My brother shared a family secret with me and now I don't know what to do with it.
I apologize if this isn't the right forum in which to share this. I found this site in 2013 when I was caring for my dad at home. It was a godsend, this site. After my dad passed away the members here were gracious enough to let me stay. Other than a question about taxes I haven't posted anything personal since my days as a caregiver are over.
My parents were lovely people. I had a great relationship with them both and I loved them both very much. We had a wonderful childhood, took many trips as a family, and my memories are all good ones. However, since as far back as I can remember I have had a reoccurring nightmare about my mom. In it she's the bad guy and I'm trying hard to get away from her. I run to my dad but he's no help as he's being tormented by my mom as well. I've had this dream into my adulthood and never, ever knew where it came from since I was never abused as a child and had always had a loving relationship with my mom.
About 20 years ago my mom went into a deep depression and never really bounced back. As difficult as it was on her it was also hard on my dad. My dad was an empathetic, loving, and understanding man who never experienced depression. But he supported my mom as much as he could. Gradually my mom came out of it but never really bounced back 100%.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. It hadn't spread and the surgeon was able to get it all. She went to rehab, did well, and came home. Once she got home and the enormity of what she had been through hit her she took to her bed and never really got back up. I was trying to care for her from my place 10 min. away. I was constantly driving over there, helping her off the floor when she fell, begging her to get up, etc. The longer she stayed in bed the weaker she became until every time she'd get up to use the bathroom she'd fall. My dad would call me to get her off the floor, I'd go over there and get her up. I was dealing with my own illness at the time and wasn't in good enough shape to be doing this several times a week so the last time she fell I pretended that I couldn't get her up and I called 911 over my parent's objections. The hospital admitted my mom.
Several days later I was admitted to the same hospital, on the same floor, as my mom. I visited her when I could as my illness allowed. The last night I spent with her we watched The Wizard of Oz, an old family favorite. I knew this was going to be the last time my mom and I ever watched it together and I was grateful for that time with her. I was grateful that she was lucid and was able to understand what was going on around her. The next day she fell very ill. I was holding her hand as she died.
I made my mom a promise that I would take care of my dad and I kept that promise. Most of you know that he moved in with me and as a result of my caregiving I became very attached to my dad. The caregiving drove me nuts and the NH he had to go into drove me nuttier but my dad was the sweetest, kindest, nicest person I ever knew. I knew this growing up and I knew it at the end of his life. Everyone loved my dad.
Last year he died. I understand why I felt like I was grieving more for my dad than for my mom since my mom had been gone so much longer than my dad. But over time, over the months, as the grief lessened somewhat it was always my dad I thought of, not my mom. And this bothered me. I loved my mom very much and I wondered why she didn't cross my mind as often as my dad did.
So I was talking to my brother about this, asking him if he felt the same way. Did he grieve more for dad than for mom? And my brother told me that he gives mom very little thought these days and I was shocked that he would say such a thing and I told him so. Then he told me that before mom died she had unloaded all kinds of poison onto him about how she never wanted to marry (she didn't get married until her 30's which was 'old' back then), she never wanted children, that she "settled" on my dad because she was getting pressure from her family, and that she never led the kind of life she wanted to lead.
When my brother told me this I wanted to throw up and demanded to know why he hadn't told me this before, why he had been hanging onto this for 7 years, and he said that he didn't want ME to carry it around but since we were having this discussion he decided to finally tell me.
Now my memory of my mother is ruined. I'm so angry at her but I know she was speaking the truth. Somewhere in me I knew but until it was brought into the light I had never examined it before. And I think about my poor, poor dad. He deserved more. I'm not sure she ever loved him.
Even though deep inside I sensed something (hence the dreams) I'm so upset with my mother for leaving us with that I get physically ill every time I think about it. Then I hurt, then I get angry. What my brother told me has been on a loop in my brain for days.
I don't know what to do with this except dump it here. Thank you for reading this.