Krissie: As Ye Reap So Shall Ye Sow

Photo on 5-28-13 at 9.15 AM #2 I can’t complain. The things we do in life have consequences. The way we were raised can cause deep scars, and those scars affect how we turn around and raise our own kids.
With distance I’m recognizing my mother’s mental illness. Funny how that got lost along the way. She was relatively sane and as happy as she could be for the last almost forty years of her life, once my father died. Add remembering my father’s alcoholism, plus my brother’s, and it’s easy to forget the constant, screaming rages. Locking myself in the bathroom while she tried to batter it down with a firepoker. Chasing my sister into the neighbor’s kitchen with a knife. Her times in mental hospitals. The period, when I was sent away to live with my aunt and uncle (my extremely bi-polar aunt) when she had daily shock treatments. I visited her in the hospital once and she had scorch marks on her temples. My father was in the same hospital … oh, shit, you don’t need the deets. But I’d forgotten how sick she was. It puts things in perspective.
But it made me a lousy mother. I did everything I could to protect my kids, to rescue them, to save them, to bail them out, to rationalize what they did, to go with the flow. On top of that my baby boy was wounded. He has severe learning differences, though they don’t show, and a lifelong series of abandonments. And I kept wanting to fix things.
All the other little boys in my life died. Obviously I was the little mother in my family, and my father was my little boy. So was my brother. So was my nephew, while my sister, his mother, went through all her messes. And they all died. Young.
Which made me even more protective.
I didn’t lose it till this December, when something snapped. And he’s been so much better. Or had been. But he can’t find a job, he has no money, no car, no place to go. And yet he makes my life a living hell. Richie’s too. Richie’s heart was racing on Sunday night, he was so anxious. And it’s our fault. We made him the way he is. We kicked him out once, and it was the most painful thing I’ve ever done. I can’t do it again. Not when I was abandoned on every single level.
But if I won’t do what’s right I can’t complain. So I’m not going to whine, or give you details, or fuss. We’ll figure it out. I’m hiding out in the bedroom, working. But if he starts berating Richie again I’m going to have to do something. Because I won’t let him kill Richie from the stress of dealing with him.
But I digress.
Because I can complain about the snow. Most definitely. Latest snow on record up here, and certain areas got a whopper. They had to close the road to Smuggler’s Notch, big fat flakes came down all day, and it was still on the ground on Sunday when Richie and I went shopping.
IMG_0853 Note the apple blossoms.
It got into the 50s yesterday, with some sunshine.
Damn, I need the weather to get better. I need things with my son to get better. I need to close my eyes and listen to “Co-Dependent No More” except I don’t like Melody Beattie’s writing (I feel guilty that I don’t — how’s that for co-depency?).
I think I gotta concentrate on one day at a time. I can’t look ahead to the end of the week with dread — I’ll probably enjoy it. Or shudder at the thought of that long drive so soon after making it. Or angst about the work I want to be doing. Or the fact that I don’t feel I have a home any more.
We’ll talk about that tomorrow.
In the meantime,  I said I couldn’t complain but I actually did. Mea culpa. Oh, my god, mea maxima culpa. I didn’t think guilt was my thing. But I’d rather feel guilty than think my son is a total shit.
Okay, enough. I got books to write, worlds to save. I’ll get it right eventually.

Krissie: Guilt

Photo on 2013-02-15 at 10.35 Behind me is a throw I made for my mother out of Mary Engelbreit tea fabrics. I need to find a place to put it or a place to gift it.
Anyway, guilt. I’ve insisted I don’t feel guilt, and really, I don’t very often. Mainly because I really try to do things for other people, understand if I annoy them, don’t ask for much.
And I know the last couple of days I was feeling guilty about Sally, and pissed that I was.
I adore Sally. We’ve known each other since we were eight years old, and believe it or not she had a much more horrifying childhood than I had. (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is pure fact — Sally and I both came from academic families in Princeton). Anyway, we’ve had our ups and downs, including a long period, close to 20 years, when we didn’t speak. Well, she wouldn’t speak to me. She’s had a really rough life, and I understood. I can have a toxic effect on people, and she needed to protect herself. She blames herself now for it, but I always understood. I just missed her in my life.
But we’ve been bff (literally) and sisters for the last ten years, and we won’t have a falling apart like that. But maybe a small part of me is always afraid she’s going to walk away again.
She’s also very needy. I don’t mind — I was there, a witness to her childhood, and I understand. And she takes care of me when I give her a mental shake and say I’m a mess, but mostly I tend to be … reserved, I guess. I hadn’t realized this until I started typing this morning, but I guess I hold something back, despite how close we are, because I’m afraid she’ll turn her back on me again.
Anyway, I climb mountains for her. And when I got sick it was decided I shouldn’t come in, because her grandson has got low platelets or something and is very susceptible to bugs. But I’d sent a suitcase with my meds into the city with them, and I was going to run out at Jenny’s. So Sally said she’d have her husband send them (Tony was arriving on Thursday). Phew! I’d do without them for a weekend and then be fine.
But I couldn’t get home on Monday (icy roads) and then Richie called to say Tony (Sally’s husband) didn’t know anything about sending the pills. They were still sitting in my suitcase in Manhattan. I couldn’t go up to the apartment because I’d bring cooties (which I understand — we were sooo sick) but I thought maybe Tony could meet me at the bus stop. No, that was too complicated. So they sent them out on Tuesday afternoon, express, and they got here on Thursday, which made it a week without my meds.
And I was angry. Angry that she’d spaced it, angry that I had to make such a fuss, emailing and texting and calling. But mostly guilty that I had to insist someone do something for me, and guilty for feeling angry about it.
She emailed me, all cheerful etc., and the anger disappeared. I think it came from fear that she’d be angry with me for making her do this. Which I guess brings me back to the trust issue. I never realized that I can’t completely trust her.
As for Crusie and me, we got along fine. No grumps or blow-ups (because I don’t survive blow-ups). We managed to sort of camp in the house as she pulled it together (with my minimal help — I think I screwed in a switchplate). But I had good ideas (like move the bed, etc). So basically I’m pretty sure I helped more than I hindered (I could remember where I’d last seen things, etc. and I helped clean up the rental). It was too long a visit given that we were basically camping out, but we didn’t have any say in the matter. The Bubonic Plague and the northeast storm (and then the ice) made it impossible to leave sooner.
No, my vague issues were all about Sally. We’ll talk about it when she gets back — we’re so close that we can. I need to figure out how to let go guilt and anger when I have to ask for something.

