Given the path my life has taken these past 6 years, it’s a tad ironic that I’ve never felt more connected to a Bible verse in my life:
“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!””
While my scenario and the one described in the Bible vary greatly, I understand the frustration. I understand the surrender.
I’ve washed my hands of my own mother.
My mother, as I’ve hinted at in the past, has quite literally gone insane.
From thinking people live in her attic and pump poisonous gas into her home. To telling me kids live in her condo and hide her keys from her. Or that time she told my brother that my dad has a group of kids buried in a hole in Gary, Indiana and is going to cut their hands and feet off. And that time she broke into my house and told the police “The people told her to.”
Sadly, these are just a couple examples from the last 5 years of paranoia and schizophrenic behavior.
The many stories I could tell you would inspire laughter, disbelief, anger and frustration.
For a solid 4 years I tried. I really did. I tried to understand the how and the why. Then I stopped trying to understand and tried to just have a relationship of some sort. I tried to keep myself and my kids in her life, but safely and sanely.
I tried hard enough that only 1 year into this mess my mom’s case worker told me directly, “You and your brother have gone far beyond what most families attempt to get aid.”
So in October of 2017 I finally came to the impossible question:
At what point do I let my mother destroy herself?
I’d exhausted all options of forced medical help and police intervention. The only way she’ll be forcibly locked up and medicated is if she hurts herself or someone else. This is, I came to find, why jails are the biggest mental institutions in the United States. They’re full of mentally ill people that just won’t take their meds.
The only actual option I have left is some type of legal guardianship over her and, plainly, I’m unwilling to do that for a variety of issues.
My mom wasn’t some super sweet, innocent, kind and level headed person before she got to this state. She’s always been manipulative, controlling, angry and crushingly difficult to deal with because she’s always, in her mind, the smartest person in the room.
So, if I were to say, oh, I don’t know, become the sole person responsible for all of her financial situation and pay all her bills and control her money, it would be absolute hell for me. She would make sure to curse me into oblivion.
She already thinks I’m an evil agent of my father used in a “game” to ruin her. If I took ownership of her finances, she would see it as my father taking final control over her life and she may snap in the worst way that word implies.
You see, there’s still 1 unaccounted for gun from the divorce. Does she have it? I don’t know.
I’m writing this now because last night I received news that the police and her condo association have finally gotten a court signed injunction to, if needed, break down her door and fix issues with her condo that have created massive water issues for the people living below her.
If my mom resists, she’ll be put in jail. If she’s compliant, she can’t be in her condo for 10 days while repairs are made.
She also owes massive amounts of money to the home owners association for legal troubles and contractor repairs. She no longer has a car because she lost it playing her dumb games with innocent, unknowing people. And she’s burned almost every bridge she has in her life.
So, finally, the very real possibility of homelessness is finally on the table and I saw it coming over 2 years ago.
Which brings me to my terrible thought. I confess I conceived this originally over 4 years ago, but I’m just now able to admit it out loud today:
I wish my mother were dead.
Not out of anger, but selfishly so that I’d still have many good memories and happy thoughts of her. Happy times with my once solid family still intact.
If she’d passed away years ago, I could remember the mom that held me as a kid and was an amazing listener. The mom that always laughed at my jokes and never put herself first. I could remember the love.
It seems that that mother passed away a year after my brother did.
In truth, I can say I have a clear conscience about it all. I tried. I really tried.
Or maybe I don’t because I know I can do more, but don’t have the wits about me to try and control the uncontrollable until one of us dies.
Maybe I say I tried to keep the guilt at bay that my mother, the woman that raised me, may soon find herself without a home.
So, I hear you, Pilate. I too have washed my hands of something.
It’s just becoming increasingly distressing that no matter how hard I scrub, some of this dirt won’t come off.