This past Sunday was a kind of an epic day. Very subtle on the outside, but I knew my mom and I were going to set some.thing in motion by attending our first Al-Anon meeting. She got information that there was a meeting at 3p not too far from her house. I didn’t see it on the website. I knew that her information was probably not up-to-date. I got the visual. A woman in an office, reading stale info to my mom off of a paper that hasn’t been updated for awhile. But we went anyway. This isn’t a fuzzy T-Day post. Nothing emotionally heavy for you today? If you need to bail, I highly recommend checking out J Crew’s skier sweater (S). Will post a review later today or tonite. Or if you didn’t catch yesterday’s cuts at J Crew, check them out in The Guide.
Back to our meeting. Why Al-Anon? Last year I wrote about how my brother was sober and we were so thankful to have Thanksgiving at his house. At the end of August, I learned that he lost his sobriety this past May. Well, losing is an odd word because it’s not like he just absentmindedly dropped by accident. It’s a conscious choice to pick up a bottle, even if it’s an unconscious, old habit. I was going to write about it here, shortly after the events unfolded at the end of summer. I would’ve written about the times my mom & I trekked out to his place to try to manage the situation. To help. Our realization that many of the times we’ve been talking to him, he’s been drunk. We’ve been talking to the bottle, not to him. I would’ve tried to find words to convey the fatigue of trying to figure out how to help him, but still allow him to feel like an adult while we ‘help.’ I would’ve described the chill in the nighttime summer air during our 12am trips to the gas station on our way home and me thinking wth am I doing in the still of night trying to help a full grown adult while I have a family at home. I’m certain he wouldn’t mind me discussing his journey, but in the interest of drawing boundaries I chose not to spend a lot more energy on it by writing in detail about it. My net point is that things haven’t changed, despite all of the hope we had and promise that we saw. So my mom & I attempted to go to the meeting to help ourselves.
My brother called me as I drove to pick up my mom for the Al-Anon meeting. He & I haven’t talked much in the past 6 wks or so as I try to keep new boundaries in tact. Of course my mom is still involved to a degree and I get her spillover vents. But I’d called him recently just to say hi and he was finally returning the call. I think I recognize the conversations now. I used to always assume that he hadn’t been drinking, but I was probably often wrong. I continued on talking with him, despite my hunch that he might be drunk or on his way. We talked about kids and discipline. In the course of the conversation he told me that he got hit by a car when he was a toddler. At that point I reached my mom’s house and was trying to get off the phone before he realized she & I were going to be together. He told me, I remember it! As if he had be told at some point that his getting hit by a car didn’t happen. Part of me believed him. Part of me thought it might be an exaggerated story that naturally fell off his tongue as many embellished tales have over the years. We got off the phone. I wasn’t sure where I was going to put that information in my mind, but I found it interesting that he’d uncovered a repressed memory. I picked up our mom. She & I went to the church where the Al-Anon meeting was supposed to be. We went into a multi-purpose room where families were packing up food and leaving. We were like fish out of water, but no one offered to help us or even make eye contact. One guy finally came over and stated the obvious. We looked lost. We were, but we weren’t. All along I knew that there was never going to be a meeting and that I was just going to spend a bit of time with my mom that day. I see and talk with her regularly. She lives 15 minutes away. But I still felt the day had to unfold as it did and we had to be together.
We left the non-existent meeting and went to the grocery store. This was a really good idea because I got some last-minute Thanksgiving food things I’ll need. I don’t want to be scrounging the aisles at the last minute, so I was happy to think of little things like mozarrella cheese & green onions while we were in the store. At some point we’re finishing an aisle and turning a corner. She asked something about the 2010 pregnancy I had before I got pregnant with Mini G. The pregnancy that ended in a D&C. And I said, when I was pregnant with twins. I don’t even remember exactly what I said. What I know is that I mentioned me, pregnant and twins. And we both stopped. A heavy wave rolled thru my upper body. I remembered that she never knew the 2010 pregnancy had started as a twin pregnancy and I couldn’t take back what I’d just revealed. We stopped. Parked ourselves at the corner of some frozen goods and whatever specials were on the end cap. I felt like bolting out of the store to have the conversation in a better place. I was starting to cry. She was getting emotional and wouldn’t look at me. On one hand it was awful. On the other hand, I knew that was why we had gotten together. My mom asked a few questions. Trying to figure out when it happened. Why she wasn’t told (I just didn’t tell her). Did my mil know (yes). Did my sister know (yes). We were able to compose ourselves and continue on with our grocery mission. I apologized a couple of times and told her that I had repressed it. When we didn’t get a heartbeat during the sonogram where they check for it, I just focused on the baby that we *did* get a heartbeat for. I then thought about what my brother had revealed within just an hour’s time before. A repressed memory about being hit by a car. I asked my mom about it, btw and she said, Yeah. That happened. She said he was in the hospital for a minute and I just decided to not ask any more questions. This was the first time I ever heard of it, so it was repressed by a number of folks, apparently.