Too much rambling, I know. But hey, it helped me work it out what was going on, and that’s one of the things I wanted Refab for. To work out what’s holding me back from my true fabulousness.

Anyway, I’m damned lucky to have Sally (and Jenny and Lani) even if I’m a little nutzoid sometimes.

Krissie: Guilt

Yawn. No nap yesterday because Alex was here, crashed at 7:30 and slept until about 4. Now I’m awake and tired. Grrr.
Anyway, guilt seems a strange thing. I was sure I’d never feel even a hint of guilt, and I keep checking, like prodding a sore tooth, to see if there was something else I could do, if I was somehow to blame. But everything I poke at, test, I come out unscathed.
Like not going to see her every day when she was so mean. In the end, I think she really would prefer me not to hear all that abuse from her. She couldn’t stop it, and I think it was because she knew her time had come and she was fighting it. It explains the nasty turn in her personality that was horribly like my childhood. But I can forgive that, because she was afraid.
So it’s okay that I skipped some days when she was so mean. She actually did better when I wasn’t there.
And I don’t have to feel bad that I wasn’t there when she died. She knew I was going, was very clear that I was coming back at 5 (and even repeated it) and then she died at 4:50. She waited until I was gone.
I would have liked to have been there. But she didn’t want me there, and that was good and kind.
And she died peacefully, just slipping away, which was what she wanted. Maybe if I hadn’t gone to Cincinnati? No. She wouldn’t have gone into a decline and died because she was pissed at me. She would have fought back. She didn’t want to die, and nothing I did would have made her give up. She was foul and mean in the rehab center, not defeated and weak. And those panic attacks were killing her.
So everything I poke at I feel okay about. But I still keep poking.
Just before my brother and my father died I gave them tough love. I took the car away from my brother (who’d been found passed out behind the wheel twice in three days) and his last words were “Fuck you, Krissie.” And I loved him dearly. And I don’t feel guilty — it was a last ditch effort to save him. But it was too late.
Same with my father. I told him if he didn’t stop this (he was staggering around) he was going to die. And he said “you’ve really depressed me” or something like that. And that was the last thing he ever said to me. And that’s okay too.
With my sister and my nephew I feel regret more than guilt. The last evening I could have spent with my nephew I sent him away so I could finish revisions. And my sister … my sister was sicker than I realized. I still thought she could simply have tried, but she was past that point.
And at the time of her death Chris Isaak came out with a song called “We Let Her Down.”
Guilt sucks. I try so hard to do my absolute best, but everyone fails sometimes.
But when it comes right down to it, I couldn’t change things with my mother. It had been set in place, moving toward her passing, and the constant panic attacks and bad temper were her ways of fighting it. And nothing I could do would change the fact that at almost age 98 her heart failed, her lungs filled with fluid and everything quietly shut down.
It’s okay. It was her time, and a better time than 18, 37, 40, 58, or 64 (the deaths of the other members of my family).
I don’t feel guilty. Do I?

Jenny: Guilt-Edged Bonds

I feel guilty.

I feel guilty because Lani’s driving me to all my doctor’s appointments even though she’s swamped right now.

I feel guilty that I didn’t put an interview up on Argh today.  Lani’s swamped because she’s launching her first Lucy March book, A Little Night Magic (which is out today so you should go buy it right now.  Thank you) and I was supposed to do an interview with her and I didn’t get to it. Continue reading