Thursday, December 11, 2008

I should've expected this from a hippie

Are you the type of person that when you get good news or something really good happens you can't be completely happy because you're too busy waiting for the other shoe to drop? Hi.

I'm not going into details here, which is completely annoying, but I'll say what I can. Obviously I got some good news this week, hurray. Then today happened.

My mom is going through some serious shit right now. She's 64 and not in the best of health (a fifth of vodka a day tends to not be very good for you - who knew?), but has never had any serious health problems (though I wouldn't want to see what her liver looks like and her chloresterol number doesn't exist on any chart). Unfortunately she was recently diagnosed with really bad cataracts. The doctor told her it's the worst case he's ever seen. They're progressing quickly and she shouldn't even be driving right now, but she has no choice - she has to go to work every day. Luckily work is very close to home and luckily she doesn't drive after dark. But still, it's been a nagging stresser for me and Sister for a few months.

She has surgery scheduled for early January. That's the good news. The bad news is the surgery costs $2000 per eye and she doesn't have health insurance. Financially she's been able to make it okay since my dad died, but just barely. Without help or some kind of miracle, this surgery will pretty much wipe out her savings. The whole thing just sucks and for the last month or so, Sister and I have talked about it, while also pushing it to the back of our minds because we each have our own shit to deal with as well.

Neither of us has a great relationship with my mom. This is widely known and documented. However, neither of us is unaffected by this - we're worried as hell. We're guilty too, because at this point in our lives, we'd have hoped to been in a position to just take care of something like this and not think twice. Just like they took such good care of us. Not being able to is the worst feeling ever.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of our finances here; let's just say beyond giving a fraction of the cost, neither Sister and I can do much else. One of our aunts had said she was going to start a savings account and have family members chip in as they could. I'm not sure what happened with that, except for the economy in general going down the toilet and everyone is cutting back and/or freaking out a little now.

Today, my aunt emailed Sister and I separately and what she had to say pretty much blew us both away. Basically it's gone from the savings account idea to "We all think as her children, you two should be the ones to handle this. I know you don't have the best relationship with her, but she's still your mother - do you want her to go blind?" Word for fucking word. Because we already weren't feeling bad enough about this. The most shocking part of this is THIS ISN'T EVEN THE JEW SIDE OF THE FAMILY! I don't know where she learned how to produce guilt so well, but...oh wait, she's the psychologist in the family. She's a pro. I totally forgot that until just now.

Me being me, the first response I had was to click reply and write, "How did you figure it out - I DO want my mother to go blind!" or "How am I supposed to buy myself a new mp3 player and go on vacation now? Your email really bummed me out."

But of course I haven't responded with anything yet. And I'm not sure yet how I will. I know every family has its fucked-up-ness. I don't know if it's the right way to do things, but I've mostly avoided most of the unpleasant people since I became an adult and realizing just because I'm related to them doesn't mean I have to like them or care what they think about me. They don't know shit about me, Sister or either of our lives. My new friend Heather who lives 800 miles away from me and whom I've never met in person knows more about me. A lot more.

Is it me or does anyone else experience this: when you come in contact with older family members, especially in an unpleasant manner, you regress back to childhood? Because right now I feel like I've just been sent to sit in the corner and I'm in big trouble, missy.


Heather said...

Oh for fuckssakes!!!

I promise a better response when I get home from work!

Kim said...

Even so, that pretty much covers it!

Anonymous said...

No one in my family is this blatant about things. I listen for five minutes in whichever month I allow myself to be contacted as they describe their financial woes...then the line is silent.

The silence, I imagine is the perios where they think that I am going to make the offer to send them money. I am the family member with the least amount of college education and the ONLY one that lives in a single-income family.

Obviously, you have a bigger situation on your plate, but these family members have learn over the years how to "push your buttons"...and it worked!

Kim said...

And I can write all I want but when it comes down to it, I'm the biggest wimp ever when it comes to confrontation of any kind. I go out of my way to avoid it. I might not be able to let this one slide though. I'm just as pissed as I was when I wrote that, if not moreso. Ah, family.

Anonymous said...

>>beyond giving a fraction of the cost, neither Sister and I can do much else

Then that is all you SHOULD do. Your aunt has no right to guilt you that way and she needs to back off. Your mom isn't guilting you about it, is she?

There has to be some sort of financing available to your mom. They even offer it for elective surgeries like Lasik. She could probably file for aid since it would mean that she might not be able to work if she doesn't have the surgery.

The insensitivity in people never ceases to amaze me.

Ironically, my Mom's aunt tried to pull the guilt trip on me after I lost my Mom.

And people think it's sad when I tell them I've cut ties with most of my family...

Kim said...

Heather, the sick part is when my sister offered 100 bucks, my aunt said that wouldn't be enough. But isn't it better than NOTHING??? Bitch.

Whiskeymarie said...

Your aunt sucks. Bad.

Do ONLY what you can- don't put yourself into a hole for this. There HAS to be some sort of financing/assistance your Mom would qualify for. Look into all of the options.

And quit feeling guilty- you've done nothing wrong. Yes, you are family, but that alone does not obligate you to damage your own life so that you can help someone else.

I have a sister that seems to think I'm made of money and would totally suck me dry if she could. I feel your pain, toots.

Kim said...

WM - I'm feeling a little better about the whole thing because I've composed a shitty nasty response back to my aunt. Don't know if I'll ever have the balls to send it, but it made me feel better just writing it.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever hit 'send'? :D

Kim said...