Krissie: Rode Hard and Put Away Wet


They took my phone from me. Probably a good idea. I’d try to hunker down and work and then someone would call and I’d dissolve …
So they took my phone away from me. I’ll need it back at some point so I can talk to my mother’s doctor. Both about her pain issues, and when you can tell if she can no longer live alone. I was kind of waiting for a fall or something to tell us, or if she could no longer take care of her own needs. But it sounds more like it’s mental health issues for her. She’s entirely isolated if I have to go out of town and she sinks into a depression (with a little lashing out for seasoning). At this point she wouldn’t qualify for a nursing home, but there’s an extended living place with a couple of medicaid spots (she has no money to pay for it and obviously neither do I). In the meantime I’ve got three different people checking in on her, as well as Richie, and when I talk to her doctor I’ll see what kind of help I can get. I guess it waits till crisis level to get me moving, but we’re there.
And my son has figured it’s no use fighting, his life is over and he needs to get out of town. (Told me on that phone yesterday that he’s running away, because that’s what we do in our family — he learned it from me). Thank you, darling boy, for sticking the knife right where he knew it would hurt.
He doesn’t understand that when life gets too overwhelming you go to your respective corners to calm down until you can deal with it. God, if he weren’t so broken with pain I’d give him the slap upside the head he’s deserved so many times.
My other child has backed off for now, so I can put that on the back burner. And I told Richie not to tell me how broken my son is. I can’t fix it, and I can’t bear it until I figure out how I can bear it. So give me a fucking break.
Richie’s doing a great job. And my son will be off by the time I get back — his flight leaves the same morning I arrive home. Hell, and my life used to be terrorized by which classes I hadn’t done my homework in.
I couldn’t even write yesterday — people kept calling. But hey, no phone today.
I’ll work. That should help. Yesterday someone brilliant said I needed to separate my own grief over the broken relationship from his grief. And in truth, right now my pain is more for how much my son is hurting. I’ll deal with the loss of my grandson, if it comes to that, later.
More people go through this than don’t. I need to remember that.
So I’ll work. That’ll help. Horrible nightmares last night, so I’ll need to nap. But this will get better. It has to.
With luck tomorrow we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled “I can conquer anything” kind of day. The sun will shine again, we’ll go to the aquarium and dream about nixies.
Right now the best I can do is not cry.
But you guys really helped yesterday — lots of smart people out there. Unfortunately lots of people who’ve been there and done that and can tell me how to deal with it all.
In the meantime, one day at a time.

54 thoughts on “Krissie: Rode Hard and Put Away Wet

  1. Sheryl says:

    Hugs, Krissie.
    It’s not running away. Clearly, the problems follow. It’s more a case of going where the support is, surrounding yourself with people who help you process in a healthy way and give you the space to recover. Take as long as you need.
    Perhaps some day, your son will learn the distinction.

  2. Rose says:

    I think Jenny should Fedex your phone to your daughter or son. Let them get out of their own heads by dealing with their grandmother’s problems for a while, and vice-versa. Might be good for all of them.

  3. jinx says:

    That’s good advice, but don’t just be wan and sad. You have a right to be mad as hell too. Some source of threat or rage or aggression had to be in last night’s nightmares, expressing the useful, self-rebuilding power inside of you. Don’t just grieve — be the rage, too.

  4. Sometimes getting through the day is more than demanding enough, I think. My kids went through terrible years, while I anguished, fretted, lost sleep, etc., etc., etc. But now, for the moment, knock on wood, they are both doing fine. Which I pass on as a bit of hope for the future — you can’t know where your kids will be in their future. You’re smart. Odds are they’re smart. They just may figure it out. Meanwhile, I really hear that it hurts. I’m so glad you’re with people who love you (and who commandeer the phone because that is just cool beans). (And check out my comment on WTF about Sew Mama Sew giveaways because maybe you guys can score some cool free stuff!)

  5. Baby, I love you.

    Smack him HARD the next time he does that to you. HARD. He doesn’t care how much pain you’re in, I think you should learn something from him.

