The Call

Tonight, I received a phone call. It was one of those awkward phone calls that you know in your heart will someday come but you hope that it won’t. It actually came twice. The first time it came, I let it go straight to voice mail.The person calling? My aunt, well one of my aunts. Without telling you my entire life story, because seriously it’s about a book worth full of drama, I’ve spoken to this woman twice in the past 30 years and I have not seen her once since I was 7.

I knew that she had flown to Mexico and brought my ailing, albeit estranged, Grandmother “Abuela” back to the states with her. I know this sounds terribly cold and removed to a person from the outside but let’s just say adults made choices and we were children. She removed herself from my father’s childrens lives.I have seen her once since I was 12..that was wen she showed up like a ghost, unannounced at my baby shower when I was pregnant with my first.Saying that we are not close is an understatement. We are blood. That is where the bond ends.

My Grandmother wasn’t at my graduation. She never called. She never wrote to explain her absence. She made no apologies. Apologies are not her style. She is a very stoic, closed off person…or she was when I knew her.  She never attended my wedding. There was no congratulations extended when my children were born.The fact that she was at my baby shower was a complete fluke. She was in the country, my aunt was coming and she brought my Grandmother along with her as a hostage. There was no gift.There was no matronly advice from my abuela who had birthed 9 children of her own. Just awkward silence and a very strange out of place grin.

There has always been a tension between my Grandmother and anyone who dared to challenge her way.By challenging, I mean not relinquishing all rhyme and reason to cater to her every whim and want.

Tonight, the call was to tell me that this woman who I hardly know; who birthed my father and hardly knew me..barely wanted to know me, unless it was for a purpose beneficial to her; the woman who is responsible for the existence of my father in the world, the woman who should mean everything to me but means less than most of my casual acquaintances,is in the hospital and most likely dying of cancer.

My heart broke but not for the reason that you might imagine. My father is in Mexico, he was there with her before she got sick and had her surgery a couple months ago. He was finally re-establishing a mother -son relationship with his mother. The woman I have become accustomed to him referring to as that woman or my mother, in the past couple months he has started to refer to her as my Mama. The difference is subtle but the implication is great.

They have been estranged for almost 25 years.As a mother, I know this must have weighed heavily on her heart over the years and I’ve seen first hand how difficult it has been on my father to not have his mother in his life. I can’t imagine there being anything that my child could ever say or do that would make me stay away for so many years. But then again, she left.

Here I sit tonight with the weight of my father’s world resting squarely on my shoulders. You see I have been presented with the task of locating my father in Mexico, and giving him the news of her illness and probable impending death. I am sad that she is hospitalized and in pain. I would feel this way for any human being but mostly I am sad for my father who after just getting his Mama back in his life, may be losing her..forever. This is the call that I NEVER wanted to make. I never wanted to be the one to break my father’s heart and give him the news that he may be again losing his Mama.

Comments (9)

Oh mama! I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this all. Good thoughts and prayers headed your way

UGH! That is so SO hard. It totally sucks when we become grown-ups and start to realize the depth of our own parents’ emotions about certain things. I totally feel your pain. And I am so sorry that your Dad is going to have to say such a painful good-bye so much sooner than anyone would have wanted.

i’m going to take a bit of a different angle here…i would just like to say that i think it is great that you can see the good in how your Dad has started to rebuild the relationship with his mother. such a huge step for both of them. and though there must be mixed feelings for you, you can see the good in it.
it is truly sad to be in this situation…but how wonderful that he (they) had started to mend this – how much worse it may have been if she had died before they had reconciled.

Oh my goodness Debi! I am so sorry for you. What a sad predicament you are in. I’ll be praying for you and your family as all of this unfolds. You are strong. You might be the best bearer of the news for him.

This is not something you have to explain to me. I have been estranged from my brother for years. My whole family has. After years of turmoil, we realized we had to cut him out of our lives in order to protect ourselves. Now? He is a stranger to me. And I have no interest in forming a relationship.

I’m sorry you have to deliver the bad news to your dad, but am touched by the emotion you feel over it. Hang in there!

I am so sorry for your troubles. It is a sad story, but good that they made up before she dies. I, like you find it so hard to understand how a mother could turn her back on her children. I just couldn’t do it. Don’t get me wrong they can drive you mad, and we don’t always agree, but they are your children, sometime we may not like them but we love them always. I feel sad for you having to bear the bad news but I am sure you will be the best shoulder to cry on he could ever have.
Keep strong

A Mommy in the City

I’m so sorry Debi! That is so tough! I am praying for your family and only hope that your dad gets as much peace and closure from his relationship with his mother.

Jess@Straight Talk

Oh honey. I understand the family thing and I understand the pain. I’m glad your dad is back and I hope that they are able to heal. For them, because from experience, the guilt of wishing you’d done things differently when someone is gone is unimaginable. xoxo

My Father, Grandmother, death, cancer

[…] you never really knew? This is the dilemma that I am faced with tonight. A few weeks ago a received the call that my estranged Grandmother was sick and in the hospital. I was told that it might be cancer. The […]

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