I love my mom to bits but the reality is that she (like me) was very dependent on my dad. Dad took care of retirement fund planning, dad took care of tax matters and most banking issues. Dad checked the water, oils and tires on the cars and did the odd oil change. Dad fixed leaks in roofs, dad changed light bulbs and painted walls. When dad was not able he arranged for contractors negotiated fees and did all that kinda stuff. Dad did a lot for us…
In the eight months since dad passed away my brother and I have taken on a lot of the things dad used to do for mom. I became executor of his estate so that I could sort out the retirement, tax and banking issues. Donovan has learnt how to put up security lights, check pluming and sort out tv reception. We have kinda fallen into a pattern out of necessity but also because we wanted to take care of mom and give her time to find her balance again.
This past week has been a little crazy at work with me working long hours and spending very little “awake” time at home. As a result I had not seen much of my mom so when my phone rang on Friday and I saw her name I was quite excited. The smile on my face did not last long!! She was calling to tell me that our landlord had contacted her and was wanting to push our rent up by almost 50%. Mom was having a complete melt down and rambling off a bunch of stuff she wanted me to do, to take care of the situation. I was scribbling notes and trying to join the dots of her disjointed tirade and my heart was beating a thousand beats a second as fear of losing our home set in. I got caught up with all my notes and told her I would take care of it.
After putting down the phone I looked at all the bits and pieces I had carelessly scribbled down and I started to put it into some kind of order. At some point I realised that I had no idea what our rental agreement was and picked up the phone. It was only after there was no answer that I realised that I had called my dad. Dad had signed the rental agreement back in 1993 he would of course be the one I turned to when looking for the contract details. As the tears started to roll down my cheeks I had an overwhelming thought…the reason mom had called me is because with dad gone , I had become her “person”…
I have always loved the way Christina and Meredith use that phrase but for the first time it dawned on me just what that meant. I am responsible for my mom…now that may seem stupid because I am her daughter and have always been but in this moment the weight of that responsibility weighed heavily on my shoulders. I had taken dad’s place, I had become her “person”.
I know that in reality no one, not even me could really take my darra’s place but if dad was with us he would be the one receiving a slightly hysterical call and dealing with rental agreements. Dad would have instinctively known what to say to calm mom’s fears and he would have known what the details of the contract are and he would have dealt with this stressful situation with dignity and authority while I am falling apart.
I have been trying to be so brave, putting up a front in front of my mom, being strong so that she can take time to be weak in her grief but with all this dumped on my lap I have been struggling. I am strung so tight that I fear if I let go I am going explode and then implode!! But this too shall pass and we will find a way to deal with it.
The realisation that I am now mom’s “person” is sobering and although I am beyond a shadow of a doubt sure that she would prefer my dad at her side I am going to do my best to not only deserve the title of “her person” but I am going to do everything within my power to fill the pretty big shoes my darra left behind!!