The End of a Toxic Relationship

My mother passed away this week.

In October, I shared that my mother was moving to be closer to my sister in Michigan, Reflections: A House and a Toxic Relationship.  After the relocation, she complained and complained that she wanted to move back to Florida.  We did ask her about moving to Michigan and she said she was "okay" with it.  She harangued and threatened my sister.  It made absolutely no sense for her to move back here.

In February she became ill with bronchitis which then led to pneumonia.  She was in the hospital for about four weeks.  She hardly ate and lost about 20 lbs.  (She was an average weight when she went in.)  Of course, she needed physical therapy after all that which added another two weeks.  When she was released, my sister had lined up someone to check on her hourly.  Still, my mother called EMS twice during that time.  She ended up being put back in the hospital.  My sister was making arrangements to put her in nursing home care with hospice services.  The doctor thought she might have about six months to live because she had fluid around her lungs again and other problems.  The night before my mother was to be transferred she died in her sleep.

I cried once when my oldest daughter called to see how I was doing.  I haven't cried since.  I'm assuming tears will hit me from time to time.  The thing is, I've done a lot of mourning already.  At least a couple of years worth.  I don't know what to expect as the weekend with her memorial service approaches.  I don't know how neatly I've progressed through any stages, but I've certainly experienced shock, denial, anger (hatred)... acceptance.  

My sister still has some romantic view that she was a wonderful mother.  Honestly, this is hard to observe.  Shortly before my mother passed, my sister said she was saying how badly my mother felt that there were hard feelings between us (as far as I knew, their wasn't any unresolved argument with her, which would have led to that comment).  Immediately after my mother died, my sister told me that my mother stated she loved me (she never told me she loved me my entire life until the last couple years--um, too little too late).  I could hear my mother's voice, as my sister was relaying the sentiments to me.  These comments rang so hollow and fed into her "poor me, I'm an innocent victim" scenario.  

You know, I think I only talked to her once or twice on the phone since she moved away (I was sticking to self-preservation mode).  I sent her a birthday card and flowers for Mother's Day.  My sister suggested I call her, I got the phone number, was intending on calling her on Mother's Day, but didn't.  I didn't want to wish her a "Happy" anything, as I knew I would get a litany of complaining.  

In spite of the fact that she died without me having called her this past weekend, my conscience is clear.  I did the best I could for her, got her to doctor appointments, made sure she had groceries, medication, a safe, caring place to live.  I also came to the realization that I didn't have to do everything personally, as long as she was being taken well care of.  Neither did I have to take her abuse.

That's where things stand right now.  I'm waiting to see how things progress.  I think this weekend will be hard from the standpoint that everything will be geared toward what a "wonderful person" my mother was.  If they only knew.  I'll be mourning what I never had.
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