Thursday, May 21, 2015

When Retirement Is Suddenly About Nothing "Re-anything", And Is Excurciatingly and Forever Exhausting

My father, my guide in this world to all things beyond my cozy home, died suddenly and dreadfully in 2009. Somehow I was with him through his last hours and minutes, as we had been together through the hours and days that comprised the months of our 59 years together of his total 87 years on this earth. I wrote his obituary through eyes that had danced to his Piper's song and laughed to his Irish brogue; I knew him as well as anyone on Earth (or would have wagered as much). I would have wagered the same amount that he adored me as much as any human being on the planet...we trusted each other just that much. And truth to the face of it, I trust him in my life every bit as much to this very moment.
Along the way of his life, he crafted an estate for his adored, his family, the children he loved and his much loved if occasionally mot-well-understood wife of 65 years. He honed that estate into as perfect shape as possible, without much input from her, although he craved it, and in the end, there was no time to put final touches on the planning together, mostly (and by her own admission) because she had no wish to.

One hot July day he was gone. Like that. Nothing to say about it, gone. Find your breath to catch it, gone. I'd dare you to find other words for it, but they're none, gone. Yesterday so much here...gone. HOW he suffered for one day,...gone.

A day after that, a chapter opened in my family's life that could not have been surmised by the angels...by the guardians of the underworld. A time replete with logical events flung inside out and reason cast from the proper form of all thought process. It started out insidiously enough, just ever so slightly off the track of natural reason as to come out missed the other end by any but the most attentive listener, who might, themselves, be thought a smidgeon paranoid. But gradually, and ever so seemingly innocently, our Mother dropped in conversation tiny clues regarding power gained or power sought, and especially the slights she perceived of loyalty not acknowledged. 

She was quite flummoxed, and not a little displeased, that Brother had not sought her advice upon his decision to marry again (at age 69), and therein may have been what later looked very much like prejudice against his bride. Who can say? She began by turns to disparage Sister to Myself, and Myself to Sister, only eventually to learn that Sister and Myself shared her musings and questioned her about them, rather than turn upon each other with these small pieces of tender that could so easily have ignited the gargantuan flames of splitting.

As time went on, Mother became more and more secretive, especially as she sensed the particular area of her children's concerns (all her children having mounting financial difficulties). She appeared increasingly determined to keep from her children any knowledge of the nature of the estate or of its divisions. She increasingly spoke of the estate as "hers", a state of ownership which seemed altogether misplaced to her children, given her entire lack of participation in its 65-year accumulation and precise division during her shared tenancy over it in union with her husband. A kind of heretofore unknown greediness shown in her voice when discussing said estate; simultaneously, rebukes regarding her children's greediness began to come out of her with regularity when the estate was mentioned. This was new. Was this projection?

Apparently Mother's dis-ease with all of this reached an exceptional place of no-action, except the action of retreat into isolation of every kind from her children. In this secreted state, feeling it necessary to protect herself from some element of her children so dangerous that she had no word for it and no other choice, she called together outside advisors whom she knew much less well and with whom she felt safe. She and they made some kind of changes to the will that she and her husband had long age officiated together. These changes she felt no need to tell her children: 1. the nature of; or 2. that they had been made at all. 

The lack of communication regarding these acts (that her children suppose her to have taken) have led to a break in communication and in trust. A break by a Mother who no longer has trust in her children, who no longer has regard for her children. A break by a Mother who will say she loves her children, but without trust or regard for her now elderly children, how do they interpret what her "love" means?

Thus stands the deadlock in communications between a mother, who apparently lost any and all trust in her children, and children who no longer feel trusted by nor do they trust in their mother to have their best interests as the beneficiaries of their father's will as her first interest.


Now, what had for a moment in time been looked to as a chapter of new acquaintance between Mother and three children, has become, by stages, an eon of dread waiting. 

Such are the sins of all of us, who had dared hope for a moment that we were not lost.

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