Yesterday afternoon I received word that my Mom went to lunch with her alcoholic/enabling ex. I knew what that meant. It wasn't lunch, it was a drink, a chance to manipulate facts and make him feel sorry for her, and an opportunity to convince him that she should move back into his house. It seems she was successful this time because she went back to her adult foster home with boxes, declaring her plans to move on Friday.
I should be concerned. The last time she lived with him, she nearly killed herself. She drank herself into daily stupors in which she fell multiple times, burned herself, pooped herself in public, and developed alcohol induced dementia and cirrhosis of the liver. I should be concerned because an addict living with an addict is a recipe for disaster. I should worry for her health, for her well-being, but I'm not.
I'm not fighting it anymore. Because I have fought and fought and fought for her. When she gave up on herself, I stepped in and advocated on her behalf. I have spent my entire life standing up for her, even though she never once stood up for me. In particular, the last year and a half I put more energy into her care than I ever had. I advocated for her with hospital administrators and social workers, disability services, and after a month and a half long fight to keep her in the hospital where she was safe from herself, I got her approved to move into an adult foster home. A beautiful home with people who took excellent care of her. A comfortable and warm home with everything she could ever want or need right at her fingertips. A home she is determined to leave.
In all the years I've battled my Mom's addictions with and for her, there has always been this underlying guilt that has pushed me to continue when most people gave up. Scratch that...when EVERYONE ELSE gave up. Her siblings, her son, everyone else gave up on her, but I kept on. I took time and energy from my own children to do what I thought a good daughter does for their mother. Even when that mother doesn't deserve it. For all the emotional baggage I was carrying around, I found a way to be compassionate to her and work on her behalf so she could get healthy. I allowed her back into my life and the lives of my children, against my better judgement and previous statements that I would never allow it to happen again, I did. I opened my home, I spent my time, my fuel, took hours and days off work, and the only thing I asked in return was for her to allow people to take care of her.
The guilt is gone now. I know I've done more than anyone else has to help her. I know that I gave it my all and that she still chose her addiction over her family and her health. I know a lost cause when I see one. I know that her presence in my life is a poison and it will only make me sicker, eventually infecting the rest of my family and most importantly, my children. I know I can't let that toxicity affect my kids. For all the times I said I was done, the guilt always brought me back around to her. But the guilt is gone. In it's place is an acceptance, almost a relief. She is not my problem anymore. When her time comes, which will most definitely be sooner rather than later, I will handle her final affairs according to what she told me were her wishes. And that will be the next and last thing I ever do for her.