It’s a coincidence that I’m reading Martha Beck’s The Way of Integrity when I come across a letter from March of 2009. Because of the book, I’m compelled to write about it.
The past year has been about downsizing. Certain items just weren’t going to make the move to a smaller place. Other items, tucked away and not taking up much space, could wait. I wasn’t looking for the letter or even planning on going through the entire accordion file – just weeding through old medical documentation that might be relevant for my new local physician. But, there it was. I know why I kept it. I kept it as proof that my mother was batshit crazy.
The letter was sent from the third address my mother had lived at since my parents moved to be closer to me. I would move her three more times before she would have her massive stroke and have to be moved into a nursing facility. Once again (in multiple colors, full of stickers, writing in the margins (a jumble of mostly Polish and some English), and numerous newspaper clippings of senior living locations) I read plea that she had to move again and that this was going to be the last time before she dies. She was being spied on by the complex administration. They were stealing from her. She wanted to move back to the first place she lived with my father before he died because it wasn’t that bad and they didn’t steal as much as they did in this new expensive place she was living. (And, yes, I would have to also hear this numerous times. I guess the letter made it “official.”) As usual, I had to make this happen because I owed her for being the wonderful mother she was.
That’s what I’ve always done. I take care of things. Never mind that there was no evidence that any spying, stealing, or other crazy things were happening. She told every place she left that I was making her move. It’s amazing how many of my triggers are associated with her. People blaming me for their actions, people telling me I “need to” do something, and people telling me I owe them because they did something for me… I should just let some of this resentment go. She can’t tell me what I need to do any more; she’s nonverbal now. She can’t write me letters any more; she can only copy words. All my seriously dysfunctional family experiences are in the past but, they made me who I am and, I’m good with who I am. Maybe I just needed that reminder.