I have thought long and hard about whether or not to write this diary and tonight I decided that it is going up. One of the hardest things I had to deal with as a Caregiver was seeing my Mom hurt. My Mom grew up with a mother who favored the boys at the expense of the girls even though it was the girls who took care of Grandma. I was the only girl among four boys. I was never good enough. I overheard a conversation once when passing by where my Mom was on the phone to a friend. She was saying,” Mike is so smart he just gets good grades without studying. Michele has to really study hard to get by.”
When I took the SAT tests I was in the top 1% on all subjects except Math and in that I was in the top 15%. I studied hard because I loved to learn. I studied because I loved school. We were doing logic in one of my classes and the teacher was handing back tests. She mentioned that she had thought the answer to one of the questions was the obvious answer until she got to my paper and realized that she was wrong. I was the only one who had figured it out properly. I inherited my Dad’s brains. I am smart. I have a Mensa level IQ. I graduated from college with honors.
All my life the youngest brother was the favored child. He was so smart. He was so talented. He was so perfect. Just ask him he will be glad to tell you how wonderful he is. All the cards that he sent to Mom for any occasion were ones that told how he was the perfect child. He was this wonderful writer who wrote books he self-published. He wrote blogs on NASCAR and extreme right wing politics. He writes how he is such a good Christian. He suckered Mom into buying his books. Mom ignored the fact that I am also a writer.
In the six years I was with Mom this brother visited for one weekend. He and his wife could go to Disneyland every other month. They could go on cruises. They could follow NASCAR where he played Mr. Big Shot. I begged him to come visit Mom but he wouldn’t come. Mom wasn’t important enough. When I told him that I was putting my stuff in storage to go live with Mom he tried to talk me out of it. He said I would regret it.
When cleaning out my Dad’s desk I found a letter from this brother to my Dad. I had always wondered why Dad suddenly became silent when it came to this brother. My brother admitted that he had been lying to Dad about attending the Columbia School of Broadcasting and was doing so well in the courses. He had dropped out. That betrayal really hurt Dad.
Mom would constantly ask me what my brother was doing and when was he coming to visit. She wanted to know how many times you can visit Disneyland and why couldn’t they come out to see her for a few days. I had no answer to give her that wouldn’t hurt her worse so I stayed quiet.
In the last few years of her life Mom and I became closer then we ever had. She still dotted on her spoiled rotten baby. She came to realize that her only daughter was smart. She came to realize that I loved her and would take good care of her. She came to realize that she needed me.
My Mom wanted to be cremated when she died and her ashes buried on Dad’s grave. She did not want a visitation at the funeral home or a fancy funeral Mass. She didn’t want a procession of cars to the gravesite. She was a modest woman and didn’t want a fuss. In the last few months of her life I talked to Mom about her dying wishes. I asked point blank if we could have a Memorial Mass so her family could come. She said it was okay because she did Memorial Masses for Dad all the time.
My youngest brother refused to come out to the Memorial Mass. His hypocrite of a wife had the audacity to tell me that Mike and I were dishonoring Mom by having a Memorial Mass. She claimed Mom wanted to be cremated and her ashes strewn in California along with the ashes of her dog Ruffles. A twenty-year-old conversation with a comment in passing while my Dad was still alive was what she was basing that on. They couldn’t be bothered to come and see her and ask her what her wishes were now. I was the one who asked.
Mom left a 94-year-old sister and nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. Her family had to be able to say goodbye. Memorial services are not for the dead they are for the living to be able to come together in their shared grief over the death of a loved one. Aunt Bird needed that Mass. Mom would never have denied her sister comfort. Her family asks about the other two brothers when Mike and I visit. They never ask about the youngest one.
Her youngest son though knows everything. He knows best. He is the smart one. He is the super Christian. He is the perfect one. Yet this perfect one thinks nothing about making smart-ass remarks on Facebook to a grandnephew with Asperger’s. His only niece, her minister husband and her three teenage children want nothing to do with him.
In the last couple of days he has engaged in a smart-ass attack on my politics. He has made nasty remarks about the Daily Kos community. He has ridiculed me and pretends that he is only asking me to defend my beliefs. Well tonight I acted on my beliefs. I unfriended him and his wife permanently tonight. I believe that you can choose your friends but not your family but you don’t have to continue to put up with abuse. He whines that he can’t find a job. With his ego why would anyone hire him? He was fired from his last job because he was so egotistical and always telling everybody how wonderful he was and how the company couldn’t do without him. I have defended my political views constantly. He refuses to acknowledge half of what I have written. I refuse to engage in any more discussions with him. I have had all of the smart-ass comments I’m going to take.
I have watched this Daily Kos community come together on numerous occasions to help each other out. The people in the Grieving Room got me through the death of my Mom. The compassion and love I have seen here is awe inspiring.
I am tired of holding the anger in. I hated seeing my Mom hurt by this egotistical jerk that was her youngest son. His mocking of a child with Asperger’s shows just how cruel and jaded he really is. He can play big shot with his 700 Facebook friends. I have more important things to do with my life.
I do not regret for one moment putting my life on hold to become my Mom’s caregiver. I did everything I could to make her last few years happy. I cared for her the best I could but in the end death won. I will go through the rest of my life knowing that my Mom came to appreciate and really love me towards the end. I have something this brother will never have. I have a grandnephew with Asperger’s who puts his arms around me and says, “I love you Aunt Michele.” I have the knowledge that I never neglected my Mom and she went to her death knowing her only daughter loved her and cared for her and was always there for her.