[I had hoped to get the first post in my promised Beer 501 series by now, but life intervened. Hopefully later this week...]
One of, if not the hardest part of having settled in a country the opposite side of the globe from the land of my origin, is being so far from family and friends. This becomes particularly difficult when it comes to life events. Last year I couldn't attend the christening of my nephew. That sucked. Illness and deaths are the worst. I had to miss the funeral of an uncle of whom I was particularly fond. And now my mother's health is deteriorating.
I feel guilty for not being there.
As far as anyone can tell she's not about to kick the bucket. On the contrary, being the paranoid cantankerous old battle-axe that she is, I suspect she's made it her life's goal to hang around as long as possible to a) find out who is to blame for everything* and b) make the lives of her caregivers as miserable as possible. And that's the rub. The caregiver's right now are primarily my sister and her husband.** It's that they are taking the brunt of all this that makes me feel most guilty. One of my brothers also lives in the US, and our other brother lives about 260 miles from my mother. My sister lives but a few blocks from her...
My mother is a difficult woman. I'm not close to her. I used to try, but in the end I got tired of being pushed away. In many ways this is "pushing away" is a form of abuse.*** After a couple of months in this country I came to realize I needed to be far away from her. Not really the kind of epiphany you want to have about a parent.
If there's one thing she's really, really good at it's this pushing people away. Unfortunately this is a skill that she chooses to practice most when she really needs help. Yes, yes, I know it's a cry for help. I feel guilty about that too. But my mother has raised pushing people away to an art form. How do you help someone who refuses to be helped?
Her health has deteriorated to the point that soon she will need to be moved into some kind of assisted living facility. She has made it clear that that will only happen over her dead body. Oh joy.
* Did I mention her paranoia?
** According to my mother they're currently the ones to blame. For everything.
*** I know I'm not giving sufficient detail for you to decide whether or not this is the case, but trust me, it is.