This is neither a WoW post, nor a positive post about the family getting together for a round or two of scrabble or monopoly or snap.
No, this is an outpouring of exasperation at those psychological/sociological games that families play.
So I won’t be offended if you tune out now and come back tomorrow in the hope of a more positive WoW oriented post.
First up, thanks to all of you that have wished my Mum well through blog comments, emails or instant messaging… I really appreciate the support!
Now, onto the game playing…
Old Mum (87), diabetic and in failing health for several years. Over the last couple of years punctuated with frequent falls due to hypos and hypers, caused primarily by her inability to care for herself properly.
Four children (well, five, but one escaped from the games a long time ago) ranging from 62yo (sister) through to 42yo son (me). Oldest son (60yo) lives locally, middle son (51yo) lives overseas.
My mother is a master game player, her most used and taught skill being avoidance.
My sister is a highly experienced and qualified nurse, ready for retirement but hanging on just a little longer to allow her superannuation to recover from the current economic climate.
My oldest brother, father to 4 children (grandfather to 8) from his 1st marriage and 3 step children from his second relationship, is a master (failed) salesman. He can sell ice to the Eskimos even though it has a suspicious yellow tinge.
Me, the peacekeeper in the family, more inclined to let people live their lives and think the best of people until proven wrong.
The playing field
For a couple of years now (ironically since her 1st major collapse when she was preparing for Odin’s 1st birthday) we (my sister and I) have been trying to get Mum to live with my sister in her new home, with my niece and her family living next door, and me living 5 minutes away.
For some reason she has been resistant to this. Always saying she just needs to clean up her house a little more, then she will move over.
The closest that we have come to this was a one week “holiday” at my home when she admitted she wasn’t coping. She arrived tired sick and drained, left well fed and relatively healthy. She was due to move into my sister’s the following week, that was 2 months ago.
Now she lies in a hospital bed, her latest collapse (as she prepared for Odin’s 3rd birthday party) and the complications following leaving her at best with temporary brain damage, unable to recognize her family or communicate (4 days ago apart from the occasional vague moment, she was completely aware and articulate, she just struggled physically).
The games played
My sister and I have long suspected she was just playing her primary game of avoidance, but we were aware that she would always consulted my oldest brother after each of our discussions, the end result being nothing would change.
Beyond her game playing I was pretty sure my oldest brother was playing a few games of his own.
Back two years ago, the signal that something wasn’t quite right was that my friend who had gone to pick my mum up had spent 1/2 hour banging on the front door with no response (my Mum has a habit of going for a quick trip to the shops, so at 1st we thought she had just gone AWOL).
I contacted my oldest brother and sometime later he informed me that my worst fears were correct and the Ambos had spent a fair while resuscitating her.
Some time later my brother confessed that before he had gone to check on Mum, he finished the bottle of wine he was sharing with his mates and watched the rest of the video they were watching. The kicker was his next comment.
I should of waited another 1/2 hour and all our problems would have been solved.
Now we have given him the benefit of the doubt over the years, as he lives the closest to Mum, and his partner (a carer for the disabled) would drop by moat days and check on Mum.
Still, I have had a nagging doubt in the back of my mind that it isn’t my Mum’s wish to see out her days in her own home (her suggestions that she will move to my sisters “soon” support this), but rather my brother’s desire to control the survivability of my mother.
Two days ago over my Mum’s hospital bed, I said to him that if Mum gets out of the hospital this time, she will go straight to my Sister’s place.
His response was basically:
Over my dead body!
So now I knew that she did want to move, but her generational conditioning meant that she would follow the advice of the oldest son over the advice of her oldest daughter (and trained professional).
Other things came out of that discussion.
- He refused to let Mum stay with my pushy aggressive Sister (think nurse dealing with difficult patient and you will know what pushy means. Otherwise she is the most placid selfless person you will ever meet)
- He was expecting his 4th illegitimate grand child via his oldest step son.(I don’t have a problem with people having children out of wedlock, especially when they are planned, but this is accident number 4 for his children… just makes me wonder what he is/isn’t teaching his kids)
- It was Odin’s fault Mum fell because he was having a birthday party which we invited Mum to.
- His oldest son (1st child from 1st marriage) had had his 1st child, a son and this son had neither followed the family tradition of passing down the family name from 1st son to 1st son, nor told my brother of his son’s birth, nor visited my brother 3.5 weeks after the birth of the child.
Of course, my brother hadn’t made any effort to see his latest grand child either.
New Game plan
Fast forward to yesterday and I have a completely different discussion with my brother.
He now wants Mum to move to my sisters place as a matter of urgency.
He also suggests that his expecting 1st step son and his partner should move into Mum’s place and look after it.
Friggin self serving bastard!
- 1st he hopes she will die at home alone unattended, where he and his partner will get 1st shot at raiding the drawers and cupboards before notifying us.
- Now with that looking unlikely, and him not wanting to care for her himself he has already started the mental process of looking after his stepson.
Unfortunately for everyone, particularly him, his game playing has backfired.
The way things stand right now my Mum is too far gone for my sister to care for her. Which means she will need to go to a high care nursing facility.
Which means we will have to sell Mum’s house, which means he has lost both his inheritance and a free home for his root rat step son.
The moral of this story is:
If someone you care for is in trouble, make sure you step up and cut through the shitty family game playing and look after them.
It looks like I have failed my mother, make sure you don’t do the same!
Gnomer and Out!
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