    And perhaps I should take my mama bear and back off. And come downstairs and take the phone back. 😉 LOVE YOU.

  6. Maybe daughter and son could look in on gran for a bit. Live with her and tend to her needs. Hmmm?
    Seriously Krissie, you’re in the best place right now with your sisters who took your phone. They took your phone… how brilliant…I love it 🙂 Sorry, I don’t mean to sound flippant, In my minds eye I see Jennie and Lani scheming to hide your phone and standing up to you, because they love you and want to protect you. YAY for sisters of Squalor On the River.

    Big Hugs….

  7. Micki says:

    It hasn’t passed yet, but it will. And you know what? Maybe *he* deserves a little “runaway time”, too. We all know that you put some distance between you and your problems, and we know it’s going to be healthy for you. Give him the same respect, and let him put some distance between himself and his problems. When he’s had some time to think, he’ll know better what to do. He’s really quite young . . . let him know you love him, but give him some breathing space.

    Your mom, otoh, doesn’t seem to have much breathing space left. She probably needs to be in a more social environment, and you can tackle that first thing next Wednesday morning. (You return on Tuesday, right?) In the meantime, work, and try to enjoy the break. There’s a good reason why you went to Ohio . . . .

  8. chris says:

    Good for them for taking the phone. Really he is only trying to hurt you by talking to you on the phone. He is a grown ass man and should deal with his own crap and not let you get stuck in it…..

    And you did not run. You acknowledge you needed care and nuturing for yourself and went to the best place to take care of your self. Running away involves hiding and no one would find you. We all know where you are and you are in plan site and not hiding.

    Now continue to take care of yourself. And don’t make me tell your sisters to take your plane ticket next!!!

    Ok – mama bear went back to her den. Have a great day Krissie. Hope the weather is great and you have a clear sunny view of the river. 🙂

  9. “I learned it from you” – god, this reminds me of the old anti-drug PSA from the 80s? early 90s? This one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-Elr5K2Vuo

    Even as a kid, I thought the line was cheesy and a cop out. Apparently, your son really liked it…

    While blindly running from problems isn’t productive (running TO support like you did, OTOH is helpful in creating a clear picture), I can’t help but be glad he’s leaving. That means he can’t come knocking on your door with troubles, and if he tries to bring them to you via the phone, you can always hang up. Or Jennie and Lani can chuck the phone in the river before you leave. That leaves you with one less stress.

    Big hugs on dealing with your mother – it’s always a hard thing to have to be responsible for your parents. I watched my dad go through agonies when he was nominated by his siblings to tell his mom she had to move out of her home of 50 years and into a nursing home (she had alzheimers and was clearly unable to care for herself, so it HAD to be done, but how in the hell are you supposed to SAY that to your mom, especially when she’s incapable of processing why it’s happening?) FWIW, a lot of people enjoy the assisted living places because they’ve got that extra help, but still get to feel like they have their own space and autonomy.

  10. Tara says:

    You went to your sisters for a break, for understanding and compassion. You can’t get that if everyone else is calling and dumping on you. Good for them taking your phone away for a while.
    I hate to say this but (I’m going to anyway) your son deserves that smack! Truthfully he is involved in breaking up a long term relationship, that’s his business! He should not be pulling you into it, neither should his GF. It sounds like they have a history of putting you in the middle. You went away to keep yourself out of the middle, don’t let them pull you back in. Hurting for him because he’s hurting is a mother thing (you can’t help it) but you don’t have to fix it or be the reciever of his anger.
    I was in a long term abusive relationship when I was younger. When I finally got out of it I would never have involved my mother in it. And yes it was nasty, but to this day my mom still doesn’t know about a lot of what happened. That’s fine she doesn’t need to. But I’m a very independent person, from what you have said it sounds like your son is not. A good thing for him is to learn how to deal on his own.
    Your going away is a good thing for both of you. Please let yourself be angry, sad, greiving, all the emotions you need to have, but be on the outside of their issues, don’t let them drag you back in.

