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Today I yelled at my dying mother, the one whom I’ve been estranged from most of my life. She has terminal cancer.
My Dad was right. He said, “You aren’t supposed to talk about money with strangers.” A couple of weeks ago, I had visited my mother. I thought it went well. A few days ago I had talked with her on the phone. She said she would like it if I’d come back down to visit her again. I could have just said, “I won’t be down”, but that seemed harsh. Not wanting her to feel that I was rejecting her, I explained that I couldn’t afford to make another trip right away. She then complained that I didn’t stay long on the last trip. I told her that I couldn’t afford to stay.
So today my sister calls me and asks if everything is fine.
I said, “Sure”.
She asks, “Are you sure? Because if you need some money, I could probably get a little together and send to you.”
At that, my jaw just hit the floor.
“What?!” I exclaim. “I don’t need you to send me money!”
Little sister said, “Well, it didn’t sound like you, but that was why I was worried. ”
I love my little sister.
It turns out that our mother told my sister that I was asking for money. And that [mother] was angry and telling everyone I had asked her for money. So I called [mother] up and yelled that I hadn’t asked for money, and I didn’t want her money. She apologized and then said, “I felt guilty that you were spending money that you couldn’t afford to spend on seeing me.”
I restrained myself from saying, “That’s what you feel guilty for? What about abandoning your three little children?”
Instead I said, “You don’t have to feel guilty about that. I chose to visit you. How I spend my money is my business.”
I think that probably made her mad again. I called her back and apologized for yelling.
She said, “It was just a disagreement. Have a nice life.”
I don’t know how to take that statement. But I think I will have a nice life; as nice as I can make it. I’ll get right on that just as soon as I finish acting like a cry baby.
This extended family stuff is harder than I thought.