I get angry with my mom a lot. I have for a long time now. It doesn't take much...the same question asked too many times, not having enough money for things, losing the dog every three weeks, the list goes on. That sounds bad....like I'm trying to cast her in an unfair light that makes her look irresponsible or incapable. That's not my intention. I have no intention or desire to cast her in any light other than the bright, loving, beautiful one she deserves to be seen in.
It's myself that I intend to cast such a dim light over.
Because I'm the one at fault. I'm the selfish immature child who throws a fit when something I don't like is said or done.
I get angry with her over simple, stupid things that she doesn't deserve to have me get angry with her about. I don't talk to her about things because I don't want to hear what she'll have to say about them. I don't invite her places with me because I never know what kind of state she'll be in because of her pain and the medication she has to take for it. I get angry and say things like, "Why do you have a phone if you never answer it!?" when she's lost her phone, or simply didn't hear it ring. I get annoyed when she asks for help with her computer, phone, facebook, ect. I'm impatient with her, even when I know she's trying so hard to understand the things I'm feeling, or trying to tell her. And she doesn't deserve that.
The problem is, I don't know how to change those things.
Because it's not my mom that I'm so angry with...
It's her fibromyalgia.
Her rheumatoid arthritis.
The medicine she has to take that replaces the real her, with the only half there, foggy version of herself that's left.
It's the medicine that eats away at her heart, kidneys, and every other vital organ needed for survival.
It's the 16 pills a day that she has to take in order to not be in crippling, unbearable pain 24 hours a day.
It's the medicine that takes her from one misery, to a completely different, more frightening one. Sometimes I think that if they could talk they would say something like, "Here, I'll trade you...pain for a heart attack. Or liver or kidney failure. Cancer. You're going to be miserable either way, so why not delay it for as long as possible?"
I know she's never going to be okay. I know it's only a matter of time until things get worse. I'm reminded of it every time she asks me the same question four times in one conversation, or can't come see me because she can't get out of bed. Or when my dad forgets to pick up her pills and her body starts going into withdrawal. But mostly I'm reminded of it when she spends time doing the things she loves most, like playing with my nephews and nieces, or scrapbooking the weekend away, and then her fibromyalgia flares up and she can't do anything but pray for sleep until it passes a day or two later.
I hate her disease. I hate the medicine. I hate them both for what they're doing to her. For what they've always done to her. I hate them for slowly killing her. I hate them for taking so much of her away from me before I was even old enough to get to know her for who she really was. Who she used to be. And I hate them for taking her away from me still. For slowly, day by day, sucking the life out of her. Leaving behind a small frail version of herself that tries to hard to be strong. To be what her kids needed her to be. To be what her grandkids need her to be. To be the employee her bosses need her to be.
That's why I get so angry. So impatient. So shut down. Because it's easier to shut her out and distance myself from her than it is to admit how scared I am of losing her. To come to grips with the fact that she might not get to be at my wedding someday. Or even get to meet the poor guy and embarrass me with whatever it is that Mom's always seem to embarrass their daughters with upon meeting their boyfriends.
My mom was 42 when I was born. She calls me her gift from God because she found out she was pregnant with me a few months after my Grandma died of lung cancer. It's been 20 years since my Grandma died. My mom's 61 now, and still talks about how much she misses her mom and then begins to cry. And then she tells me the same story about how my Grandma accepted Christ before she died, and then she smiles and changes the subject.
I don't want my mom to be sick. I never have. When I was little I used to think that if I prayed hard enough she would get better. That if I was good enough than I would never lose her. That maybe, just maybe God would spare me that pain.
But now I'm not so sure. Of course now I know that my mom's sickness isn't dependent on my good behavior. But I also know that she's not getting any better. That she's not going to. she knows it. she knows how upset it makes me when she talks about it too, so she doesn't do that very often. But she did it tonight when she took me out for coffee. She said her plan is to try to make it to 67 so she can retire, and then hopefully, if she's really lucky, live to be 70.
When my mom is 70, I'll only be 28.
A few months ago I came across this quote from C.S. Lewis that I loved so much I wrote it on a piece of paper I ripped out of a surfing magazine and taped it to the wall next to my bed.
Now I wish I had never seen it. Much less put it on my wall where it hangs, staring a hole into the side of my head. Because it's true. He's absolutely right. I should just accept it and move on. After all, can I lessen the pain I'm bound to feel by telling myself that it's not true? That I'll be the exception to the rule? That I'll be the one who goes unscathed and without the pain death brings to all who live this life? No...I don't think I can. I think to convince myself of such a thing would only make it that much more painful when my delusion of safety were to come crashing down.
"I had yet to learn that all human relationships end in pain-it is the price that our imperfection has allowed Satan to exact from us for the privilege to love."