Saturday, May 30, 2015

As The Family Turns

Sitting in the Food Court at our local Mall waiting for the work day to begin. I have a couple of hours until my "shift" so I bring along our computer and look for other work possibilities while also finding time to add to this blog. 

We, meaning my daughter and I, have built a life; a life after tremendous challenges, suffering and heartbreak leaving behind weights to adjust and some to remove as time passes. It's been our individual choice and our mutual choice.

Each morning I drive her to her class -- a long drive from our suburban home into the city-- and come back to work. Then I head out after my work day, most of it standing and trying to secure business for a job that relies on "bringing people through the door", returning for another round trip downtown/suburbia. 

We have one car. Thanks to my youngest son. It's got a lot of miles, needs some frequent repairs but is reliable and I know we're fortunate to have that much needed transportation as it allows us the continued "privilege" of living in an area with less than adequate public transportation.

Yes, we are struggling to maintain that "privilege" of home ownership. We still have a sizeable mortgage and this recent opportunity for daughter has come at high increased cost in her not being able to work, a sizeable reduction in our income level and a huge increase in cost to commute and to stay in the program.

We realize it's only through more sacrifice and continuing seeking and stretching our time and our available resources to change life as we have known it for the past few years.

It's our ticket, we both believe, out of this "rut" we've fallen into since our life changing experiences of surviving after the severe and challenging medical challenges of my husband/her father and my mother/her grandmother.

Their 24/7 care giving needs were more than challenging but the added weight of the Undue Influence, the false reporting of Abuse by me (financial and emotional) and the complications of this reporting within our family unit, with Mom and with her LTC facility, were weights and measures of our ability to survive, our perseverance and our tenacity. 

Lessons my mother taught me. Lessons my daughter is learning. Lessons that if I'd not learned alongside my mother during our earlier life's trials and tribulations, I would possibly have given up, given in and "thrown in the towel" a long time ago. 

But I haven't, I won't and I believe it would be detrimental to follow directives and demands placed on us by some family members who have no vested nor other interest in our well being and our lives. They walk away as they always have -- to their own lives. 

Please don't believe you understand the daily life of a caregiver until you've spent days, weeks and months in complete survival mode; from minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day not knowing what's next, what will happen, what additional decision you must make and who will sit in judgement on you next without any concern for what is really going on in your life, with those you love and with you.

It was a bone of contention with my oldest son who was adamant we should sell our home of many years after my husband's death. Why did we need it? This from a son who told me in the months following his father's death about his greatest decision being purchasing properties and then renting them out.

I found it interesting he saw value in holding other properties but felt we should move out of the home we'd had for decades and the potential for providing for my later years after serving as a home for the two of us.

When I watch my daughter work in the garden she created, when we see the flowers bloom my husband and I worked so long and hard on to cultivate; when the same animals return, build nests and raise young, we are both given renewed strength of self and purpose. But to my son, this means nothing. 

This son needs validation far beyond what I can provide. The road we've walked down together included many challenges and self inflicted damages. 

Life changes and moves forward but without the healing of resolution and taking responsibility, the same errors and omissions, the same challenges and barriers emerge in new and continuing ways.

No, this son has turned his back. He can't face earlier times, earlier decisions he made and actions he took. He walks away as he turns to blame me, to blame us, for any problems or challenges in his life.

We live in the Midwest and he lives on the East Coast. In any given year it was maybe one time we made the drive to visit him but seldom he made the drive to visit us. 

"We" included his aging Grandmother and that meant five people; we couldn't afford air tickets for all, so we drove and that was more than an 11 hour trip. For this son, it was the two of them and then children added every couple of years until there were three. 

I realize the challenges for them; we drove cross country early in our lives to visit grandparents; we made the trip out of love and one year made it twice within a few months because one grandparent became hospitalized. 

When his father was so sick, there was only one time he came to visit and his "help" was to use the riding lawn mower we had to cut the grass and to put up a small piece of wood to repair a hole in our cedar siding.

Out of fairness, this son has chosen a different "work style" that includes working for short periods of time (relative to most other people who work for one company and many who stay employed with that company for at least a few years to several years). This did not provide the same "luxury" of travel and allow him, as it did his brother, to make plans that included "swinging through" our city on his way to work in others.

This son refers to himself as an "entrepreneur" although he doesn't, to my knowledge, make any personal investment, is salaried and isn't dependent, as we were as entrepreneurs, on ensuring we produced income or weren't paid. 

At the end of the week or two, he gets a payroll check, we were dependent on when we received payment from commissions we generated as to when they were received and what was "left over" from paying bills or providing for the business operating expenses.

It's his choice, his way of living and working. I admit it concerns me as the years pass but he and his wife make their own decisions. 

According to him, I'm not "business saavy" although my record proves otherwise. Unfortunately, he's chosen to slander me through false, misleading and deceptive statements and that has widened the gap between us. 

He claims to have been "abused" and shared that claim via email. When I finally questioned this accusation, he said a business problem we had that caused legal action made abused him. Did his life change? Not at all. Did he give up anything, lose anything, did anything lessen for him?  No. He continued to lead a privileged life including attending a prestigious college. 

Our only mistake was not seeing how wealthy and powerful the corporation was we were involved in a contractual agreement with and the multi million dollar strength they had and the legal abilities they had. We challenged Goliath and unlike David, we lost the battle and paid a heavy price.

What did the son lose?  Nothing. But then there are other "twists" on his life he blames me for in particular and his father as well. With his father's death, of course, he minimizes that involvement and maximizes mine.  I'm around to point a finger at while his Dad has become a memory and not as good a target.

There's a lot this son has yet to learn and I do see life offering significant challenges that will either provide a lesson learned or lessons yet to learn.

As the family turns. Interesting. Families are like people in that the true measure of a person comes during the difficult times; anyone can handle good times.

Life moves forward. Finally. Hopefully. Baggage brought along is sometimes heavy and sometimes we lighten the load a bit. 

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