  11. I don’t think he’s trying to hurt you on purpose, he’s trying to pass on his own hurt to others so he’ll feel relieved even if it only lasts a minute (like scratching a mosquito bite is only short relief and we do it anyway). He needs to learn other ways to deal with his hurt and deficits but obviously, he doesn’t know how.

    Does he treat all people this way or just close ones like you and the girlfriend? Because this would show that he relies on the fact that you won’t desert him, no matter what. You allow him to be that way. With others, he might be more careful and polite. So let him go someplace else where he can train just that: being careful and handle problems differently.

  12. Others are right. You didn’t drive off to a distant hotel to hide and be alone without saying where you were going. You went TO something you needed and clearly you were just as connected as if you were there. (Remember when we didn’t have cell phones? That was a nice time.)

    And as someone else said, he’s hurt and lashing out. That’s what many people do when they’re hurting. He’s not the only one and likely doesn’t know what else to do with all that ugly stuff floating in his gut.

    Though I hate the guilt trip thing. My parents were so good at that when I was growing up that it gives me the knee jerk reaction now to spit fire and leave the guilt-tripper in ashes.

    Enjoy your writing and the aquarium (maybe grab some buckets of water while you’re there) and smile. I love when you smile in your pictures. It’s hard to feel bad when you’re smiling.

  13. Katie says:

    I don’t think I could add anything that hasn’t been said, but wanted to send you positive thoughts and a message that there are people out here, across the world, that are thinking about you, and sending love and encouragement your way.

  14. Lynn says:

    Even when someone’s hurting, it’s okay to say, “that’s a mean and unfair thing you just said to me.” I don’t like to let nastiness go unnamed, however much I love the person being cruel.

    I’m sorry your mother is deteriorating. You must just be awash in so many complex emotions from everything that’s going on. I’m glad you have a safe place to be while you grieve, and hope the aquarium lends its own watery peace.

    “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet” is also the title of an excellent collection of lesbian cowboy erotica. Aren’t you glad you have re-fabbers to tell you these things 😉

  15. German Chocolate Betty says:

    “the title of an excellent collection of lesbian cowboy erotica…”

    Ahahahahaaaaaa! ROFLMAO!

  16. We don’t need to hide it. We’re meaner than she is and she can’t have it back.
    And she doesn’t want it back. This is working. She has it right now because she’s waiting on a non-family call, but if anybody calls from the family, I’m taking the phone (I’m working in the next room). She’s fine with that. We have a lot of work to do today and it’s good work, we’re all happy. And we’re staying that way.

  17. Keep the lines of communication open but be honest with your son and tell him how his anger and dumping of his emotional problems is affecting you. He will eventually get it.

    In therapy, when someone is hurting and wanting to talk “to be heard” they save the real problem until the last second. I think what your son is doing in lashing out is avoiding the real problem. If you can identify what it is you can have a real discussion and begin to heal your relationship. So, instead of the yelling and screaming, if you can cut to the chase, you might be able to help each other. What is his fear?

  18. Bravo to those tough girls who took your phone!

    On your mom, the doctor should help you decide, but we found with Bob’s mother that there really is no good test for when it’s time. You wait too long, they get hurt and you feel guilty. You do it too soon, and you feel like you’re depriving them of the life they want and maybe are entitled to have, a little dangerous or not.

    But Bob’s mother really was so much happier once we forced the issue, happy because she’d become so isolated in her home and she really was a very social person. Her whole face lit up when she saw all those people at the Alzheimer’s unit, especially when some of the were playing games. She loved puzzles and word games. We hadn’t thought about the isolation factor, and she hadn’t either, stubbornly insisting she could take care of herself at home.

    We did notice a definite decline that made us finally force the issue. She wasn’t bathing regularly, wasn’t wearing clean clothes, couldn’t control the heat/AC settings. She’d turn it way up and get hot, then turn it way down and get cold. Couldn’t handle something as simple as the thermostat.

    But she could very well have fallen before that and hurt herself. We were just lucky she didn’t. It’s a really hard decision. And awful one.

