Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Well, it’s a strange week.

It’s been surreal.
My Mum moves into a retirement home this week. Almost 51 years in the same house. An era is over.
Is it upsetting? To her, I am sure it is. She’s only shared a bit with me so far.
To me?
Although my siblings have no idea what this whole process has done to me.
If they read this blog, they will but I haven’t shared my feelings with either of them and it’s not likely I will. We’re just not that close. We just put up with each other.
Sad, really- isn’t it?
But families are families. You can’t pick them ahead of time. You must stick with what you have.

When I got a call a week ago telling me that the idea of moving Mum out of her home, is a reality, I thought there would be some time to pause and reflect. A week later I get another call.
“She’s moving in Friday!”- says my Sister, a satisfied tone in her voice.

I haven’t been invited to see the facility. Not really. I haven’t seen her room- her new home- or even offer an opinion about it. My family is like that. The driving force in moving my mother has been my brother and sister. Oh, a Doctor or two is in the mix too. They do this together. All of them. All in the best interest of the individual- my Mum.
I am told after the fact. It’s just safer that way, I guess.

When talking to my Mum last week I said it’s like a production line.
You live your life. A spouse passes. You live you life some more.
You move to a retirement home where life is supposed to get better.
People are around. Nurses or facilitators keep you busy. You are supposed to relax and enjoy this final phase of life. Next, along comes the nursing home- if you live that long, where you turn into a vegetable garden and professionals are paid to “tend” you.
Then, it’s a box and game over.
The great thereafter.

I feel that my sister is somewhat satisfied that the old gal is finally being put out to pasture.
Freedom for her, at least.
Thank God, she’ll be mighty free at least- at least to go to Florida and not have to think about driving my Mother around town or making sure her pills and medication are all in order.
My Sister is a martyr where that’s concerned- my brother too, although, I haven’t heard a word from him. To be fair- I don’t call him or keep in touch.
Our paths last crossed at a funeral on December 27. If you were to ask me, I don’t even know how he feels but I would expect he believes this move to be in Mum’s best interest.
I do too.
I just question the swiftness and finality in the whole decision-making leading to the move.

So what have I done for my Mum?
I have been a designated driver too- many times.
It’s just of late, I’m not included. My Brother and Sister know what I think and they don’t want to hear it. So, they stay away. Keep me at more than an arm’s length.
Without any opposition or opinion from me- it’s a done deal.
She’s moving in.
No help from me.
I am a bad son.
At least, I feel that way. The funny thing is- I don’t seem to really care.
Isn’t that awful?

It’s always been a chore for my family having me around.
Being Gay has been a partial instigator in all this. They might deny that- but it has.
I remember when announcing to my Mum that Tom and I were to be married in a real ceremony, she questioned why it was necessary to celebrate on such a large scale- with so many guests.
Yes, there is acceptance.
I know that.
I mean I have been with the same man for almost 26 years- married officially with the government’s blessing these past five. However, things haven’t been the same since our wedding. That started something.
Something big.

I didn’t talk to my Mother for three months prior to the ceremony. It only came together when I made a call to her a week or so before. My brother never even came. We have never talked about it. To the best of my memory, it’s never come up in conversation. That’s okay- really, I’m past that now. To be fair, even Tom’s sister and father who live in Toronto were absent.

Look, I know I can be a snob.
I like better things.
I have travelled. I’ve seen what’s out there in the world. Meeting people and going places somehow gives one a different outlook. I have opinions. That’s where the line is drawn. I am cut from a different piece of cloth than the rest of my family.
It’s just easier somehow to be the “absent” son.
The “indifferent” son.
It’s not that I don’t care- I do.
I guess- in this instance, I just haven’t been allowed or given the time to care.

Now, the argument might be- well you didn’t come around. You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that. You left it all to the rest of us...blah, blah, blah.
It is what it is. I can’t change it. I am tired of trying.
I expressed that fact to my Mother yesterday.
Whether of not she understood what I was saying is another matter.
I asked her if she thought she was “losing her marbles”.
She didn’t think so, although she has been told so- I gather.

I am not a young “gaffer” anymore myself.
I am on the cusp of 60.
Cripes. 60!
I am growing crotchety. I am thinking of what’s ahead for me- another 20 good years?
Maybe more.
Could be less.
Yes, the bear has gone over the mountain and he’s sliding down the far side.
The darker side.
The life-altering side.

So the move is on. Am I there for support?
In spirit.
It will happen without me.
I am sure that I won’t hear much about it. It’s best if I stay away. I’ll just upset the apple cart anyway.
I feel sorry for my Mum but it’s out of my hands.
For the Doctors. For my siblings. It’s their war and they’ve won.

I just want to say one thing more. Okay, a few things.

I’ll see her new place when the dust settles.
When the time comes, I will be there. I will still go to my Mum when- if, she calls me. I’ll take her to lunch. I’ll drive her to Costco. She’ll come into our home and enjoy a Sunday dinner. Maybe she’ll excel in her new surroundings- her room with a bath.
Maybe she’ll give up.
Maybe she just wants to go.
Maybe she’s tired of the whole thing.
I know I would be.
So the indifferent son- the bad seed, sits idly by.
Hey, that’s something I am good at.
After all- it’s always been about me- right?

Someone should slap me up the back of my head.