Life as an Extreme Sport

pretty sure I’ll never do the bargaining bit

I’m angry.

I’m so angry I just blew up at my sister, one of the people I’m angry at. And Dad certainly picked up on the fact that I was angry, too – I suspect the short sentences and clearing everything out of the room he was in, oh, and telling him to go away and leave me alone after he dared suggest, when I was crying, that I wanted Mom to stay around in this sort of pain.

What I want is to be there when she dies. I don’t want to be in the same city. I don’t want to be in the same house. I want to be in the same room, there with her, as she has been there for me so often.

Problem is, she apparently made it clear to everyone she didn’t want me there. She never told me that, of course – when we talked about it, it was different. But isn’t that the way it always goes? So yeah, I’m mad at her, too. I’m furious with her for doing this to me, denying me this.

This entire year has been about me losing control of any say in anything. Dad decides when I come and go, based on Mom’s thoughts when she was aware, and Tracy’s medical knowledge. Mom wanted me to be in school this semester, even though we all knew I’d have to leave half-way through, leaving me with what – another $5000 in debt and two more incompletes? For that cost, I could have bought amazing state health insurance, and not had to worry about school – I could have come home, done my job from here, I could have still done ASBH. And I could have had more time.

I feel like time has been stolen from me. And Mom and I had a lot of time where we weren’t friends, where we didn’t even talk. I left home young, and on bad terms, thanks to accusations Dad brought to my face, but Mom believed. We didn’t talk for several years, except in the occasional hand written letter. They moved to Portland and offered to take me with them, but at that point the wedge, the hurt was so deep, I didn’t even go to say goodbye, or take any of my things from the house before they left.

Eventually talking started again – in one of those sad irony things, I received a letter from Mom saying that Grandma was very sick, and they would pay for me to go visit her, since Grandma and I had been so close. Maybe I could talk sense into Grandma, and if not, I could talk to her, spend time with, be with her. I was reading the letter, teary and grateful, ready to call and accept, when Mom called to tell me Grandma had died that morning.

But it opened up talking, and I started to visit at Thanksgiving. A few days I dreaded, coming up to the trip, because they were all strangers who just shared blood with me. Tim and Tracy were growing up, and growing up without me – I was just an abstract concept, their weird sister they sometimes saw and heard about. I had no value to their life, and I was just an irritant when I was around. And Mom and Dad tried to keep things between us as stress-free as possible, but it was always stressful. I didn’t have a place here, just a cobbled together bedroom of discarded furniture. Being in that dark room, and then seeing the amazing things done to my siblings bedroom, just reinforced the teenage idea that had long been lodged in my brain – I was the first child, the guinea pig child, and they had screwed up badly enough that I wasn’t worth investing in. Not even for a nice comforter and bed sheets.

Meanwhile, my brother’s room is turned into an amazing black, white, mirrored club-land, and my sister gets this arial retreat that I’m sitting in right now. Dark blue base walls, sun and moon border at the wainscot, beautiful blue and white clouds wallpapered above. Custom cabinets, a closet organizer that’s practical and sensible, matching accessories in sparkling silver, blue and white – down to the throw pillows for the bed.

She had celestial themed throw pillows for the bed, and I had the discarded pillows no one else wanted, because they felt funny or old.

It was hard to not harbour a lot of resentment for my family. They functioned better as a unit of four; I was the fifth wheel.

I had to move back home at 20. I was in a bad relationship, and a bad work environment, and finally had met a few people who had convinced me that I deserved better. And part of me always wonders why the hell it had to be these other people, why my parents didn’t try harder, why they made an effort to include him when what they should have done is every effort to get me away from him. So I smartened up, and ended up in Portland at my parents house, a car full of possessions and no idea what I was going to do.

Part of what I did was, slowly, over the next few years, repair my relationship with my parents. At the same time, I developed a relationship with my siblings – a somewhat shallow one, but it was there. I was close by, Nevada and then Seattle, so it was easy to visit a lot. Once Tracy graduated college, she had more time, and we started really getting to know each other – in the last year, she’s become one of my closest friends. My brother is still a bit of a distant being, but when he was arrested, I was the first person he called, in tears.

But it was never as close as it could have been. After my divorce, Mom and I got closer than we’d been in a long time, and I was able to start letting go some of the issues I had with being the fifth wheel. Trying to make peace with my own decisions, and acknowledge that my choices led to what happened as much as anything else; being jealous for my sister’s repeated trips to Europe when I wasn’t even able to go to Washington, DC with one of my classes was only a reflection on the family finances at those times, nothing more. The funny thing is, I type that out, and have to acknowledge I still have the instinctve wince reaction to “trips” to Europe, because she’s been several times for school, and once for fun.

This is not to say my parents did nothing for me. They supported me in the early days of my marriage, sneaking groceries into my car when I wasn’t looking (hell, buying me that car years before, so I could even accept a job at Apple), they helped me in the last days of it, too, and my divorce. They made sure I had money, could pay rent, have taken care of my rent. They bought me my car, they moved me to Albany, set up my apartment, lent me money they didn’t have when I was having problems balancing different tuition and costs with living. They take care of me as they can… I guess, with exception of driving across the country, it’s simply always felt like it’s remote distant help and support. Lacking intimacy.

Oh – yep, Tracy apparently told Dad I blew up. Or he heard it, it’s not like I was keeping my voice down. He came up and asked when I last took an ativan, with one in hand – thanks Dad, you want to drug me now – and then told me I should take one every 7 odd hours. “Yeah. Just like I’ve been doing for the last two days.”

He went on to say the same thing Tracy said to me, that set me off in yelling at her – the yelling I was going to try to get out here alone – in that no one said I couldn’t be down there with her, that I should go down and spend time with her, it’s just when she’s asleep… things that don’t make sense, since I never said I wanted to sleep down there, and all I’ve been doing is sitting quietly, either watching, reading, or writing. The thing is, when it was all three of us in the kitchen, I was told she’s not going to die when I’m down there, that it will only be with Tracy, and that’s why Dad’s staying away, and why I should, too.

Pretty hard to read that in any way other than I should not be down with my dying mother.


I have, for the record, turned off all my IM programs save one, and on that one I have blocked everyone but the single person I actually harbor no anger towards. I’m probably going to stop email, too, but haven’t made that decision yet. I know I’m lashing out, and I don’t want anyone else to get caught in my own whirlwind of pain and anger.