    But don’t discount the possibility that after she quits fussing and whining and hating you for moving her, she might just be a lot happier.

  19. Redwood Kim says:

    Eh, I don’t know. “I learned it from you” is premeditated and deliberate. And even if he’s only lashing out because he’s in pain, wtf. He’s not a dog or a toddler. Grown ups do their best to contain the collateral damage.

    I think the correct response to him is, “Fine, go as far away as you need.See you when you get back.”

  20. Tricia Halliday says:

    Hugs. Life is a funny thing isn’t it? The roller coaster ride should start to level off soon. fingers crossed for you and me!

  21. I am a firm believer that people will treat you as badly as you allow them to – when your children call you to lash out simply tell them to call back when they can be civilized and end the call. Period.

    As for your mother, I agree with Theresa Hill – she may not make it easy for you to move her but she will likely be happier and safer in the long run (even if she never admits it)

  22. romney says:

    Absolutely. Getting out of the way was the best thing you could do. When bad things happen some people look around for someone or something to blame and lash out at so that they don’t have to admit that it was due to them or just “one of those things”. You can’t help when someone is in that kind of a mood.

  23. Sharon S. says:

    There are some very nice Board and Care places. My aunt is in one in Kansas. It’s run by the Mason’s. (Her husband was a Mason.) She had to sell her home and turn the proceeds of the sale of her home to the Mason’s but she is taken care of for life. She has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t remember anyone by my mom right now. But before she got too bad, she really loved it because she got to go to activities and Walmart. She was singing their praises. I lived in a 55+ gated community and we have a B&C. My mothers’ friend had to move there and put her home for sale because she was falling all the time and her children liven too far away to help. She is really happy there too. She gets attention and has most of her things around her. So maybe you can find someplace like that for your mom.

    Another idea is to contact your local hospital and ask to speak to a Social Worker. They would be able to give you information on finding a place too. Good luck, Krissie. It’s a tough decision.

  24. Lois says:

    From one caregiver to another – if you don’t take care of yourself first you can’t help anyone else. Enjoy your time with your sisters,soak up the love,laugh often, exercise a little, eat well. Dark chocolate always helps.

  25. Barbara Cameron says:

    I loved what Redwood Kim said about your son, Krissie. You weren’t running away from your problems — you needed a break from everyone else thinking you should handle theirs. And I love that your sisters took away the phone…you’re there for a needed break and to work on your book with them and on your own writing.

    Re the mom: I knew my elderly mom was having more and more problems living alone and then she was found wandering in the neighbor’s yard and seemed out of it. That wouldn’t have been so bad but on the other side of that house was the river and she could have wandered there…she went into a nursing home and freaking THRIVED. They love her there. She’s such a social butterfly they often use her to greet new residents. Right at the time she went in we found that she was being taken advantage of by my brother and someone hired to clean. The woman never so much as ran a dust rag around — but she cleaned out Mom’s bank account. Mom was going to lose her home because none of us kids could afford to pay even one month’s bills for her to fix things. We also suspect that the woman drugged my mom once so she could take things from her house. Now mom is safe and happy in the nursing home.

  26. Maria Powers says:

    Well, how handy that he’s running away this time. Thank all the gods because too many times to count when I’ve been sobbing over the kid living in Colorado, she’ll call and emotionally puke all over about her life and I’ll hang up the telephone and be grateful that she lives far too far away for me to do anything about it. I love her, but the distance helps. Sometimes there really isn’t something I can do about any of it because she’s too far away. Those are the times that I just am grateful for the distance and my home isn’t destroyed by her choices.

    Yes, thank your son for running this time because with your mom there, it is too hard for you to actually get out. Ya know you’ve lived in the one place for far too many years to have taught the boy how to run away. Peese off kiddo.

    Love ya, big hugs to you!

  27. Ro says:

    Unfortunately, there is seldom a clear sign of when it is time to move a parent out of their home. We danced around it with my mom for a couple years. The first real indication I had was coming across a note she’d written to herself that she wanted to call a friend who lived in Assisted Living because she thought it was time to give up her home. She never actually said that to any of us.

