We are coming down to the final days of mother’s life and our strained bonds are unraveling in the most dysfunctional of ways. I have tried to distance myself from the insanity – mostly by turning my back from the situation, but deep guilt rages against self-preservation and sometimes wears me down into a sad nub. Occasionally little bits seep into my life and when they do, I try to view them as stories happening to someone else – which makes it more tolerable, even as it resembles its own kind of insanity. I have even tried to abandon any notion of the truth or understanding and let each tale unfold as complete fiction. And really, the events seem surreal at times.

Take my eldest sibling – a woman who has been mostly mentally unstable for a very long time and who once threatened my life – the last time I ever addressed her as a blood relative. She recently declared that our mother is faking her own death – and that long-estranged maternal relatives are finally reaching out to us via email spam to tell us as much.  Honestly, this notion seems to be as likely as alien contact from outer space – but still a possibility we discuss in a huddle as though it were real. Another sibling, also slightly wobbly about the brain, imagines that every decision about our mother’s medication, care and nourishment is a conspiracy by the rest of us to bring our mother closer and faster toward death. Now that our formidably harsh mother has become a listless soul – and only now – it seems this one needs to keep our mother alive. In a strangely warped and obsessive way, she needs to be the one keeping watch over our mother’s humiliation at the hands of impending death. I do admit, however, that it does seem true at times that another of us is maybe giving our mother a bit too much medicine, suggesting euthanasia and fretting loudly that our mother will last beyond the time allotted for hospice care.

Truly, I have been startled by the fractured reactions that our mother’s end has brought. Even my own reaction has been a surprise — me, person of action: I choose to observe the scene – to stand back and not participate. I do nothing, knowing I am judged by others for my inaction. I just wait quietly for the end to come so that I can finally turn my back fully on these people, these aliens who claim to be my family.


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