How did my Mother do it, I wonder? How did she manage the family and all the activities? When she was here, she was the one who took care of everything and everyone when they needed something. Now that torch has been passed to me. And I think I am failing miserably at it.
For example, my sister closest in age has refused to help with moving our parents belonging out of the family compound into the new house where Dad will live. When I asked if she would help her answer was “Dad can handle moving by himself, he is not a child.” I don’t know of a single adult who can handle a move completely alone, including her. In addition to that, she has many things of her own still in the house that she is expecting Dad, or someone other than her, to pack, load, move and store for her. Seems to me like that takes a lot of nerve to expect. And it makes my blood boil as I see the hurt in Dad’s eyes, and his panicked and defensive tone as he says he doesn’t need her, any one’s help.
I am not a violent person, but the urge to throw something large and heavy at her was hard to resist. But I did, barely. How exactly did my mother do it?
When you are placed in a leadership position, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that goes along with it. That responsibility also gives you certain rights or privileges. For example, I was there when my mother passed, that sister was not. The cross that my mother was wearing when she passed, hangs around my neck now. That cross my dear mother gave me, I took and placed around her neck so she would have a cross to wear for her journey. And when my mother’s journey was complete, the cross once again hung around my neck from hers. A beautiful gift given, an intimate moment shared between mother and daughter. That detail gives me the privilege to tell my sister she should have been there herself if she wanted anything different. The responsibility is to try to have Grace..to have justice tempered by mercy. I am pretty bad at that part.
And I try so hard to remember my mother’s teachings of Grace and patience. But that is oh so hard when I see my father being hurt. I want to be fiercely protective of him and tell her, in no uncertain terms, what I think if her selfishness, her refusal to work with us, her refusal to communicate or plan anything from his move, to his birthday to plans for the holidays.
We have all heard of a divorced parent whose ex-spouse makes joint custody of the children a nightmare. Just because it is an adult parent, and not a child, does not make it OK to be an uncooperative ass. And my mother dealt with this for almost 30 years, this sister causing problems. It should have been expected then, but I thought it might be different because of the circumstances.
And I wonder how she did it, my beautiful mother, because I am drowning. How did she keep her cool when selfishness came to the door and inside the house? Because I want to come out swinging.
When someone so selfish comes into your life, it completely alters the energy and feel of the room. You can feel the air being sucked out of the entire space, as they are a black hole that devours anything positive and good. It leaves you feeling exhausted as you try to feed their insatiable hunger. But nothing you do for them will be enough; they will always want more, expect more and refuse more and more to do anything. They are entitled, after all.
But you cannot defecate on those who love you and expect them to stick around.
And I realize maybe the solution is in walking away. From the drama, from the pain, from trying to be nice to someone who has no use for anything Burch but yet demands everything to be given. And Maybe the Grace and Patience my mother had comes not from believing in my sister, but from having faith that God will provide regardless. God works miracles every single day. Somehow this move, this time, this holiday season will work out without my sister, without her drama and her selfishness. You cannot force someone to care, but you can move forward without them in your life.
And in letting go and leaving her behind, maybe therein lies the Grace. And also therein lies the Peace