I knew this call was coming. I just didn’t know when.
I came back into my office after getting some water to see my phone had stopped ringing. The caller ID told me it was my parents’ home number. I looked at the clock and confirmed that it was my dad. Mom would still be at work.
I took a deep breath and hit his number to call him back. Ripping a bandaid off fast hurts less, right? May as well just do it quick and delay the inevitable.
My dad is like me – not good at small talk. So when he started in, I knew he was trying to figure out a way to bring it up. How would he bring this up, I wondered. I mean, I figured he would have just jumped right into it. Direct and straight-to-the-point are his usual methods.
“So I wanted to talk to you about the conversation you had with your mother the other day,” he started, calling out the elephant on this call with us. “I know you all got disconnected because you would never hang-up on your mother, and I’ll have to say I was upset at what happened. But if you had hung up, that would have been even more upset.”
I’m not one to just let bad assumptions go, so I told him I did hang up on her. I explained why too. I’m 43 years old, not a fucking kid, so did not like the implied further consequences if I had “acted like that”.
As he started talking, it became clear that the conversation I had with my mother was not the conversation she relayed to him. I tried where I could to explain the conversation we had. I challenged the things she told him that didn’t make sense. And then I started getting excuses from him as to all of the reasons I just need to give her a bye.
I rarely do this without serious consideration, but I actually told him she needed a therapist. One to help her process everything that has happened over the past several years. Her life went from normal to a medical rollercoaster ride that never seems to end. She needs to process the transition. She needs to process her upcoming transition into retirement and how that is stressing her out. She needs to find ways of dealing with stress instead of projecting it on those around her.
“Well, I get more of it than you know,” my dad started lecturing. But that was about as far I let him get. “Yeah, Dad, I know. And you even said yourself that things have not been good. Mom feels like the world has her backed into a corner and instead of fleeing she’s choosing to fight her way out. And that’s awesome. Except she is attacking those helping her as equally as she is attacking the things hurting her – and that is NOT healthy.”
His excuses continued. He was starting to sound like my youngest brother. Excuse after excuse as to why I just need to deal with it. Take it. All of the reasons my feelings are invalid while her issues should be the reason I just deal. He even started hinting to when I called her to work things out.
I finally begged off the call. I’m just sick of this cycle of shit. I do what I think it right. I try to help. I try to support. I do these things often at an expense to me. I never use what I do to try to get something back from it. I do it because I care and because I believe that putting out caring and love will bring it back to me.
But even that idea, I’m starting to become cynical about.
It’s hard to feel any other way when this shit keeps happening.
And sadly with more than just my parents.