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September 11, 2006 / allyo

The worst thing

Grandma died last night.

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst thing that happened this weekend. Whatever tenuous bonds existed between my mother and I, beyond our love for grandma, they are now broken. Irreparably, as far as I am concerned.

I started it, but for a good reason. And she continued it. Before we were done and she had driven me out of grandma’s hospital room for good, she admitted she had never been a mother to me, but refused to take any responsibility for it, told me repeatedly that she had turned her life around and deserved my respect, yet refused to hear me when I told her she still treated me the same way as she always had, told me I had let grandma down, that I was a selfish, stuck-up person who didn’t care enough to see grandma more than twice a month, that I was a brat, had always been and would always be, and that she didn’t give a damn about losing a grandson because she was done apologizing to me. I must have missed all those apologies, because the closest she’s ever come to an apology was admitting she missed something important when she failed to be a mother to me when I was young. She went on and on about how grandma forgave her because "that’s what mothers do," failing of course to see the irony in that. And when I told her how they had shut me out, she accused me of creating drama and told me that I always blew things out of proportion. (!!!) And when I told her that all these things, I had told them to grandma the first time she was in the hospital this summer, and that grandma’s response was to look at me with love and to tell me she never meant me to feel that way and that she was sorry, and I told the woman who gave birth to me but has never once been a mother to me, that that is what a mother does, that is how a mother reacts to her child’s anger, it barely got through to her. That is when she admitted that she had never learned to be a mother, and yet, somehow, it was still all my fault.

So honestly, knowing that my grandma is no longer in pain, and, if you believe in that sort of thing, which I’m choosing to do at the moment, is with my grandpa, it’s really not the worst thing to happen to me.

After I left the hospital yesterday morning, sobbing, broken, the pain squeezing my chest to the point that I could barely breathe, I came home to my family. To my house, my husband, and my child. To a life that she will never have, that she can never understand. She couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get to the nursing home to see grandma last weekend, didn’t care when I told her Jamie was sick, that yes, MD could have taken care of him but he WANTED HIS MOTHER. She can’t understand the energy that goes into taking care of a sick two-year-old, that two out of the three days we had off last weekend, I only showered once and that MD and I only left the house twice, once together.  She’ll never know what it is like to come home to that child, sick yet again, as I did yesterday, and what it is like to snuggle with that child all afternoon on the couch, playing, soothing, holding. She’ll never know. And whether she knows it or not or ever admits it, that is the worst thing that could happen. To have all that within your grasp, and to throw it all away.



Leave a Comment
  1. Emmie (Better Make It A Double) / Sep 11 2006 9:39 am

    I am so sorry. I hope that there is healing in being the wonderful, nurturing mother that you are to Jamie.

  2. MoMo / Sep 11 2006 2:10 pm

    I am so sorry for everything that has happened. I hope that both you and Jamie will be feeling better soon.

  3. Kelly / Sep 11 2006 2:21 pm

    So sorry. I think about the old peace corp tag line — the hardest job you’ll ever love — when I think about what it means to a mother.

    You (and your grandmother) knew why “being there” matters.

    Hugs to you and Jaime.

  4. KatS / Sep 13 2006 11:55 am

    I am so sorry about your grandmother, and so sorry about the difficulty in the relationship with your mother.

    I am sending you my best wishes.

  5. Amanda. / Sep 14 2006 8:38 am

    I am so, so very sorry. For everything.

    I have found that the struggles with my own mother have made me a better mother to my own children. I’ve learned form the mistakes of those who came before me.

  6. karrie / Sep 14 2006 11:12 am


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