Well, I haven’t found my zen moment yet, but I am feeling the need to get some things off my chest. Desperately. Urgently. And with no tact what-so-ever. I’m going to call the next 10 posts: Mommy Nearest-Day 1 through to Day 10 Ago; Mommy Nearest-Day 1 being the last of the parts to this particular story…or at least, it will bring us to the present. Ranting, venting, deciding, choosing, verbally vomiting my torment – but then that’s kinda what this blog is for, yes? I’m just feeling so…. unresolved :(
Ten days ago, when I wrote my last post called Intimate Perceptions Part #2 and promised I would next write Part #3 and give closure to my thoughts on the subject of lesbian role playing and identity, etc., I had to end the post incomplete because I had a Dr’s appointment. Later, that very same day, things took an unexpected turn, which has lead me to where I am in this exact moment.
My mother went missing.
Now to tell this story accurately, I need to go back…way way back. To the 60′s. To a time when my life began, ended, re-birthed and then died a thousand times over. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but in essence, it is the truth. I have lived many lives in this one lifetime and eventually, when I am up to it, I will write my story and share. But for now, I will skim over parts, the I’m-not-ready-to-talk-about-parts, and simply give you a glimpse inside so you can understand my state of mind today.
And maybe, if I’m really lucky, it will help me to find some sort of resolution to this angst, frustration, rejection and bitter bile that’s choking me now and reeking havoc with my emotions. Jesus. Sometimes you think shit is buried, and then “hello!” you find out that it’s not!
So here goes…starting 10 days ago.
My doctor stared quietly at her computer screen, clicking here, clicking there, reading slowly through the notes that once would have filled a beige manilla file folder and finally, when she’d read my prognosis, looked at me and smiled.
“Looks like you’ve been paying attention. I’m glad to say that your cholesterol is down and you’ve lost 12 pounds! We won’t need that dietician after-all. Good for you.”
“I’m working on it.” I said quietly, averting my eyes from her bold stare. We both knew that as a former wellness coach and natural health consultant, I should never have found myself weighing in at 224 pounds. Ever. My frame can carry it. My muscles are still strong and evident from years of track, sports, dancing endlessly for pleasure and oodles of fitness training and people are always blown away if I tell them the truth, but my body is screaming at me for the past 4 years of neglect.
And I’m not happy about it either. It’s been a rough time. Ending a marriage, coming out at 47, losing my job – (unrelated) – followed by nearly two years of unemployment – well, stress can do devastating things to a person. Bad habits set it. Treating my body like a temple was no longer a priority. No excuses. Just is.
I mentally patted myself on the back, thanked her for the encouragement, set a follow up appointment, and walked out into the sunshine feeling strong, positive and super optimistic. Once again, I had overcome some personal demons, conquered a few more of those bastard hurdles that seem ever present in my life and was heading in the right direction. Life was good. Well, for the walk home anyhow.
About an hour after I got in, my Iphone lit up and I saw that a message from my sister had arrived in my Inbox. I touched in my password, opened my email and clicked on her name. She had addressed the email to both myself and my brother Andy, who lives in Australia. My sister lives in Ottawa. I live in Toronto. My mom lives in St.Catharine’s. My Dad lives in Georgia. We’re a little estranged from one another. Have been for years. It’s complicated.
“Hey Trish, Andy, I got a letter from Mum dated 19 July saying she broke her wrist but had a cast and was getting better. I called her yesterday and today (26,27 July) but no answer – do either of you know that she’s ok ? please let me know asap, thanks, Raun.”
Odd. I too had received a letter from our mother dated July 19th, but that was in response to a long over due letter written to her about two weeks prior. Within minutes a dialogue through email ensued and I realized very quickly that my mom was actually missing.
To explain further, my sister and my mother haven’t really spoken in about 10 years. I haven’t spoken to my mother in nearly four, but my brother, who is the favorite, is in pretty close contact with her, but not necessarily with us…his sisters…but to be fair, he is a man of little words and does much much better in person.
According to her letters, my mother had fallen and broken her wrist just two weeks earlier and in her letter to my sister, had stated she was house-bound. Hence my sisters concern. My mother had not bothered to mention that little fact to me.
As is my nature, I began to think of ways to track down the old girl. Where the hell could she have gotten too? I wasn’t panicked. I’m not one for instant panic. That usually has a life of it’s own and sets in unbidden when I least expect it. But, I was more then a little concerned.
