While I hate to unload on Oppo, it feels like that's almost all I've done lately. It's been a shit few weeks though.
So on September 1st I got admitted to the hospital for heart failure, my wife's birthday is September 2nd (happy birthday to her!). Still working on getting meds adjusted but I'm alive. Although the stress of the below events has definitely bumped up my BP 20 points.
Today I found out that my mother is in hospice care at home. Apparently two weeks ago she got diagnosed with terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer that's spread wildly. No phone call to us, then Thursday last week had an episode of some kind akin to a stroke and now has aphasia and diminished control of the right side of her body.
I have a complicated relationship with my family and my mother. I'm going to go into it a little since venting to Oppo is very therapeutic and allows me to work through my thoughts and emotions. The short version is that when I was 13 my parents went through a brutal divorce after 25 years of marriage and my mother got full custody. This seemed good since my father did not want anything other than visitation and is in general a huge asshole. What happened next though is this divorce kicked up my mothers bi-polar disorder from a manageable level to off the charts.
I have 5 siblings, two older (one mentally handicapped), my oldest brother was long gone at this time leaving me and 3 younger siblings ranging in age from 11 to 6 when this happened. Overnight this turned me into the sole responsible adult in the house dealing with my mother's episodes, bouts of severe depression, suicide attempts and just lack of much care altogether. Once I could drive this meant getting everyone up, fed, ready for school, dropping my older handicapped brother off at work, two younger siblings off at school then taking myself to highschool. All while also working full-time to pay for shit.
Being a 14 year old dealing with your mother after a 2 week commitment in a mental institution and electro-shock is something fucking else (I'm not ancient, this was a common treatment in Missouri well into the 00's). All the while caring for your 4 siblings. It was quite an event when you hadn't seen your mother for 2 days, then a family friend comes to give you a lie about where you mother is (which means she's in a psych hospital again) and drops off a couple casseroles.
To say this was stressful is an understatement but it's the environment that I became a man in. Upon much reflection as I've aged it definitely instilled me with a strong sense of duty, self-sufficiency and paternal instinct but also very much caused me to grow up well before I was ready to. It also thoroughly ingrained a 'walk it off' mentality deep into me regarding mental health as I took any sign of internal mental weakness as a 'failure' akin to what I'd witnessed in my mother. Through a great deal of introspection I've grown a lot there, but I still have considerable work to do.
I of course know now that her disease was not her fault but at the same time there was a lot that could have been done by her to make things easier on us. There are still a lot of old hurts that I realize now was mostly her disease but they are deep wounds. In the late 90's bible belt there definitely wasn't a lot of sympathy for a divorced mother with psychological issues.
To sum up my current feelings, I very much love my mother but have a complicated relationship with her. I haven't really talked to her more than a quick check in probably 3 years since every conversation for years revolved around only a few topics: why didn't we have children, my wife and I are going to hell since we're sinners, why don't I love her anymore (since I didn't come see her enough) and that she might as well kill herself because of the aforementioned items. For my own mental health I cut off contact with her as I was tired of the emotional blackmail.
This led to splits with my siblings as they uniformly took her side on my being a bad son as I needed some space to work shit out. They were all either gone (oldest brother) or too young to remember the worst of it and only fondly remember the manic episodes where mom would sign us out of school and drive us to Pensacola for a couple days. I got a passive aggressive voicemail this morning about needing to call one of my brothers then precious few details both during the call and since other than a clear message that they don't want me to come there (to Missouri) and see her.
I'm still torn on what to do, she likely has two months left unless another acute cardiac event happens so I've got to work through my shit and figure out what I am going to do. Likely in a few weeks I'll head out for a day or two to say my goodbyes, but I fear that will dredge up more shit than it solves.
Covid also complicates the matter, Missouri is a bad place to be in the US right now with a very high unvaccinated population (including a couple of my siblings). The reason she's home is that the hospitals and hospice care facilities are all full due to anti-vaxxers and since she's terminal the hospital refused to do any diagnostic tests after her stroke/episode.
So Oppo, thanks for listening to my nonsensical personal ramblings. It is really helpful to type this out and brain dump in a friendly place. It really helps me work through shit and I already feel a bit better.
If there's a moral to my story, it is don't ever neglect your mental health. If you need help get it, there is no shame in getting help and working on yourself.
On a completely unrelated (but happier and forum related) topic I may be buying a vehicle this week. Found something that matches enough of my preferences that I think I'll pull the trigger. The perfect vehicle doesn't really exist for me, so it's a good enough hunt right now.