Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mama's Boy

My older sister just got back from visiting my younger sister, with whom my mother has been staying the last three or four years.

There's a divorce going on now, with more than the necessary amount of chaos because my brother-in-law leaves a trail of chaos, like a snail leaves a trail of slime. That comparison is neither original nor apt -- chaos is more dynamic and variable than a trail of slime -- but there is nothing original about my brother-in-law. He's the psychotic version of nut-by-the-numbers.

But that's where my mother longed to be, under that particular roof, though we urged her to stay in her home -- or even to move my sis and nutty brother-in-law in with her, under the scrutiny of her many friends.

Instead, she chose the country cuckoo nest. The good news is that she's suffering from ever increasing dementia, so in one sense all the horror is wasted on her.

Now that the marriage is breaking up, my younger sister's life is taking a turn for the better. Still, it looks as if my older sister will be moving my mother into a nursing home near her sometime this summer. My older sister says she could not and would not move my mother into my older sister's home. Me either. Under no circumstances. My older sister says my mother has taken to standing in the center of the room and saying, "I'm garbage. I'm garbage. No one could love me."

This has nothing to do with how my younger sister and her children -- or even my crazy brother-in-law -- have treated my mother. My older sister says it seems to be an old wound spitting up splinters of glass. My mother also reminisces how every day my dad told her that he loved her. Some good news for her there. But then she asks where my father is....

It's as if my father dies for her 20 or 30 times a day, my older sister says, though by the 30th time she has to explain it, it's a quick and painless death.

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