Thursday, June 27, 2013

Have We Become Her Ghost Writers?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 6:35 AM
It's going to be another HHH+T Day

It's interesting how we have all rallied and gathered around him.  I wonder what is different about this time?
Recently, at one point or another we've all blustered about the boundaries we will enforce and the lines we will not cross.
 "If he does this again..." "I'm giving him one more chance..."  "He's got to do this or else..."  "He can't..." "He has to..." "Forget it, he hasn't changed..." "It's still the same old behaviors and I'm not going to...".

For a good part of his life, my mother waited.  She waited for him to become whole and happy.  And while she waited, she became his enabler.  And even though it did not take her long to understand that whatever story he was telling her was not the truth, she still gave in and did his bidding.

The reasons he needed the money were different but always the same.  So that he could buy food, because he was starving.  He needed to buy clothes because he was freezing.  He had to pay for a night in a hotel because it was cold or raining or snowing and he had no where else to go.
He had to go to the doctor because he was sick.  He had an appointment with the dentist because he had a toothache.  He had to get to the pharmacy before they closed.  He needed bus fare, train fare or cab fare.   And the old stand-by.  Someone stole his money.
Much of the time he manipulated his stories so they would have the ending he had cunningly crafted from the beginning. He made sure his foolish main character would predictably react to his pitiful plights just the way he planned.
And the chapter would end with her sending, giving, wiring or somehow getting money to him.
After each one of his phone calls or visits, one of us would get a phone call from her.  She would be upset and agitated.
When we would try to reason with her, we would get frustrated with her because we knew that her behaviors would not change.
She would always say the same thing, "I am his mother, I can't turn my back on him."
I learned a valuable lesson from my mother.
The morning that she died, I was standing by her bed, alone, just being with her.
As I looked down at her,  I began to reflect on her life. Her life had not been an easy one.
It was especially not easy coping with him.  She was usually angry at him, sometimes afraid of him, but mostly she worried about him and I'm sure she always loved him.
Standing by her bedside, that morning I was suddenly struck by a powerful thought.  She never got to see the end of his story.  And that's when I realized that not one of us ever really gets to know the end of the story.
After we die, the story continues.  The next one in line takes up the story where we left off and so the story continues on and on.
And so I wonder.  Have we taken up the story where she left off?   I like to think that our bluster has some real wind behind it, but I wonder.  Have we become her Ghost Writers
Today, as I think back to that morning, the morning my mother passed on, I remember thinking how beautiful she looked.  For the first time in a long time, her face had no pain.  She was at peace.


  1. Tender post, Lynda. I've been thinking a lot about stories this week. Everyone really does have a story. But I like your take on this too. Perhaps we are all chapters in the book?

    1. Thanks, JT.
      Everyone does have a story. I guess that’s why I write this blog. To tell mine.

  2. A new take on an old story. It's surprising how many families have similar stories when we are willing to share them. The stories do continue and sometimes the plot twists and we realize that the original author had not given us the whole story.

    1. Writing so personally about some difficult areas of my life helps me to sort out my thoughts and work through my feelings. I do wonder, but also expect ,that I am not the only one experiencing such struggles.

  3. There is such a fine line between supporting and enabling and it is not often easy to tell which is which. I love the idea that you and your siblings have become your mother's ghost writers, finishing a story she began...there's something very touching in that imagery.

    1. I am still struggling with this fine line between support and enable. But it seems to be more complicated for me than for my other siblings. I think they have accepted him for who he is because they know it is all he will ever be.