anger · disconnection · equanimity · family · love · self-abandonment · self-care

There always had to be a fly…

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…in the ointment.
If things were going well, there was always the knowledge
that my father’s parents were shut-ins and deleterious hoarders. Or that my mom
was manic-depressive. Or that my brother had a horrible stutter.
There was always the reminder that my clothing was bought at
discount stores, that my father had an awful temper, or that my mom’s parents
had died under circumstances that ripped her family apart and isolated us against them.
If things were going well, there was always a skeleton or two
to whisper in your ear about not believing good things were for you, about
being dragged down, about not being allowed to be happy.
Today, those long-quieted skeletons, imagined they’ve been
exorcised for years, have begun their murmurous palaver again.
Yesterday, I had a phone call with my mother. She is sick.
Again. It’s the same or similar cold/sinus infection she’s been struggling
against for over a year. And when it came up last year, when she didn’t know
why she kept getting sick, when doctors didn’t immediately know why either, I
called my psychic.
Because at the time, all roads led to cancer. Did she have
it? What was going on? What can I do?
No, said the woman on the phone. It’s not cancer, but
whatever it is, if she doesn’t deal with this, with what’s underlying it, it could be the beginning of a long road to the
end. This could be the thing that takes her out.
Whatever your thoughts about intuitives aside, I’d worked
with her enough that she knew of what she spoke. And from all indications since
that phone call over a year ago, it’s proving pretty accurate. My mom is still
sick. Healthier, Sick, Healthier Sick.
And I’m dragged immediately back into a curtain-drawn
bedroom where she’d curled up against the light, fighting another one of her
chronic migraines. I’m dragged immediately back into being a child taking care
of her mother, telling her to get out of bed. Leaving her there, and getting my
brother and I out the door for school.
My mother is a woman of chronic ailments. And this newest
one, whatever its cause, reason, purpose, is dragging me down again with her.
What is love, comes the question? What is equanimity? What
is detachment, enlightenment? Fate? What is the caustic, oxidizing rust that
others’ baggage leaches onto you and your own path?
And what is my responsibility in helping them through their
pain?
Especially if they don’t recognize it as such.
So much has come up lately about codependence versus
interdependence. About leaving others to their experiences and feelings, and
letting that not affect what I’m doing and how I’m feeling. Even something as
simple as the play, and trying to not let the audiences’ reactions sway my
mood.
I feel angry. I feel angry this feels like it’s happening
again. I feel angry that I’m powerless about how she cares for and treats her
body, about how she schedules her work in the 12-hour days without lunch
breaks. About how she spends her off days flattened, recuperating from her over-working.
I’ve had to do so much work on letting her have her
experiences, despite my opinions, and
yet. And yet. I’m human. And I love her, and I don’t want her to be in pain.
And I don’t want her to deteriorate.
And moreso, I don’t want her life to affect mine.
When does a child grow up? What is the role of a loved one?
How can you, and can you, let someone crawl along the bottom of their own
experience, while you make strides in the direction of your own fulfillment?
Because that’s what’s at stake here. Callous as it may sound, it doesn’t matter,
ultimately, what happens with my mom. What matters is what I take on about it. How
I allow it to affect me. And mostly, can I continue to make my life what I want
it to be when there are still murmuring
skeletons?
My whole life, I’ve been distracted by the flies. I’ve
allowed my attention to be derailed in fishing them out, or I’ve simply allowed
them to decree that I cannot be happy because they exist. That I cannot find
success because there are flaws in the tapestry of my surroundings.
Obviously, I write about it today because I’m upset and I
don’t have the answer to these
questions. Because I don’t know
how
to move forward when there are tendrils threatening to draw you back.
So, for today, I’ll leave it both as an open question, and
as evidence of a success. Because, today, I get to tell you about it. And
darkness can’t live in the light. 

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