I had grown up in St. Catharine’s and still had a friend there, so I contacted her through Facebook – (my reliance on social media and technology is a little frightening at times) – since I didn’t actually have her new phone number, and explained that there was concern for my mother. She replied within about 2 minutes – (gotta love FB addicts!) – and told me she was at her trailer but would be home the following day and would certainly check in on her and report back to me. I thanked her profusely and we exchanged phone numbers.
While I was thinking of what to do next, my eX texted and I told him what was happening. He called and offered to phone a buddy cop of his with the Niagara Regional Police to see if he could send a car over and check on her. I gave him my mother’s address and phone number. Within about 20 minutes my eX called back and gave me the number to dispatch in Niagara and said I needed to request a “Wellness Check”. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. But, there you have it.
I called the dispatch, spoke to a very warm and kind woman officer, explained the situation and sunk further and further into a shamed embarrassment with each question she asked.
“How old is your mother, dear?”
I didn’t know. “83 I think.” She’s 86.
“When is her birthday?”
I wasn’t sure. “January 26 or 28th.” It’s Feb 12.
“When was the last time you spoke with her?”
“It’s been almost four years.” I cringed.
“Who was the last person to speak to your mother, dear?”
I felt heat creep under my skin. “I’m not sure to be honest. My sister and I both received letters dated July 19th but, neither of us has actually spoken to her since then. My brother is in regular contact I’m fairly certain, but he lives in Australia, so it’s hard for me to say.”
“How did her letter sound? Was there any mention of suicide, or any indication she may have had suicidal thoughts?”
At last! A question I could answer emphatically, without any question, with a resounding: “No! My mother would never take her own life.”
I proceeded to answer a few more questions, while steeped in an orange kind of guilt, green kind of shame and a purple hint of regret. My mother didn’t love well and that made loving her even more difficult. Children shouldn’t have to carry the burden of their parents inability to show affection, but all too often they do and that damage scars their DNA at a level much deeper then any chromosome. And once imprinted, it’s for life.
The officer was wonderfully generous in her compassion, saying she understood and was certainly not judging. “Every family has its stuff. I could tell you stories about my own, believe you me!” she laughed. I smiled weakly into the phone. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”
“Alright, well I have all I need right now. We’ll check the hospitals first, and if she hasn’t been admitted, we’ll send a car over to her apartment. Either way, we’ll get back to you the minute we know anything.”
I placed a call to my sister, deciding that it was time to actually talk and not email this important turn of events. We had only been connected for a few minutes when another call beeped in on my line. The caller ID was BLOCKED. I told my sister to hang on. It was the police. My mother had been found.
“So. Mom’s in hospital. They didn’t give me any details. Just the phone number and her room extension.”
“Alright. Do you want to call or shall I?” she asked. I told her I would. My sister has just finished radiation treatments for Colon cancer and is still decidedly weak and mentally exhausted. If there was bad news to be told, I would rather it was me that was doing the telling. Besides, by this point I needed personal confirmation that Mom was okay. That panic I mentioned earlier was curling into a sour knot in my stomach.
“Then call me back if it’s urgent, otherwise email me with her info and I will call her in the morning.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“You too, sis.”
I hung up, took a deep breath and then dialed the number. After thirty or so agonizing seconds of listening to a long winded recorded message meant to instill in the public the necessity of regular hand washing – UGH! – I punched “O” on my phone then entered her room extension.
Within seconds I heard the scratchy tones of my mothers voice and was reassured that she was indeed alive. And was instantly transported to a place of awkward discomfort… and somewhere in my brain, it registered once again that there was a reason why we hadn’t spoken in so long. Amazing what simply hearing a particular persons voice can do to you.
She had difficulty hearing me – (later I was to find that the batteries for her hearing aid needed to be replaced) – and so it took a ridiculous and almost comical amount of repetitions of my name before she finally understood it was me calling! She asked how I found her. I told her the story. She seemed amazed that one of her children was calling. And was probably disappointed that it was only me and not her favorite golden child, Andy. But, in that moment, I took what I could get.
She told me she had fallen and broken her hip. She has a very dark and witty sense of humor I have always respected, feared and appreciated and we shared a laugh or two.When she told me that she would be transferring to another hospital in a day or two for months of rehabilitation, I told her I would find out when that was happening and come to be with her for the transition. She seemed pleased about that. But, she is an enigma.
I have never known if she has ever actually been happy about my presence in her life. I’m not sure that I ever will. It’s been an unanswered question for me since I was 7 years old.
From the day that I was first adopted.