I dropped my mom off and came home. Later in the evening, my husband and I decided to get busy on my/our IKEA hack. We had our usual joking conversation, but I jumped pretty quickly into what had transpired between my mom and I earlier in the day. He listened. After I shared, we didn’t re-live or recap that period (2010 pregnancy) in our lives by having a deeper conversation about it. My main desire in sharing was so that a) he would know that I’d slipped and told my mom and b) the issue of repressed memories. I had literally forgotten about it. My husband and I have barely talked about any of…that. I mean, we talked about it at the time, but I didn’t feel we were connecting on it. He was trying to accept the facts about the 2nd baby (trisomy 18) and move forward. I had to deal with the mental/emotional issues and all of the physical pangs and issues that never let me forget that we were dealing with loss. I felt alone during that time period. A loneliness I didn’t really know or articulate. I finally dredged that up from my unconscious and communicated it to him over this summer. He finally knew that I’d felt emotionally abandoned & alone during the end of that 1st pregnancy. So we didn’t need to go over that again this past Sunday. But what happened later Sunday night was very interesting. I’ll be honest and say that we recently acknowledged that we’ve built up walls around ourselves. Why that happens, I don’t know. We struggle to find someone to get married to and then we create new struggles, unfortunately with those very partners. He & I do a pretty good job of working thru our issues in long conversations. The conversations can be tiring. What the hey. I’ll admit I’ve nodded off during some of them. After said lengthy convos, sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back, but I have to say that we at least always continue to talk out our issues. The conversation we had later in the night was a very different breakthru, if I should be so cautiously optimistic. The tone and what we discussed was more about sharing, rather than worrying about whether our respective points were being heard and pushing to make sure the other party left some concession on the table.
So that was Sunday. Yee haw! And on Tuesday, my grandmother went into the hospital. I knew it was going to happen. She has a lot of repressed emotions and memories. Granny would probably love to know you’re reading about her and wouldn’t mind me telling you things. But if I discuss the other parties involved, they might not feel the love. What I can say is that I know Granny represses and I can’t predict every occurrence, but I’m pretty sure when she’s going to have a high blood pressure episode that sends her to the hospital. It happened about 24 hours later than I expected this week, but it happened. I don’t think she will ever deal with her stuff and, therefore, it manifests in her body. I don’t want to be the same way. I try to get my stuff out. In a timely manner, if you will. Of course I am not perfect, but I try to be aware. There’s not much else to tell about Granny’s situation. She’s back at the home, also as I expected she would be. Test results showed nothing. Cuz it’s psychosomatic, I want to scream. For a moment I thought this might be a very sad week, but I figured it’d turn out to be a round-trip for her from the home, to hospital and back to the home. Thankfully, I was right. We had my brother’s repressed car accident, my repressed twin pregnancy and I was wondering what the third thing that would happen would be. Y’know, things happen in threes. And Granny’s situation was the 3rd. Like I said, Granny isn’t probably ever going to deal with her stuff, but it was a good reminder to me of what happens when you don’t.
I’m hoping everyone can keep their act together to get thru the holidays and I mean the end of the year. My mom tried another Al-Anon meeting on Monday and attended successfuly. As in it was a real meeting and not a defunct one. We really want to call my brother to see what he’s doing, who has already let us know he won’t be showing up for Thanksgiving, but in her meeting she learned… don’t call the alcoholic. It’s really hard for us as the co-dependents. My mom keeps wanting to try to talk sense into him. To help him figure out how to accept help. I don’t believe it can be done by our efforts and I’m trying to figure out how to accept that he might be a functional alcoholic. I’m also trying to not be on edge during this weekend because I know my brother is in a bad space, compounded by the holiday. Wait, maybe that’s my co-dependency making an excuse for him. He has been pretty good about upstaging major events, so…well, like I said…I’m hoping for the best. Not expecting the worst or expecting anything at all. My main goal is to try to keep my boundaries and not feel guilty no matter what happens.
Well, of course this is odd right? I don’t show my face. I pretty much stick to retail clothing reviews except for the — now random — Let’s Talk posts. I didn’t have a plan for this post. I was actually going to share something else. Something very happy and uplifting, but this is what came out. I figure it’s true and it’s honest. The holidays are such a tough time for a good number of people. Instead of feeling blessed in this first world, so many of us feel lack. There are a lot of people in emotional pain and it’s amplified during this time. I will just guess that some of you will be dealing with this stuff. Uncle Ron who will drink too much. Grandma Eileen who will sulk and act sullen all of a sudden, potentially ruining the day. Cousin Barry who is supposed to show up, but won’t. The Williams clan who are always an hour late, if not more. If you have any of that, do the best you can. The day will pass. Hopefully without too much incident. If your holidays are relatively drama free, count your blessings multiple times and give deep thanks!
I’m wishing you a good holiday!