*This post is a major downer, and isnt about my IVF process so please feel free to skip it. It just makes me feel better to write it down*
This morning at 8:03am my sister, the one who hasn’t spoken to me in 4 years called. Because I happen to know she’s visiting our mother, and was afraid something happened I answered the phone.
“Hi, I want to know what you know about moms condition”
“This feels loaded B, what do you want?”
“Fine, I will make this clear and frank. Are you aware that mom has pancreatic cancer?”
“Well what are you going to do about it?”
“I’m going to visit her soon, I’m going to try to get along with you and I’m going to try to be a good daughter to her. Shes a grown woman, and I have to respect her choice not to get treatment for it”
“You realize that its fatal”
“Yes, so is congestive heart failure. Endgame for pancreatic cancer is roughly 5 years. Without treatment I figure if we are lucky we will have 2″
“We can expect 2 to 2.5 years, so you’re not going to try to talk her into treatment?”
“It’s obvious I care more for her since I’m here and you aren’t, and I want her to get treatment and you don’t”
“It’s not a competition, and I live 8 hours away, you live less than an hour, where do you get the balls to call me at 8am after 4 years with this snotty, condescending attitude?”
This particular sister is 50 years old. She seems to forget that in 95′ I was the one that came home from the East Coast and took care of our father when he was first diagnosed with congestive heart failure, drove him to a million appointments, fought with his doctors about his medications and why they kept causing him to faint. It’s a long way to the ground when you’re 6’4″. At the same time our mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. Again with the Dr appointments, and the meds and the chemo and radiation. I nursed them both. Alone.
Our mother has survived breast cancer twice, she’s been to the cancer rodeo before. She doesn’t want to do it again. I understand that. I respect her decision. I choose to stay neutral. Shes never been someone that anyone could make do anything so I’m not going to try. It has nothing to do with how much I love her, it’s that I respect her decision to live her life on her own terms.
My sister also seems to forget that in 2001, I was the one that ID’ed our fathers body, closed his eyes, signed all the paperwork, chose his urn, got in touch with the priest, set up the memorial, and paid for the funeral. About that. No one ever told me that a man 6’4″ would need two urns. I also picked up his ashes and dealt with every single ugly task around his passing. Alone. Not a single one of my 4 siblings ever offered to help with even the most basic tasks.
Shes accuses me of “living my life in secret” because I don’t share anything but the very basic facts of my life with anyone in my family. I don’t share them because I don’t trust them. Because they gossip, and tend to be judgy and unkind. While I wish with every single fiber of my being that it was different, it isn’t. I can’t make it so. So I keep my stepdaughter achievements to myself, I don’t tell them when we have gone through a rough patch, I don’t tell them about my successes or failures. And none of them know about my IVF or anything else in my life that matters. My mother and sisters have these hen parties where I get regularly trashed and gossiped about. They say I am “stuck up”, and have my “nose in the air” and that I think “I am too good for them”.
None of those things are true. I don’t think I am better than anyone. In fact, if I am perfectly honest, I have spent my whole life feeling not good enough, not accomplished enough, just not, enough. I guess to them, my reserve comes across as aloof. It’s not my intention. I swear that it’s self-preservation. it’s the only way I can subdivide my life into chunks that I can handle.
My husband wants to bring my mother here and have her live with us until the end. I will talk to her about it. If, on Friday, I wind up scheduled for an egg retrieval, I will go through with it, and then I will drive the 8 hours to see my mother. I will talk to her about coming to live with us and I will do my best to put the past in the past.
I haven’t posted a song in a while, but this one seems fitting to me. It’s a cover of a Bonnie Raitt song. I know it’s about lovers, but for me it represents all the feelings I have about my family.