to go to Atria tomorrow.
It's so difficult to visit with her because so much of the things important to me right now involve the Internet or my cell phone or something "technical" and she is so violently opposed to discussion of anything like that. She always wants to know "what exciting are you doing this week?" but if I try to tell her what I'm doing, using the simplest terms possible and avoiding as many "technical sounding" words (like "post" or "upload") she gets angry and says she guesses she should have learned all that stuff, but she had real friends and she guesses she was just stupid. Then we do the "you're not stupid; we just have different interests" conversation, after which she asks what I'm doing with myself this week.
I love her, but it's definitely time to take a day off.
One of the things I tried to explain to her was the weirdness when on-line friends die As I was writing this entry, I received word that Jim Lawrence of Jim's Journal died today during the swimming portion of a triathlon in Rhode Island. I can't believe it. He was one of my oldest journaling friends, except for Steve Schalchlin, who got me into journaling in the beginning. Jim was the most faithful contributor of comments to this journal. I always hoped to meet Jim on one of our trips to Boston. I will miss him very much.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Jim and his daughter Jill loved their races!
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