11.24.07 No More Drama

The holidays are usually not a fun time in my family.  Historically, some kind of misery is meted out by someone, usually revolving around my grandmother in some way.  I’ve talked about this situation a bit in the past, and I understand that many of you could never understand having a grandparent who is truly worthy of being cast out of the family.  My own mother made this decision three years ago, and on Saturday I believed I turned that corner as well.  It’s a sad and horrible thing, and I’m sure I will think about it every single day.  However, I know it is the best possible thing for myself and my family.  In fact, the relief of my family at this decision was surprising to me.  Apparently, I misjudged the impact this woman had on them, and for that alone, I should have made the decision sooner.

We will continue to visit my grandfather at the facility he lives in due to his Alzheimer’s.  He has good days and bad days.  Saturday was a good day- a very good day- for him.  He joked with us, laughed, remembered everyone’s name on the first try, and even remembered the city we live in, which was shocking considering that hasn’t happened in the last two years.  It was like his old self, and we only got to have that for 10 minutes before my grandmother started doing what seemed to be her standard schtick- making everyone miserable- but it was worse this time.  She was furious that he got out of bed for us.  That he laughed with us.  She accused him- for the four millionth time- of making it all up, that he wasn’t really sick, and said she was going to stop visiting him unless he was truly sick.  Who does that?  What kind of person doesn’t want to enjoy the few glimmers of clarity he gets before being dragged back into the fog of this disease?

I asked her to stop, twice, three times- only to be ignored in favor of her fervor.  Then she got hold of some of the staff- telling them how to do their jobs, how they didn’t care about my PaPa.  How she was the only person in the universe who could take care of him the correct way.  The correct way is all about appearances- dress well, expensively, starched and ironed 24/7, and no one will think you’re poor.   Every hair in place, never lose your composure.  Don’t forget the most important part- viciously criticize everyone around you who does not conform to these rules.  Especially family members- show no mercy EVER.  Gossip to everyone you can about their faults, and if they don’t have any just make something up.  Make sure they are never forgiven for any slight- perceived or real- and that you relive those moments (actual or constructed through the mind-spin-o-meter that justifies every decision and action you’ve taken) every chance you get.  Tell everyone who will listen- and the numbers are dwindling- about how miserable you are because everyone in your family is so terrible to you.  And how much you want to make them pay for that misery, because it’s all their fault.  In your world, you are perfect with no mistakes, no failures, no bad choices.

Anyone can see that this plan for living life ensures a life never lived.  It is a life built around fear of being an outcast.

I can no longer subject myself or my family to this drama.  It just isn’t going to happen any more.

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