My mother is a problem I can’t solve.
People say, make peace with your mother. But, like Iran and North Korea,
my mother doesn’t want peace; she prefers war. Or, at least, hostility.
There was no disagreement, no single event which set the wheels in motion – nor is it the first time
she’s chosen estrangement. She simply stops answering the phone when we call.
She sees herself as a victim, the long-suffering mother/sister/daughter/wife–
wronged by everyone she’s related to. She claims abandonment by her daughters,
and without us to say otherwise, she can perpetuate this story. She hasn’t spoken to her sister
in over 20 years; she wasn’t speaking to her mother or brother when they died, both in the same week.
And she didn’t attend either funeral – she claims that no one told her they had died,
which also can’t be refuted if no one speaks to her daughters.
We send her cards, letters – and she sends them back, unopened. Kathy still calls her every day.
Mom keeps her answering machine off, relying on caller ID to let her know who called.
Or, who is calling.
I have a philosophy – don’t complain about a problem unless you’ve exhausted every avenue of solving it.
Some say there is no problem – she has cut us off, we should do the same. Except – she is 76 years
old. Except, she lives alone, and, we care if she is okay.
Except, that she has now taken every photo of her daughters and their sons, and had them delivered to
Kathy’s house. Another chance to let us know that we have been boxed up and thrown out.
It seems ridiculous because it is – but still, it is. And it goes on, and it will go on, and it is a problem
I cannot solve.
I was born in Oswego, NY,
"I had always wanted to be a writer, but was impeded by the belief that to be a writer one had to be extraordinary, and I knew I wasn't. By the time I was ready to give up my academic career I had realized that while books are extraordinary, writers themselves are no more or less special than anyone else." The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield