It’s difficult, i imagine, for someone that has, little or no fond memories of their parents to understand the kind of person that would take care of an aged parent for 10 years. hell, it’s difficult for a lot of people, even those have good relationships with their parents.
She was a functioning alcoholic, who didnt quit drinking until I was nearly 30, and then didn’t do it, for anyone other than herself. No surprise there; alcoholics rarely quit for others. She had, by the time she quit, managed to alienate most of her kids, except for me. I was in california at the time — involved, working, living ..
She called us nightly.
I moved back, not expecting to spend as long as I have. It was pretty clear, though, within the first week or so (she was keeping a 16 year old nearly-dead dog alive on her bedroom floor, and injecting it with vinegar ‘to kill the cancer’), that she was in need of something, or someone, to “keep her company”.
And as I’ve recounted before, time passed. And no, it wasnt easy, but I did get most of the apologies I needed for the crappy things that happened to me as a kid. She owned up, in the end.
I dont ever look back with any kind of regret at the time I spent with her. She was a terrible mom, and i STILL dont regret it. Above all else, she was still my mom – and the very least I could do, for her, for our relationship, was to be there for her – when no-one else was.
She died on Nov. 11.
In 2011 I almost forgot the date completely.
It’s not about living in the past. I dont even miss her.
It’s about recognizing that despite her faults, and she had a LOT of them, and despite her raging alcoholism, most of the things she tried to teach me when I was younger .. she was right. She did her best. I’ve accepted that. I owed her the same. She got it.