I appreciate the feedback, really I do. I have not had a whole lot of quality, awake time to process what happened, and so my reaction was perhaps a bit muted given how I feel about things today. Generally this discussion reminded me of watching "Titanic." The first 2/3 of the movie were single-handedly some of the worst cinematic minutes I have endured in a theater. The acting and lines were so poor that I sank into my seat, alternately peeking through my hands as if watching some poor high school students earnestly try and make their way through "Grease" but really scarring themselves deeply for life, and looking at my watch. "When is this fucking boat gonna sink already?" And finally, reward: people shut up, and the movie switched into a true special effects masterpiece (where sadly, I was so emotionally detached from the poor people, that it was far more spectacular than horrific. Extremely cool how they make the bodies float like that with floes).
Friday's discussion was similar. The first 2/3 were an awkward nightmare that I was wishing I could teleport out of, with a bit of redemption at the end, but by that point I was pretty checked out emotionally and didn't care much about what was said beyond a pure analytical level.
What I'm now realizing about this discussion with mom up the block:
1) I'm increasingly annoyed that it didn't happen on my terms. That she wasn't patient enough to allow me to initiate this. I like the term anon commenter made: ambush. I was no where remotely near a good place to have that discussion, and I don't think it was fair that the time was chosen for me. But none of this is "fair," is it.
2) You're all right, she unloaded HER stuff. HER woe. HER fears. HER version. Looking back I realize that 15 seconds into this discussion, the air left me like a balloon, and I didn't care. I just flat out didn't care. I'm tired of this. It's happened before you know, people usurping my grief into their own angst, just never right in front of my face like this. I feel like taking out a billboard not just for me but for all deadbaby mamas to the effect of:
I DO NOT HAVE THE TIME OR EMOTIONAL CAPACITY TO RECHANNEL MY GRIEF AND TAKE IT OUT ON YOU.
I just don't. I spend a morning every two weeks loading my trunk with luggage and unpacking it at my therapist's office, and while I no longer drag along steamer trunks, there are still plenty of hat boxes left to pick apart. To be "angry at you for the loss of my daughter" requires some manipulation and mental gymnastics that my poor wee brain simply can't envision. I have a whole lot of other shit to wade through before I decide to direct my anger elsewhere. Like, what exactly to be angry about for starts.
3) As to point (2), I'm tired of worrying, caring, and being put in the position to recognize, validate, and apologize for other people's feelings towards me and my personal tragedy. My mom is one of those people that needs a fair amount of, how to say this, emotional reassurance that she's doing something meaningful. My wedding day, for instance, entailed me having to make sure SHE was ok when frankly I thought everyone was supposed to be worried about me. Good thing I don't care much about weddings to begin with. And I caught some glimpses of this in the days right after Maddy died, and it was a big reason I didn't speak to her for three months following because I couldn't handle that, too. I needed to deal with me, and I did not have enough emotional energy left over to prop her up too.
But you know? When I finally ventured out there, eyes rolling, "here we go," she was fine. She's been nothing short of terrific. The REST of the family has gone up in flames and stupid people abound. I don't want to hug you because you feel ignored or neglected or because I didn't ask you for help. Get over it.
4) As to the technical genius part of the conversation: after the tears had dissipated (perhaps she saw no forgiveness was forthcoming? who knows), she asked some very interesting (to me) and pointed questions that no one -- not family, and certainly not casual neighbors -- have asked about me. About how I felt about what happened. Whether I had a religious framework to place what happened in. (Whether my lack thereof made me think any differently.) What exactly had happened. If they knew what went wrong. And it was here, in this line of thought, that in my exhaustion I thought maybe someday, over piping hot COFFEE, she would be a nice ear to bend on some things I don't ever really talk about outside the computer. Maybe.
5) Because I'm not sure the inaugural G&T has ever happened quite so early, and it went down so badly, and yesterday was in the 50s again, I've decided I get a Mulligan.
I'll let you know what if anything transpires with Mom down the block. Could be she's already forgotten the whole thing.