Monday, January 17, 2011

about that holiday break...

I'll dedicate this post to the bad/tough/ugh (!) stuff associated with the holidays.* Namely, my mother, whose mental state has thoroughly consumed my waking and trying-to-sleep hours (both here and out-of-town) for the last six weeks. She is elderly and widowed for 10+ years, now (during which time we've all tried to help her get herself into a more manageable house or condo).  She's always been a completely eccentric southern belle (always either sweet or angry--not much in between, extremely demanding of others, and incredibly narcissistic--which MP2 tells me is now considered to be such a common characteristic of American personalities that it doesn't figure into discussions of personality disorders. Don't get me wrong, that's not her only issue. She'd be on meds if this was a perfect world). Lately, I've suspected her state-of-mind was starting to decline. Even TH would get off the phone with her and say, "hmm, do you think she's starting to exhibit confusion?" You'd think this would be a straight forward thing to determine, right? Not with her, as she has spent 80 years mastering the art of diversion, of being indirect when questioned about things she doesn't want to discuss, and at telling outright lies if she thinks it will help her to get her way. After a recent trip to try to see her and to ascertain what-the-hell is going on with her, it seems apparent that she has, indeed, begun to go down that path (all the while also being her usual, difficult, self). So, I'm sad. And I'm both frustrated with her and scared for her. And I'm exhausted with her no-one-can-help-me and no-I-won't-move-in-with-you (or even near you) personality. Thank god my brother is going to try to intervene and deal with her. Because TH (such a trooper!) and I have played our hand for now. That is all for now folks. Special thanks to L. (!) and to the rest of you who have held my hand, offered advice, and listened to me obsess over this for the last month and a half. (Thanks also to her neighbor who emails me when she catches sight of her.) And now, I think I'll go for a long walk and try to come back to this house focused on something else. 

*I sincerely hope that tomorrow or later tonight I can muster the where-with-all to blog about 1) sabbatical gains and losses since returning from beach town 2) holiday presents, having MP1 and MP2 home, and other fun stuff 3) how I'm going to spend the rest of this month in a more focused fashion (please, please, please!).


Somewhere in Canada said...

So sorry to hear about your mother. It seems to be the reality of the sandwich generation. Your brother will work wonders with her.

You and TH hang in there!

auto ethnographer said...

Thanks. And yeah--he might be able to work some wonders; but maybe not, too. They haven't seen each other for 6 or 7 years. Talk about 3 times a year on average (he's been very good at boundary maintenance; altho truth be told--she threw up the boundaries long, long ago) and he's just been smarter about maintaining his and his family's sanity. He once decided (~5 years ago) to move back home to our old city and she freaked out. Literally told them not to move there. The world is just not big enough for her to maintain the kind of physical and social distance her psyche needs to cope with life in the real world.