Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good News and Bad News

The good news is that my mother is speaking to me again.  I don’t know if she’s forgotten that she said she didn’t want anything more to do with me.  She doesn’t call me “dear” or “honey,” and she only says “I love you” if I say it first.  I’m glad that she isn’t telling me I make her life miserable anymore, though.

The bad news is that she was in a car accident.  She drove to a consignment store to buy fake plastic leaves ($6), and when she got in her car, she put her foot on the accelerator instead of the brake and plowed into a cement wall.  She knew that she had a suspended license.  She bruised her sternum.

My brother, aka Mr. Crazypants, brought the car back to her house the next day.  He thinks we need to believe her when she says she won’t drive. 

I have been up to visit my mom four times this week.  That’s 800 miles of driving.  On one of my visits, I asked her if she would mind if I borrowed her car while she was recuperating from her injury.  She reluctantly gave me the key.

I took her to the doctor so he could check her bruise again.  I heard him say, You mustn’t drive anymore.  She told him she is an excellent driver and has never gotten a ticket.

My heart is bruised.

On the way home, I said, What if you’d killed a kid?  Someone’s baby?   She said, cheerfully, But I didn’t.

I have a lot of people gathering information, trying to decide what to do: doctors, geriatric social workers, lawyers.  And friends, and my kids, and Robert.

But I still feel all alone.

Tomorrow I am going to work on final edits for my new book, due out next year.  Then I’m going to fill a plastic water bottle with pomegranate juice and vodka and go down to the beach and look for dolphins.  And not think about any of this.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Casting Off

Last Friday, I got my cast off.  Also, my mother told me she didn’t want anything more to do with me.

My mother has had some sort of mild dementia for quite some time, but it’s apparently getting worse.  Her anger at me stems from my having made a request to the DMV to give her a driving test.  An actual driving test, in a car, not a written test.  You would think that the state of California would assess the driving skills of 91-year-olds routinely, but it doesn’t.  You have to ask.

I got my cast off a few hours before my mother told me she didn’t want anything more to do with me.  In the car on the way home from the “fracture clinic,” I thought about other things I had cast off recently:


--anything made with wheat;

--curly hair;

--gray hair;


--people who blame me for their own unhappiness;

--jobs in which I have to wear suits and have a boss;

--friends who aren’t really friends;

--the conviction that I would always have a dog;

--as many delusions about myself as thirteen years of therapy will allow;

--tax returns from 1997;

--aluminum pans.

I’ve talked to my mother almost every night since she first yelled at me.  She has hung up on me twice and been rude and nasty.  Every once in a while, she has called me ‘dear’, as she used to.  She sounds scared and confused.  She is steadfastly unwilling to accept any kind of assistance with grace.

I don’t know if my mother is going to continue to take her fear and frustration out on me.
But I am going to call her every night.