    Physically, she’s in pretty good health, but her short term memory was failing. That created concerns with her medication. And eating properly. And safety.

    We were fortunate that there was a nice assisted living facility in town. She was content there, once she settled in, and it was fine for a couple years. Sadly, as her memory deteriorated (she’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) it became clear that she needed more that the small town facility was able to provide. So we moved her into a larger facility nearby that specializes in memory care. The first month was terrible, she wanted to go home, NOW. But now, she’s settled in and participates in many of the activities. She seems content. And my brother is no longer getting 50 calls an hour (no exaggeration) looking for your father (who died 20+ years ago).

    All of which is a very long winded way of saying that, on some level, your mother is possibly already thinking that she might need to go some place where she isn’t alone. The time to make the move is before there is a crisis, so the decision and the transition can be made in a more prepared way rather than under pressure.

    {{{Krissie}}}

  28. Rose says:

    Off topic: They winked at that drug ad in Cabin in The Woods, which was excellent, BTW, and I’m not a horror-movie person. Of course I’d watch anything Joss Whedon made, so I’m not objective. But I could tell I was in a theater full of youngsters when the reaction was a collective “huh?”

  29. Tabs says:

    Ugh, we had a similarly horrible situation before we could get my grandparents moved to a facility. My good-for-nothing uncle (technically my good for nothing biological father, but I traded him for his sister years ago parent-wise) decided to squat with them and despite having complete power of attorney over the grandparents and numerous restraining orders against the delinquent, we could not get him out. The very same day we did manage to get the grandparents moved to a facility, he and another sibling ransacked their house of everything of any value whatsoever and then covered everything left (including pretty much all of their clothing and personal belongings which we had intended to take to them the next day) with a fire extinguisher out of pure malice. The police decided not to get involved in our “family matter. It was a truly awful experience but the grandparents are now settled and happy.

  30. julianna says:

    Krissie, you can set up your cellphone so that certain incoming numbers have a ringtone of “silent.” Then you don’t have to know when someone-who-will-probably-upset-you is calling. When you’re ready to deal with it, you can check your messages. Because, really, if there’s a true emergency, there’s nothing you can do anyway, and it doesn’t really matter if you talk to them immediately or not. That’s what 911 is for. And even when you return home, I would leave everyone but your mother on silent ringtone. (Because at her age, she may not be able to think quickly enough to call 911/plumber/landlord/whoever when there really is a problem.) BUT once you get her into assisted living, you can put her on silent ringtone as well, and just call her at whatever intervals you feel appropriate.

  31. Sure it’s premeditated and meant to hurt, but the main goal is to get rid of his own hurt and maybe bad feelings about it, too (or at least share it!). So the thing is to protect yourself from a behavior like that instead of encouraging it.

  32. Jessie says:

    While IN GENERAL I am opposed to manipulative mothers, this is an opportunity that may never come your way again. In early May you talked about your son wanting to go to heavy equipment school but he would be away for 6 weeks. And this was something both you, he and his father thought he should do. But the GF was opposed to being away from her family. Well, she is – at least temporarily – history and he has indicated that he needs time away right now. Encourage him to go away and get that training. Even the GF might have a different take on things when she spends 6 weeks without him around to even fuss at her and he returns with a career.

  33. Tracey says:

    Sending you bright warm hugs. As someone who takes an SSRI, I’m glad to see you mentioning checking on your meds. You seem — to my totally uneducated eye — to be swinging between mood extremes a lot. Not that you haven’t had provocation; and as we pill heads know, the pills don’t fix Life, they just help smooth it out a little, or they should. That doesn’t seem to be happening here.

    Peace to you and yours!

  34. Egads says:

    Some good advice here, Krissie. Take what seems sensible to you. *hugs* Sorry it’s so hard, hon. I’m glad you have sisters to take care of you right now (and Richie is a prince, of course).

