I talked to my mom last night. She started off the conversation with telling me there was something she had to confess.
Me: "You buried Jimmy Hoffa? You're really D.B. Cooper? You are the Lindenburgh baby?" Wow, looking back at these examples makes me realize I must be reallllly old...
Turns out Mom has been hitting the QVC crack again, has five packages in her room at the independent living place and hid the bill from my brother when he came down to help her pay her bills for the month. I think part of the reason she "confessed" was because she bought me something and knew I'd ask her about watching QVC when it got there. (OK, it's a toaster oven that is also a convection oven which is *really cool* but...yeah, not the point. I digress.). Both my brother and I have told her that she can't be in independent living, hang on to the house, and have a QVC bill each month that requires commas. The house would have to be sold a whole lot faster if she chose to keep that up.
I've been talking to her just about every night since my dad died and, over the past five years, she's started to be a little more open in sharing her feelings with me which is a huge leap forward. My mom's people are very stoic. There is seriously a shot of two of my great-great-somethings out in the middle of Nebraska in front of some shack, holding a pitchfork and glowering. They are Amish with electricity. They could be sitting there with blood spurting out of a major artery and talk about the weather. To borrow from the X-Files: deceive, inveigle, obfuscate. Above all, dear God, do not talk about your feelings.
But she's better at it than she used to be. So we talked about how she kind of hopes she will be able to return home but knows she really can't, that she's lonely and getting packages is a nice thing to have happen when you're lonely, that she (like me) is more of an introvert and we tend to have a few close friends unlike my dad and my brother who tend to make friends easily and in copious amounts. She tries to call herself stupid and hopeless so I have to yank her up short on that and remind her that she isn't and I don't want to hear that kind of talk about my mom. She was very sheltered by her family and then my dad and I've talked to her about that and reminded her that she's faced a lot of new challenges since Dad died and I've seen her tackle every one of them, and nobody "stupid" or "hopeless" could do that. She also had a suprising moment of self-reflection when she admitted she'd like to just be able to spend the money and throw up her hands at me and my brother, telling us it just doesn't matter before saying she knows she can't do that.
Between Mom and the SU, I really feel like I'm getting an emotional workout lately! Mom and I decided she needs to eat more meals at her new place rather than just breakfast and disappearing back to the house for the day, maybe join in on the scandalous penny-and-dime domino games :), and go to a few more of the Happy Hours where she enjoyed sipping on her O'Doul's and actually talking to people. Of course, it's up to her if she does any of this but I'm hoping she will realize she doesn't have to be head cheerleader for the place, she just has to accept what they are offering and remember that new things aren't necessarily bad.