As Bob and I were watching a movie at home the other night, my cell buzzed with a text message from my brother. Would I like him and his wife to pack up Mom’s remaining clothes on Sunday? I replied “That would be awesome.”
Back in April, when I sold Mom’s apartment in Florida, I got stuck doing the whole wretched thing on my own. Bob helped for a couple of days and I had hired hands, but my brother, who had promised to come, had backed out at the last minute for business reasons. (See “Farewell to Florida” in the May posts). I was physically exhausted and emotionally drained. My anger with my brother had less to do with his absence and more to do with the way he neglected to tell me until it was too late for me to do anything but soldier through alone. I couldn’t even talk to him, because I KNEW he would turn the situation around on me and make me the villain. It’s how he operates. He acts as if feeling guilty is punishment enough. I wrote him a letter (the printed kind in an envelope with a stamp) asking that he deal with the next move (which I presumed would be from Emeritus to the funeral home). He got angry, turned it around on me and said a lot of nasty things that made me realize how deep his resentment runs and how irrational he is.
I pulled away. I had no intention of having any further interactions with him. However, I suffer from a pathological need to take the high road. Whenever Mom’s situation changed, I would let him know. He may not be much of a brother to me, but he’s still my mother’s son. He has a right to know where she is and why, so I keep him apprised.
He seems to think all is forgiven as I am cordial when we speak, but it’s not. I have very low expectations and have no feelings of obligation to maintain the illusion of closeness. I respond when contacted. I disseminate as necessary.
So the offer of help is appreciated. But there’s a little trepidation. Is he doing this to be kind, or is this a treasure hunt?
“If he’s looking for money, he’s SOL,” chuckled Mom as I told her of Sonny-boy’s offer during our visit on Saturday. Bob and I shared meaningful eye contact. We all had the same thought. Mom adores her son, but she knows him all too well.
I sent texts to my brother asking him to put certain things aside for Mom as he packed the apartment. These served as reminders of his promise as well as calls to action on Mom’s behalf. At Mom’s new home, no coffee is served, only tea. She wanted instant coffee and I know she had some at her apartment. I also asked that he store most of her clothes in case she wanted anything specific in the future. I’d let him decide which of the multiples to retain or discard.
On Sunday afternoon, Bob and I decided to go to the movies. It was hot and rainy, and there was one film I actually did want to see. As we approached the theater, my brother’s texts started. He was at the apartment with his wife. He was concerned about Mom’s missing engagement ring.
We conferred about what to store, what to chuck and what to leave for my niece, who was coming for the bedroom set and household items on the following Thursday. I told him we were going to the movies. He asked that I go silent rather than OFF for a little while just in case he needed my input.
While the commercials were still rolling, he called. “We found the ring!” Mom had stowed it in a cloth jewelry pouch with some earrings. Wow. Who figured on that? He said he’d put it in a safe for her. Fine by me. If she wanted it, he’d be able to give it to her. Might he cash it in? Why would he even tell me he found it if that was his intention?
So, the last of the moving will be done later this week by my niece, her boyfriend and Bob. Whatever’s left will be charitable donations and crumbs. This time, all I have to do is the final walk through. For once, maybe I’ll come out on the plus side of the metaphysical balance sheet. This morning I found that I’m still not in menopause after a three month vacation from The Curse. We’ll see what other treats the rest of this week has in store.