Maybe…It’s My Parents…(trying again)…

October 16, 2010

OK…so I decided to try calling my parents around the end of September. To recap, my mother had emailed me to tell me that she was dying of melanoma. I had responded immediately. She had said that she wished we could visit. I told her we don’t live close enough and we have no funds to go to her. I did, however, offer to call if she turned her caller ID off and gave me her current number. No response.

I finally decided to give the last number we had for her a try. When you look it up it says it is a cell phone, but apparently it is not. Cell phones don’t have extensions.

The call was not very long. I told her that I decided to try that number even though she had not gotten back to me. She apologized. She said that she had a whole long email written up but that she was nervous (or something) about sending it because she did not want to get angry. I did not ask her to clarify. (I am not stupid…or at least not totally.) I decided to let it go.

She asked if our son remembered that he was their little precious. I told her that I know he knows they love him, but she wanted to know about that specifically. I was trying to think if he did and she said it was OK if he didn’t. After all, he had been so young. I told her I did not know for sure.

The whole conversation felt pretty weird. It was also hard to get used to the sound of her voice. Apparently, the melanoma is in her throat. Sometimes she has no voice at all. I could tell it was her, but she sounded very different. I don’t know if that helped or made it harder.

There were moments of silence, especially when my father was on the phone. (She did ask if it was OK to put him on.) She cautiously asked questions about our location. I could tell she was trying not to stir anything up. I would say the conversation, if you could call it that…went “OK”. My father interrupted at one point because she was supposed to be leaving right away for an appointment. As she was hanging up, she said that my calling meant a lot to her…or something to that effect.

Then she said something about loving everyone in the family. Typically, she writes something (on the rare occasions that she actually does write) about loving my son. She might write something about loving the whole family, but it is typically all about my son. This time she said “everyone in the family”. I thought about how to respond. I almost let it go, but I didn’t. I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

I told her I was glad to hear her say that and that it was the closest I remembered her coming to actually saying she loved ME. She responded that she had told me that many times over the years. I told her it had been years since I had heard it. It was always about my son and I felt pushed aside. I don’t know whether she heard the catch in my voice, but she actually said “you’re right. And there is a reason for that. I want to explain it to you. I want you to know.” Or something VERY close to that. I was stunned.

I told her I would like to talk further and told her to email me and let me know when is a good time for me to call. I said that I loved them both and always had. I had said it more than once during the call, but I never really felt like I got an acknowledgment of that.

I did not hear from her. So, three days after the call, I emailed both of my parents. I told them I was glad we had the opportunity to talk a bit. I shared that it felt somewhat awkward,  but that it was to be expected. I told them I really do love them both, and always have, in spite of our disagreements. I also wrote that I cannot pretend that the disagreements never happened…nor can I deny what I know. However, I am willing to try to work around those things in an effort to reconnect on some level. I signed it love.

That was about two weeks ago. Nothing. Again…I try to be understanding. I mean…hey…she is battling cancer…again. She does not need upsets right now. On the other hand…she said this is no time to quibble. My guys were gone when I called. Does she figure it will be that way again? Does she not want to talk to me? I don’t know. I can think of questions to ask until the cows come home. The fact is I am not in her mind and I have no idea what either of them are thinking or feeling. I just know that I feel disconnected from them and have for many years. I do not remember a time of feeling close to my mother. Not sure I do with my father, either. So much of my childhood is shrouded in a fog of amnesia.

I am SO tired. I have been fighting to keep alert and going. It is difficult to focus. I have been interrupted so many times in writing this…but what else is new? I’ll be OK.


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