May 3, 2012

Trainwrecks and Time

Posted in Life Lessons tagged , , , , , at 1:10 am by openendedcomment

About two weeks ago I ran across a Facebook conversation between my aunt-in-law and cousin-in-law…asking if said cousin had ever worked at a certain hospital.  The reason?  My husband’s mother was in said hospital.  On a ventilator.  In a coma.  She had been there for two weeks.  My husband found out about it when I showed him the post.  Now, I ask you, how wrong up is that?  That her own son would not be informed?

If you read my blog you know that my husband and I are estranged from (by?) his family.  Namely his Mother, Step-Father and Brothers.  I think it goes without saying that this is a very, very difficult situation.  This post is a downer, but it’s an important downer.  Maybe the right person will read it and maybe, just maybe something good will come of it.  Maybe one of you is estranged from someone you love or loved once.  Maybe you know someone who is.  Perhaps this will inspire you to do something, to say something, anything…before it is too late.  I hope so.

For the purpose of this post and this topic; it’s all about him.  And his Mother.

Clearly a Mother could not totally disown her own son without having some serious justification and/or psychological issues and/or outside influences.  In this case; it’s all of the above.

And it is tragic.  And wrong.  Every level of wrong.  The worst possible outcome.  Almost.  And that…the worst possible outcome, is what I am trying (it appears to be in vain) to avoid.  For him.  For her.

She doesn’t like me.  In all actuality, she loathes me.  OK.  I’m not the only woman on earth who has mother-in-law issues.  To be fair, I didn’t always really like her either.  She has hurt the people I love most and I can not fathom how a Mother…any Mother…especially a Mother to the wonderful man I married, could do this.   She acts like he doesn’t exist.  I know that she has been through terrible things and is going through another horrible time now…and as such I can almost let it go that she really can’t help herself and really isn’t in total control of her emotions and actions.  I get that.  I have to get that because there is nothing…truly, nothing my children could ever do that would cause me to totally abandon them.  Just like 99.999% of Mothers and Fathers who have raised their children and loved their children…It could not and would not happen.  But the rest of them?  The ones without these sad afflictions to fall back on as their reasoning and justification…His Brothers…they all have turned and abandoned him…as though he never happened.  Never was.  That I still can’t wrap my brain around.  I suppose I never will.  And again, to be fair, there is one brother who actually did try a little.. my husband, in his hurt, did not respond.  I know he wishes he had.

So, what was his great transgression?  Well, to ask them, there were many, over much time.  In all fairness and as is true to every sad story and conflict ever known, there are two sides to the story and there is a degree of shared culpability.  He isn’t all right and they aren’t all wrong.  Mainly and cumulatively, he stood up to her ( his Mother) and to his step-father, who was also (for 20 years) his boss.  He married me.  I did bite my tougne…raw.  Until I couldn’t anymore.  Until my children had been in tears one too many times and my husband stabbed in the back until there was no flesh left unmarred.  I stood up for my family and that is a major no-no in this group.  My husband, being wonderful, and a grown-up, agreed with me and went even further to stand up for himself.  Consequently, he was fired and lost his parents, his brothers (who also all work for Dad) and in one terrible day (Christmas, 2010 for those that aren’t aware) found his entire world changed.

But that’s not the point.

It happened.  It sucked then and it is unbearable now.  Unbearable because after reading the Facebook entry, we made some phone calls.  We’ve known she has cancer and that her time was measured in years as opposed to decades.  She had a scare about eight months ago.  His uncle called to tell him.  At that time, my husband was told that if he went to the hospital, all Hell would break loose.  He passed messages through this same uncle and called his Mother when she was released.  It was not a good conversation; his step-father intervened.  Again.  They (he and his Mother) haven’t spoken since and he has not laid eyes on her for seventeen months.  There are a select few wonderful people in his family who do their best through this terrible situation to keep him informed.  They made some more calls and learned that it was dire.  The hospital was called…no information was released to him.  Two sister-in-laws and one brother-in-law were e-mailed.  They did not write back.  They did not call.  All emails and phone calls to the step-father have gone unanswered.  He (my husband) has no way to reach his Mother or even stay informed of her condition.

Wrong.  It is so wrong.

My husband lost his father at age 12.  Every year he goes to his grave.  They have their own conversation….and really, I do believe it is a back and forth.  He was there longer this year.  It was harder for him this year.  Thirty one years later and the text he sent me from his gravesite….”I miss him so much”….I can feel the pain in those words.

I don’t want this for him.  I don’t want this for her.

No Mother should go to her grave with her son so far away…and no son should lose his Mother with so very much left unsaid…unresolved…with such pain.  I know the way I know there is air and a sun that this is the worst possible outcome for both of them.  I know I have to find a way to put them right.  I know that in a world where so much can’t be helped that this can be and this has to be.

I also know I can’t do it alone.  I have tried.  The people who could help, that should help if they do now or ever did love either of them are all standing by either for their own protection (his brothers) or in their minds and words (his extended family) to “not take sides.” Some have even come by to speak with my husband with the very best intentions and used the well-worn phrase “this will all work out eventually, everything gets better with time.”  Ummm…newsflash: Time is the one thing we do not have.  Not in this situation.  We are against a clock and there are no years and no seasons left to wait.

It’s not about sides anymore.  It isn’t about who is right or wrong or who should say they are sorry first (for the record, he already did)…it’s about caring enough to prevent this train-wreck from coming to its final and terrible end…it’s about saying something and doing something that any day now it is going to be too late to do.  Damn it anyway, what is wrong with people?

Make the call.  Write the e-mail.  Go there.  Come here.  At least say a prayer.  Please, something.  I can’t let him live through this.  I can’t let her leave this way.  No one, no matter their transgressions, be they real or imagined deserves this.  No one.

I’m open to suggestions.