“It isn’t necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy.” Groucho Marx
A huge family war broke out when my mom fell and broke her neck.
Even though she isn’t supposed to be left alone, sometimes Pete has to go out for an hour, an hour-and-a-half. She fell and fractured two vertebrae in her neck. They took her to the Cleveland Clinic in Fairview Park.
She doesn’t know she fell. She doesn’t know her face is black and blue. She doesn’t know she’s in pain. Sometimes I think her Alzheimer’s has killed the pain center in her brain.
But the arm on the side she fell down on hurts. She might have tried to break her fall. Every time they take her blood pressure she cries, no, no.
When I found out what happened I was nervous and scared for her. She had a horrible trauma. I stayed overnight in the hospital. I tried to sleep, but sleeping in a hospital is a loose term.
The next morning bad news showed up.
The headline is my sister-in-law.
My siblings hate me. Last year they ripped me apart for posting a picture of me giving my mom a pedicure and us having lunch together. They said I was degrading and humiliating our mother. It’s all about them not having any pictures of her because they don’t do shit with her.
I didn’t acknowledge my sister or brother or his wife, my sister-in-law, at the hospital. I didn’t talk to them and I didn’t look at them. I just minded my own business, kept quiet. They can’t get mad at me for that, right?
After I left, Brian went to see my mom. Pete had gone somewhere, but left his phone. Something possessed Brian to look at it. There was a text on the phone.
“I had this horrible gut feeling come over me” Brian said. The text was from Satan. He said he went ahead and read it.
“All it did mock you, make fun of you and bash you,” Brian told me. “And your stepfather agreed with everything,” he said. I felt something happen in my heart. I was so upset. It broke my heart.
Brian went off on Pete. “How could you? She’s given up her work schedule, half her salary, to come to your house and help you take care of your wife. She loves her mother.”
When I went back to the hospital I asked Pete, “Don’t you get tired of hearing the nastiness and hatred and mean things from them? Doesn’t it tire you out? Why don’t you shut it down?”
“I didn’t know I could do that,” said Pete.
“What are you, stupid?” I said. “I’ve been here for two-and-a half years helping you. Not only did you not support me, but you agreed with them.”
He must have told them what I said.
The next time I was at the hospital Pete’s phone rang. It was the sister of bad news, my sister. I could hear her. “I’m so sorry that she started all this drama. Do you want me to put her in her place?”
I blocked all of them on my phone. I unfriended all of them on facebook. It makes it easier to go and take care of my mom, knowing who I’m dealing with, knowing who my step dad is, who he thinks I am. We will talk about my mother, about Izzy, my dog that I gave them, about the weather. There’s nothing else to talk about.
Another day at the hospital, he was on the phone with my brother-in-law in Maine, who is married to Satan’s other cousin, my other sister. “Your sister had to have surgery on her hand,” he said. “I’m glad everything went well,” I said. There was no more to be said. I didn’t need to hear more about it. I refuse to talk to any of them.
God forbid that my feelings got hurt and I’m an emotional wreck. I have not had time to do anything for myself for a long time, yet my family has the audacity to get pissed off at me for getting upset about their hatred.
My brother is a paramedic and my sisters are nurses. They think they are way more valuable than me. They don’t do crap for my mom. They don’t do anything.
After my mom got out of the hospital she went to a rehab center. We were there on a Saturday when Brian said, “Oh my mom’s coming to town.”
“Dear God!” I said.
Since I started taking care of my mom my house hasn’t had any attention paid to it. Sunday morning Brian said he was going to church. “How can you go to church? This house is a mess!” He went to church, anyway.
When he got home the upstairs looked like a bomb had exploded. I had unloaded drawers, unloaded closets, and unloaded everything out of two rooms. “Holy crap!” he said. “What should I do with it?”
“I don’t care what you do with it, just get it out of here.”
He took everything to St. Malachi’s.
I did our bedroom, the downstairs, the dining room, all the drawers, and all the cupboards.
“She’s only staying for a few days,” said Brian.
“It’s a great excuse to clean the house,” I said. I looked at our oven. Is that the color it’s supposed to be? I turned on the self-cleaner.
Brian’s mom has never been to our house. We had cats for a long time and she’s deathly afraid of cats. We were at dinner once with her where they had cats and she literally jumped on Brian’s shoulders. WTF just happened?
With all the trauma, my mom getting hurt, my sisters, Brian’s mom coming, tearing my house apart, I decided to get my lips done. I do it every couple of years because I have no lips.
My lip girl is from Hungary and does permanent makeup. My lips were no lips, nothing, and they were slightly crooked. She evened them out. But, if she sticks that needle in my lips one more time, I thought, I am going to lose it, and I did. I burst into tears.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“No, no, it had to happen.”
Click here to see more writing between fiction and non-fiction by Ed Staskus.