  35. Kelly S says:

    The lesbian part confuses me. I know, I’m over thinking here, I got up 2 hours earlier than normal and am fading, but most cowboys were boys so “gay cowboy erotica” or even simply “cowboy erotica” seems like they would work better. Or has lesbian been expanded in definition? I don’t get out much to know.

  36. Office Wench Cherry says:

    My grandmother was 90 when she decided that it was time for her to live with someone. Unfortunately,(fortunately?? I’m not sure which) this happened about three months before her death so we really didn’t have to deal with it. She was in full control of her mind, she was just getting too physically weak to look after herself. She lived in a seniors apartment building and had lots of wonderful neighbors and I lived right down the block and we (me, mom and aunt) thought we had it covered.

    The biggest problem was that she didn’t come right out and tell us she felt it was time. And we, heads firmly in the sand since she was so mentally sharp, didn’t ask. She called my house and asked for some help, I was making supper so I sent my husband and she told him. He came home and blew up at me (and by extension my mom and aunt) and said that if we didn’t help her move in with my aunt there was going to be hell to pay.

    There is no easy time but as others have said, it may be the best thing for her – and you. Just simply being around people more may help.

    Good luck with the awful decision and conversation. But you’re in Ohio right now so go write and have fun since you can’t do anything about anything else.

  37. Others may have said this already… if so, I apologize for the repetition.

    Krissie, he doesn’t get to define what “running away” is. You do. For you. If it were *YOUR* problem and you left in the middle of it without trying to work out a resolution, then sure, you’d be running away. This is not your problem. You are feeling the effects of *HIS* problem, hence the grief, but you did not create the problem.

    You need to own that.

    You are free to go and come as you please, to have support when you’re grieving, to have a break from someone else’s drama. You have the right to do that. It’s your life. Your happiness.

    Next time he says something like that, ask him this: “Do you want me to make this MY problem where I get to decide and delegate how it’s going to be solved? Because if so, you have to agree to do exactly as I tell you. If you do not agree to do that, then it is YOUR problem, and while I love you, you have to learn to solve your problems.”

    He gets the choice — he can always be the guy who’s making excuses or he can be the guy who’s trying to solve the problem. It’s HIS choice.

  38. molly says:

    Gotta love having friends who know when an intervention (phone removal) is necessary. So glad you’re surrounded by that wall of love and understanding right now. That will help you get back on your emotional legs, which is good for your whole family. Here’s to sisterhood.

  39. Kathryn says:

    I was thinking the same thing, some adjustments maybe should be made? A crisis every 3-5 days is not the norm, and shouldn’t just be accepted with a “well, here we go again.”

  40. Kathryn says:

    Sooo, now might be a good time to change all the locks on the house? Only slightly kidding.
    All this is reminding me of my parents taking my nephew in after high-school graduation. He’d been kicked out of his dad’s house some time in his sr year, had crashed with other folks in the mean time, and finally landed with my parents. They knew that he was (and still kinda is)good-for-not-much, but they gave him time to settle in, look for a job, get registered for community college.
    He did none of those things. He stayed up all night playing video games, slept all day, and smoked all my dad’s cigs. 😉
    They finally had to have the conversation, give him the deadline, “Hey, you’ve had your time. We love you, but you have til “X” date to find somewhere else to go. Enough is enough.”
    A hard conversation, but it had to be done.

    Another slightly hard conversation might be, “You can have phone fights with all the people you want, but out of our house. Take the cell outside.” If you have a landline, then he’s out of luck, he’ll have to find a payphone somewhere. Time to explain that it’s your house, and you & Ritchie have simply decided you don’t want yelling in it. It’s your right, as a grown-up.

  41. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Hint: it’s the ridiculous-ness that makes it funny… At least in my case!

  42. Lynn says:

    LOL! No, it’s a real book. My memory is fuzzy, but if I recall, the stories largely concerned women who rode, roped and wrangled horses, cattle, and other women.

    Only, you know, not necessarily in that order nor in comparable fashion.

    I’m sure there was a reason it was “lesbian cowboys” in the sub-title, and not “cowgirls” (different connotations, or playing with paradigms of gender, or something), but my memory fails.

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