Good morning, y’all. I continue to try to read and sort through my tribulations by reading about how others have sorted through theirs. I have come to the clarity that where I once felt like my life was unique, my pain somehow distinctive, that I just “ain’t that special”. I found this quote by Chris Prentiss to be illuminative: “At the bottom of every person’s dependency, there is always pain. Discovering the pain and healing it is an essential step in ending dependency.”
Now, it’s not like this realization has just jumped up and bit me on the hindquarters, it’s been all around the edges of my life as long as I can remember. My hours of isolation, my hours of using trained psychologists and psychiatrists to provide a sounding board for my feelings, have brought me to the conclusion that much of my pain is coming from the maternal side of my family. Knowing where the pain is coming from is important, how to stop the pain is the Holy Grail. I’ve decided that by minimizing my interactions with my Mom and her family, of which I include my sister a part, that I’ll be able to focus on how to establish a healthy day to day pattern of living.
I’ve certainly got Union County’s help in removing me from temptation. The question is, will I be sound enough when I’m released to carry on a healthy lifestyle, when a healthy lifestyle is not imposed on me? So, that’s my drill down. What are the essential elements of my existence that are necessary to keep me sane, and, what are the non-essentials that are making me insane? It’s funny, when questioned by the psychologist as to what, or who were the factors in my life that caused me discomfort, my clue came down to a physical characteristic.
As crazy as it sounds, when I start to get upset, I can feel my ears getting red. Whether this is getting mad, or deep sadness, I can feel the blood rushing to my ears. Turns out, I’m as easy to read as a stoplight. Maybe I should wear a t-shirt that says, “if you see red, it’s time to stop whatever it is you’re doing”. Silly, I know, but when you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you’re able to analyze a lot of past issues and calmly search for the catalyst. When I flipped through the catalog of “Bud Has Run Amok”, there is a link to my parents. Since Daddy has been gone for awhile, the job of “instigator in chief” has fallen to Mom. It is the job she was born for.
Now, I know that I’m not supposed to blame my reaction on the actions of others. The old, “if Johnny jumped off of a bridge, would you jump too?”, comes in to play. That said, Johnny wasn’t my Mom. My Mom sent me to live with a man she thought was the anti-Christ when I was ten years old. My Mom reappeared in my life when it was convenient for her, and would act like nothing had ever happened. It was like there would be episodes of “Leave It To Beaver” where Barbara Billingsley was not shown. Then a few episodes later, there she’d be, the kind loving June Cleaver who’s only interest was caring for her family. My Mom was not June Cleaver, and now, I needed to turn lose of my belief that one day she would be a kind loving Mom. More importantly, I needed to turn lose of any feelings of guilt that I might conjure up for not treating Mom like she was the ideal Mother I fantasized.
Well, we’ve got two weeks of quiet, more or less. Mom is calling every few days leaving messages on my cell phone for Mulva to listen to and repeat for me. They’re all in the same vein. Mom is using her “pitiful” voice, “Bud, this your mother, I’d love to hear from you. I’m not mad at you and I hope nobody’s mad at me. I miss hearing from you, bye”
On the 3oth of April, Mulva brings me an email from the attorney:
“Your mother has signed her new power of attorney and Anna Juliette Smith will be serving as her agent. We’ll get a copy mailed to you and your brother when it comes back from the Register of Deeds Office.
In the meantime, please forward any mail to Anna Juliette Smith’s office at 915 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28806 Attn: Anna Juliette Smith. Thank you!”
I have officially been released of my duties, and the duties have been assigned to entities that should act responsibly. I am relieved. The other shoe drops on the next day.
Mountain Woods called Mulva to notify us that Mom was moving out, ASAP. Who knows the rhyme or reason, but apparently Mom figured out that if her new attorney was her POA, and that I had not had her committed, that she was free to go. Mountain Woods related that the plan was for Mom to move back to her condo with my sister as caretaker. Apparently there was discussion between Mom and Charlotte in front of Mountain View staff as to who would sleep in the master bedroom and who had to sleep in the guest room. Trivialities, as far as I’m concerned. The big question is, “who will kill who first?” To that end, I ask Mulva to call Jackson and update him with the news. I ask her to invite Jackson to join in my “Dead Pool”, after claiming under 60 days for myself.
The newly minted version of the “Golden Girls” rocks along for a month without any outside interference or calls to the Asheville Police Department. At least that we hear about. Jackson touches base with Mom before going on his annual beach vacation and is left with the impression that Charlotte may be on her way back to her basement apartment. Jackson’s email leaves the impression that Mom had indicated that Jackson could visit soon and stay in the guest bedroom of the condo:
My response is pretty terse, but probably an indicator of the amount of separation I was gaining mentally from the situation:
My response goes unanswered, after all Jackson is on vacation. Good for him. No rest for the wicked, though. Mulva brings me a Father’s Day card from Mom filled with laudatory praise and entreaties to be in touch. I feel compared to share the news with Jackson and have Mulva send the following email:
Things go really quiet for the next couple of weeks. I’m able to just work on getting my head on straight and visiting with Mulva when she visits. It seems that, “absence has made the heart go fonder”, or, maybe I’m getting a handle on being a better listener. Whatever. Mulva seems like she’s not mad anymore, and that she’s interested in giving me another chance.
“Goodbye, dammit”, seems to be just the right philosophy for dealing with all things maternal. I feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my psyche. Mentally, my Mom and her family don’t exist. We’re going to test the theory, “if you ignore something long enough, will it eventually go away?” It appears, so far, that that is the case. Mom’s phone calls have diminished to just once on the weekend. Mulva is able to pass them off as, “same old, same old”.
On the 14th of July, 2015, Union County, Georgia decides they’ve had about all of the fun they can have with Bud Lite, and I am released into a year of probation. The terms of my probation are an ankle bracelet that ties me to one hundred yards of my residence. I am required to attend AA meetings at least weekly and to make daily entries in a blog/journal. My psychologists will be reviewing my blogs and making suggestions for my improved mental health along the way. Stay clean, stay free. Sounds easy to me.