after delivering the news to mom's brother and sister in new york, we went to my dad's brother's house for thanksgiving dinner. much drinking was done. we talked about mom and life and stuff.
i had been playing a strange version of phone-and-internet tag with my mom's older sister in california. they had been close years ago but had not spoken in some months. when mom was first in the hospital, i posted it on facebook and tried to call my aunt with no answer because i had the wrong number. i tried to get her to email me and all she did was email me her number. so i tried to call her and left her a message. mom had been in the hospital for five days already and her sister finally called me back around 10pm on thanksgiving night.
a bit of background here. no one else in the family really spoke to this aunt. my mother's other sister and brother had their own issues with this aunt that i don't have anything to do with. my mom, my brother, and i had always maintained a relationship with this aunt and my cousin in california. i used to spend summers out there to hang out with my cousin (she's only six months younger than me). my mom and this sister were close and not close over periods of their lives. this sister was not always nice to my mom, and we'll just leave it at that for now. but seriously - NOT NICE. my mom had spent a year living in california with my aunt and uncle. there are many reasons why she came back to florida, which again i won't get in to here.
still in background phase, my aunt and mother had a bit of a falling out in the spring of 2010. we all worked from home with the same company. i ended up starting my own company to save money (it's long and confusing, don't make me explain it. the company we worked under took a percentage of our pay, i didn't do that in my company). i was able to add my mother to my company as vice president and save her money too. i told the president of our old company i was leaving, then mom told them she was leaving. and the president of the old company contacted my aunt like 'are you leaving too?' this set my aunt off for some reason. she emailed my mother saying she was hurt that my mom didn't tell her about this, my mom wanted to call her because she doesn't like email, my aunt refused to take her calls. the emails went back and forth and back for weeks. the end of it was that my mother apologized, my aunt wouldn't accept it, and my mother decided she was not going to engage my aunt any longer. my mother decided my aunt was toxic (the same conclusion her other sister and brother had come to) and stopped talking to her. the only contact they had after that was when my mom didn't show up online to work for a few days, my aunt emailed her to make sure she was okay. my mom responded that she was, and that was that. when we decided we were moving back to new york, my mom sent her a quick email to let her know and my aunt did not reply.
fast forward back to mom in ICU. mom did not want us to tell this aunt that she was in the hospital. mom did not want us contacting this aunt. mom did not want this aunt to come or call or anything. my mom's friend and i convinced her that we should let this aunt know - i mean, they were sisters. so i had tried to contact her.
and on thanksgiving night, she finally called me back. it was after 10pm EST and we were done with dessert. i had had a couple of drinks and we were all sitting around the table, just bullshitting, when my phone rang. i took it into one of the bedrooms to have some privacy.
i told my aunt that my mother had stage IV metastatic lung cancer that had invaded her spleen, liver, and brain. i told my aunt that my mother had been sleeping for a day and that they told me not to bother flying back to florida. i told my aunt that my mother was dying.
my aunt told me that she 'doesn't do funerals'.
there was more to the conversation: my aunt telling me that my mother would only want comfort care, my aunt telling me that she knew what my mother wanted, my aunt telling me that she talked to my mother about this, my aunt telling me that she knew my mother best.
i didn't really register most of it past 'i'm not coming out because i don't do funerals'.
she never asked how WE were doing, my brother and i. she never asked if WE NEEDED HER. she only told me that she knew what my mother wanted, she only tried to make me feel like i wasn't doing what was right. she told me to tell my mother 'if she wants me, i'm here but if not, then go with god'.
my mother was lying in ICU, dying at 56. i was 30 years old, on thanksgiving night, having just told my mother's entire living family that my mother was dying. and my fucking aunt told me 'i don't do funerals' and 'if your mother wants me, i'm here, but if not, then go with god'.
i never told my mother that we called this aunt. i didn't want to upset her.
i have always tried to live by a motto of sorts: no remorse, no regret. what's done is done and we cannot change it. but if there is anything in this life that i might regret, it's answering the fucking phone that thanksgiving night and engaging my aunt. because this started months - MONTHS - of bullshit back and forth between this aunt, myself, and my brother. this begun MONTHS of fighting over money and possessions, MONTHS of this aunt holding money over my brother's and my heads to try and get things that she wanted that were my mothers.
i took a long time thinking about this post and trying to figure out what to write. i know some family members read my blog. and my blog is semi-anonymous, so anyone can read it and if they know me, they know who i'm talking about. including this aunt or her daughter, my cousin, whom i've tried to maintain a relationship with.
thankfully, after i got off the phone with this aunt my other aunt (dad's sis-in-law) had a large bottle of bailey's for us to enjoy. and enjoy it we did.
i was glad awesome husband had flown up thanksgiving morning. we stayed at his parents house, and i cannot express in words what it meant to have him holding me that night.
black friday was the next day. usually i'd go to the mall to make fun of people shopping, or do a teeny bit of my own shopping. instead i spent the day at the hospital - the last full day we'd be at the hospital. because mom was going to be moved to the palliative care unit and then, hopefully, they'd have a bed for her at a local hospice.