Friday, March 14, 2008

'The Man' Tales - In The End

Three weeks before D was to arrive, my friend from Guelph came for a holiday with her daughter and son aged 4 and 5. I’m not sure if my mother offered me her motor home because she liked my girlfriend, or because she didn’t want the little children to be cold out ‘camping’ – but I had never been offered the use of it before. Whatever her reasons were, I wasn’t going to refuse and off we went on an adventure into the Rocky Mountains. We camped in some of the most beautiful spots in the world, secure from the bears and creatures in the motor home. We traveled up to Banff National Park where we camped at Johnson Canyon and then moved on to Marble Canyon. In the mornings we rose early and watched the mist rise off the river as we sat in our lawn chairs and drank our tea – wrapped in our blankets and sporting our slippers. We let our supper cook in the oven as we drove from one breathtaking camping spot to another, delighting in the simple fact that our meal was ready for us when we settled for the evening. We escaped!

At the end of a week filled with laughter in a friendship that had only grown deeper with time – I took them to the airport and dropped them off. As I saw them off at the gate, I rubbed myself with glee knowing that D would be coming into this same airport in a couple of weeks. Somewhere between the airport and my home, I started to get a headache. By the time I staggered up the walk to the big blue barn, it was all I could do to get myself up to the third floor and onto my bed. I don’t know how or when my cousin found me curled on top of the comforter, but I do remember him carrying me back down the sidewalk and taking me to the local hospital.

The doctor on call took one look at me and thought it was Meningitis and suggested it would be faster for my cousin to race me to the big city then it would be for him to get the ambulance. He picked me up once more and put me in his car and raced for the next hospital. I remember that. The next thing I remember is waking in a hospital bed and saying I was hot. A nurse was sitting beside my bed and immediately took my temperature before racing for ice and fans. I remember thinking how cold I was before sinking into the blackness once more.

The next time I awoke my mother and younger sister were sitting on chairs beside the bed and were in the middle of a prayer when I opened my eyes. I was surprised to see them there and to find that I was indeed in a hospital. My brother appeared for a while at the foot of the bed and his face made me wonder if something was wrong, but it all faded again as I slipped away into the darkness. The next time I awoke my brother was gone but my sister and mother were again deep in prayer, but they had changed their clothes. I became aware of bags and tubes and monitors everywhere, but somehow I couldn’t relate it to me. My mother kept asking me where my friend and I had been and what we had done. I thought that perhaps I had damaged the motor home and didn’t know it – but that didn’t seem to be the case. However, it just seemed easier to slip back into that dark place then answer any more questions.

Another time I woke to find my cousin sitting with my mother and sister and he beamed at me when I became aware of their presence. I had no idea that a week had passed while they came in and out of my room and said their prayers. After that I began to get some strength back and could stay awake for longer periods of time. My mother came every day and held my hand while she visited. Her kindness and attitude overwhelmed me and I often found myself in tears when she departed.

Slowly my strength returned and I was allowed to walk the halls with a nurse. The doctors had no idea what had caused my illness. After they ruled out Meningitis they wondered if I had Malaria. When that was ruled out they wondered if I had been infected by a mosquito. As this was before West Nile Virus was named – they didn’t have much to go on and could only react to my symptoms. I had been in the hospital long enough to interfere with the arrival of D and the plans that we would work together on the store computers. When my worrying about missing D started to affect my health, the specialist wrote a letter to the airline and they let him change his flight.

There came a day when I was strong enough to walk the halls without the walker they had parked beside my bed. Putting on my housecoat and slippers I set off down the long corridor with my hand trailing against the wall in case I weakened. When I got to the end I turned the corner and kept going – happy to be able to go a little further. Down this corridor I came across a little room where they served tea and cookies to patients and visitors. With my strength waning quickly, I slipped into a chair and accepted a hot cup of tea and listened while someone played the piano that sat in the corner. I kept wishing my mother was there to share a cup of tea with me and listen to the pianist. When I finally got up enough strength, I made the long slow journey back to my room and climbed up onto my bed.

Weary but triumphant over my gathering strength, I was surprised when a nurse came in a told me she had a message for me. My mother had been to visit as usual and could not find me. They had paged me several times over the PA system but I didn’t hear anything over the piano in the tearoom. When I didn’t return to my room she told the nurses to tell me that since I hadn’t come when they called, that she would never return. And she didn’t.

22 comments:

dawn said...

It was always up and down with your family. Amazing she would be so hard headed about the whole thing.

Thalia's Child said...

You know... I've been reading your blog for a bit now... And I never know what to say.


I think it remarkable how candid you can be about something that must be so painful to you.

softinthehead said...

OMG (again) so often your story leaves me spluttering in indignation and frustration for you. Everything is so black and white with your mother. I'll stop there!

Living the Dream said...

Like everyone else, I don't know what to say. I wish I was there to give you a hug.

