In the couple of weeks prior to our move to the new house, I also had a weekend trip planned to my hometown to attend a wedding reception for my son and his wife. They married earlier this year, choosing a simple courthouse wedding; but they had this reception planned for friends and family to celebrate their union. They were also in the middle of a move to his first duty station on the west coast which made this the perfect event to see all their friends and family prior to getting settled clear across the U.S. I’m so thankful I was able to attend. For someone with serious social anxieties that often present as agoraphobia, trips are a nightmare! I believe my son and his wife (even her mom) understand this more fully than the rest of my family.
Not only was the trip itself a stressor, but it was terribly nerve-racking (strange and surreal, also come to mind) to see my ex-husband (CF), his entire family, and many of his ex’s there. There’s so much history involved in mine and CF’s relationship, so much pain. Every time someone called me by the nickname he gave me, I cringed — literally cringed. It caused a part of me to cry out in my mind, “Make them stop!” while the outer “me” could only smile and nod or fight tears with nervous laughter. Yeah, my emotions were a wreck; but I hope I handled myself with a quiet dignity that hid the pain I felt behind a mask of tolerance and hope for the sakes of my son and his wife and for their future together. Thankfully, everyone remained civil and everything went smoothly.
After the wedding reception on the following Monday, I pretty much hit the ground running into a non-stop frenzy of activity for about a month solid. I drove straight from my mom’s house to the new house to help KR with the cleaning and preparation for move-in. On Tuesday, my son and his wife spent the night with us at our old place. That was the first time I have spent that type of quality time with my child in many, many years. We had the opportunity to have a long, in-depth discussion about my past and the break-up with his dad, something we never had the chance to discuss prior to his visit. It was discouraging to hear the things CF told my son about me (mostly false), but not surprising. I’m happy that I can speak so openly around my son and his wife. That visit meant the world to me, and provided a small amount of closure that I’ve never felt.
Following their visit, I spent the remainder of the week finishing the cleaning of our new place, shampooing carpets, bleaching every square inch of the kitchen and bathroom, etc., as well as finishing up the packing. We moved into our new place the last weekend of June. Prior to the move, while I was in my hometown visiting family, I told everyone that I would be out of contact for at least a couple of weeks after we moved because we still had not determined what type of phone/internet service would be available. KR and I didn’t have cell phones at the time of the move, only a home phone and PC internet, which were cut off that following Monday.
For whatever reason, we couldn’t get phone service through Charter at our new address, only internet; and that took a lot of complaining and waiting — something about the local telephone company not “sharing.” The explanation sounded like a monopoly to me and left a bad taste in my mouth for this local company. We’ve decided not to do business with them and not to get a home phone at all. We still have our StraightTalk phones from a couple of years ago; so that first week of July, KR put minutes on his cell phone just to get us an emergency contact number. We want to be certain that we can comfortably afford two cell phones prior to getting a second one for me.
During that first week of July, I tried to call my mom several times; but only got her voicemail. I figured she must not be answering because she didn’t recognize the number; so I left a voicemail. When I left the voicemail on July 6th, I had the little slip of paper in my hand with KR’s cell phone number written on it; and I remember thinking to myself that I needed to be sure that I said the number slowly in the message so that Mom would have time to write it down. I suppose it’s possible that I got flustered while leaving the message (I often do) or distracted (I’m very easily distracted) and forgot to recite the number; but I honestly thought I left the number in the message, not to mention the number should have shown up on her caller ID. Apparently, not.
When I finally got through to my mom on the phone this past Wednesday, she told me she had been in the hospital – TWICE! She laid the guilt on thick. Of course, no one could get in touch with me because no one had the emergency phone number. My son and my sister both sent me emails, but we didn’t get internet until this past Thursday. My sister sent another email yesterday telling me it would be “nice” if I would come there this weekend to care for Mom. I haven’t responded to the email yet because I don’t know what to say. Honestly, I’m not up for another trip. I know I’m being selfish; but I’m exhausted, flat-out-worn-out. I’m probably the least nurturing person to be caring for my mother. I’m sure it will only infuriate my sister even more if I choose not to help her out with Mom, but the fact is: I don’t live there. And with good reason.
At least, good reason in my mind.
In retrospect, I’m actually glad that I had a month tech-free because it gave me a chance to enjoy my new surroundings, to acclimate, to de-stress a little. Simplicity during a move — for me — is essential. Maybe it was a subconscious effort to simplify my life during this move that I failed to leave my family an emergency contact number. The knowledge that my mother’s health is deteriorating saddens me greatly. However, I’m worried that the pressure my sister will inevitably put on me to be someone I’m not will break me once again.
(I realize that I haven’t gotten to the point in My Story where I’ve really discussed my relationship with my mother and my sister. I may have touched on it briefly, but nothing substantial. I think I’ve been avoiding the topic, but there’s a lot of resentment there – on both sides.)