Beckie said...

Wow...that is all I can say....Wow.

dND said...

I too am speechless, I can't get over your family.

Please, please let there be a happy ending.

Deborah

Lane said...

Noo. She can't have said that. Surely.
What to say?
And your illness? Life sure threw some stuff at you Aims:-(
This sounds serious.

david mcmahon said...

I'm sure your mother offered the motor home for BOTH reasons!!

Loved your answer on my Formula One post.

The thing that needs to come down (and it has!!) is the sign saying ``20 kmh'' on the bend!!

laurie said...

what? she said what?? jesus h. christ.

lisa marie said...

I can't believe that she couldn't give a little more effort while you were ill/recovering.

Sweet Irene said...

My God, I am really sorry to say this, but your mother is such a bitch! The games she plays are incredible. I'm surprised you turned out as normal as you did.

I am really sorry, Aims, but her behavior is so totally unacceptable, even though I know I'm talking about your mother. She is a very disturbed individual.

Canadian flake said...

OMG I sooooo wish I could smack the snot out of your Mom...man oh man she makes me so mad...

Sorry...didn't mean to get worked up there...

I Beatrice said...

If this were fiction we'd all know what to say here. But since it's not - well I for one am temporarily speechless!

holly said...

okay i don't know the background of your family, but that is really really odd. i mean *i* have a very odd family, and this beats them.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Yet another punch aims, I'm on the floor. Don't know how you keep going! Love M xx

John-Michael said...

How tragic is the awfulness of whatever mental/emotional demons that your mother has surrendered her life to. To live with the presence of such twisted ugliness inside had to cause her untold misery.

It seems that her attendance to you while she did was her outward performance of what she could display as a "Loving Mother" ... complete with the trappings of 'prayer.'

That you are able to present this account with the gentle sweetness and candor that you do speaks volumes about your marvelous depth of character. I do admire the person that you have become (and are continuing to become.)

aims said...

Dawn - Even now I don't understand it...

Thalia's Child - Sometimes I wonder at myself too..but it is all part and parcel of the story...I'm very glad you commented though..

SITH - 'Everything is black and white'...a very interesting comment - you've given me something to think about here..

Hazel - Thanks girl...

Beckie - it does say it all though.

DnD - there is a happy ending - eventually.

Lane - It was never resolved and once you have West Nile Virus - you can't get it again - so no-one can be bothered testing. I'd like to know tho..

David - funny how we can just overlook those signs...LOL!

Laurie - and she didn't come back again! I had to beg a ride from my cousin..

Lisa Marie - Whenever I got sick I always wanted my Mom to be there for me...sad...

Irene - I wish I had some answer as to why me and why my parents were like that..but I don't - and I never will...

CF - I think you might have to stand in line..

Dearest B - Now this surprised me! I guess this rocked you more. I am sorry to be dragging you into a world so different than your own and doing it in such a manner. Sorry my friend.

Holly - Glad to see you over here girl. And odd!? Well - that's one way of putting it. I guess you need to read back a bit - all this story is under the 'truth' label on my sidebar...good luck if you want to..

Margot - There are so many different forms of abuse that people don't recognize as being abuse...this was definitely one of them.

John-Michael - and there you have it. The mental/emotional demons my mother lived with. I think you have said it perfectly. I think my mother took my father's abuse and turned around and dumped it on me. And because I didn't fight back or refuse it - it became really easy for her to do.

The 'trappings' of prayer...oh yes...indeed yes! She and the two sisters pulled that out whenever they could and flapped it about for all to see...

Daryl E said...

I swear I want to just slap her so hard .. what a fool that woman is.

travelling, but not in love said...

Sounds like a crazy period in a crazy life, sweetheart.

Loved it, as usual. Can't wait for more.

I'm hoping that when we come to the end of the tale there'll be some photo's....

quilly said...

I, too, am a child from abuse. I did not suffer as long as you did, and was rescued by a loving parent, but I know -- as apparently you know -- that the abuse, rather then twisting and destroying me, made me stronger, more loving and more compassionate.

Keep telling your stories, the poison has to come out, but I hope -- and reading just this one post I cannot tell -- I hope that you have forgiven your mother (not condoned) and find some pity for the demons that drove her and prevented her from ever having your respect or knowing the fullness of your love. As much as she took from you, she lost something precious as well.

CrazyCath said...

Wow - there is power in your soft words and the telling of your soul.
Excellent post. Sad, but excellent.
I agree with SITH - your mother seemed to see things in B&W but life is full of shades of grey - and colour.

Thank you for sharing this. It must be painful but in a healing sort of way - that's how I find it in some of my posts.
Blessings.

Popkins said...

I agree with those who commented that she passed your father's abuse onto you....you were so an emotional punching bag for her...and you just never knew how she was going to react...hot...cold...tepid...

but I know you need to tell all this, Aims....and cathartic it is..for all of us.