Erica Scott: Life, Love and Spanking

Ruminations, opinionated observations, darkly humorous blathering and the occasional rant from an outspoken spanko and unapologetic attention wh–, um, hog.


It’s Friday. There are things to smile about. Heading for John’s in a few hours. It’s going to rain again this weekend. I got Chrossed (and congrats to everyone else who made the grade this week). And I’m getting a nice tax refund. It’s enough to cover my annual car insurance premium, with enough leftover for… more bills. (sigh)

But I am ill at ease today, edgy and uncomfortable. It’s one of those times where I need to write it out and come clean. Today is a “Life” entry.

I have not spoken to or seen my mother in over a year. The last time we talked on the phone, she didn’t know who I was until I reminded her, and then she asked me how my brother was. It was around the same time that John was so ill, and I realized I just couldn’t handle it. Something had to give; I didn’t have enough in me to worry about both John and my mother. So I chose John, who is very much present and alive. My mother may be alive in body, but the person I knew is long gone.

For a while, I kept in touch with my stepfather. Talking with him was heartbreaking. When you’re as old as he is, most of your friends are long gone. His mind is still as sharp as ever, but his body no longer cooperates. He can no longer golf or fish, two of his passions. He has emphysema and arthritis. I do believe he sticks around purely because my mother needs him to. When I would ask him how he is, he’d answer, “Well, I’m still alive, unfortunately.”

Eventually, I stopped calling. He didn’t call me, either. I thought about him and my mother every day, but time passed. And passed. I felt bad. But the thought of talking to him, or visiting him, brought on depression and anxiety.

But this week was his birthday, and I couldn’t ignore that. So I sent him a card, and I wrote a message inside, saying that John and I would love to visit him this weekend and take him to dinner. I’d hoped that would re-establish some communication and I could go from there.

I came home from the gym to a voicemail from him. It was brief and curt. “Thanks for the card. I’m busy this Saturday, so I can’t make it. Say hi to John, and take care. Goodbye.” He didn’t suggest rescheduling for another time.

He hates me, I guess. I don’t blame him. Of course he sees me as a defector, uncaring. Self-involved. Abandoning him and my mother without a second thought.

John knows that isn’t true, bless his heart. He said, “M doesn’t understand. He can’t. He’s stuck in a miserable life, he feels lousy physically and emotionally. He doesn’t know what you go through when you see your mother, how terrified you are, how it freaks you out for days. And maybe you could be a little kinder to her now, but it’s damn hard, when she was so unkind to you for so many years.”

I know it’s not right, but I can’t help it. I AM terrified of my mother, and repulsed too. I see my future in her and it scares me half to death. I don’t want to end up like her, or like him. Polar opposites — her with all her vital organs working well but her mind shot, and him with an intact mind and a failing body, but both dragging on and on. This is no way to come to the end of a life. This fucking SUCKS.

So I run and hide, because in this area, I am a coward. And because I have so many conflicted feelings about my mother, and it’s too damn much for me.

M doesn’t see that. He just sees that I’ve disappeared. Ironically, I’ve done the thing I most hate having done to me. When I’m in flippant mode, I say, “Well, my mother made sure to let me know, in so many ways over the years, what a disappointment I was to her. I’m just fulfilling that role.” But I know what BS that is.

I know what I need to do; I need to call him. Push for making another dinner date, and follow through. Talk to him in person. And while I’m at it, visit my mother for one last time and say a proper goodbye. Tell her I’m sorry I wasn’t what she’d hoped I’d be. And that I forgive her for the legacy of criticism and feelings of inferiority. She couldn’t help it. She didn’t like herself, either.

Perhaps when I’m with John tomorrow, with his help I’ll work up the courage to make that phone call. Of course, I’ll be hoping that I get voicemail.

It’s amazing how the simplest of tasks can seem so overwhelming when your mindset is off. How the time comes to act, and you think, “Ughhhh… I’ll do it tomorrow.” And before you know it, several tomorrows have elapsed.

But hopefully tomorrow will be the last tomorrow where I say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” And if you could follow that, congratulations.

Thanks for listening. Have a great weekend, y’all.

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21 thoughts on “Life

  1. I understand completely. Maybe someday I'll write a post about my maternal parent (I can't even type the "M" word:(It would be good if you could reconnect with your stepfather, and tie up that loose end.Hugs,Hermione


  2. Hermione — thank you. My mother was a very sad and angry person. She spent her life running from one therapy, one diet, one cosmetic procedure, one trip, one hobby, one guru, etc. to the next, but never came to terms with herself. It's ironic that she's now quite docile and loving, but I can't stand being around her.


  3. Dear Erica. I'm so sorry. You've been stuck between bad choices and did what you had to do because you've grown to know you have to take care of yourself first. I know you don't like to fly, but anxiety and mental health are like the moment in the safety lecture when we're reminded we have to put our own oxygen mask on before helping anyone else with theirs. You were right to make the choice you did — there's no way you could have handled the situation with John and your mother and M. I know it probably doesn't feel like it, but I think you should be proud that you've reached out to re-establish contact with M, hard though that is. You didn't have to — you could have let it go. Whatever further you do, I admire you hugely. Much love,Mija


  4. Hi Erica-CONGRATS on being Chrossed :-)I agree with everything that you wrote in this blog,I wish your stepdad would understand your feeling's instead of thinking otherwise 😦 No one could understand what you went through and are still going through no better than you yourself,Whatever you choose to do i stand behind you 100 percent :-)I am alway's VERY proud of you,As we both know life is NEVER easy,your damned if you do and your damned if you don't is how i look at it there is no easy answer.Good luck my very dear and special friend,I would say follow your heart and hope everything turn's out for the best,My heart alway's get's me into trouble.Wishing you and John a nice weekend :-)Much love and hug's from your naughty girl Jade XOXO


  5. Erica, I've never commented but I see you around the blogosphere. Just wanted to say how sorry I am for the suffering in your family. It evidently goes back many years as these things do. I'm relating to your situation because my mother will be passing in a short time and I'm a bit estranged from the whole family and I wish it were not so. I know it took a lot of courage for you to reach out to your stepfather and I hope you get another chance to reconnect. Take care of yourself,Mick


  6. One thing I am happy about, in an odd sort of way, is that the bodies of both of my parents gave out before their minds did. One of my great aunts lived well into her nineties, confined to a nursing home because she would otherwise have been in a mental institution due to her paranoia. From a jolly woman who always had a slightly off colour joke to tell she came to believe that a 100 kilogram neighbour was climbing through her tiny bathroom window to steal her tea. The last time I saw her I had to tell her who I was.You are not alone.


  7. Mija — you're very kind. We live in a culture where adults are expected to sacrifice and take care of their aged parents, so I'm kinda used to a fair amount of judgment. But those who know me and really care, know there's certain things I'm incapable of doing, and it's not out of malice, just my own emotional limits. Thank you.Jade — my stepdad can't help it, honey. He has his own feelings, and he's having a terrible time of things. But nothing I do will make his life any different, and I have to live my own. You're right; it's not easy.Mick — welcome to my blog, and thank you for being so kind. I'm sorry for your own family pain. You take care as well, please.


  8. John — our messages crossed. I have very controversial views about ageing, ones that fly in the face of traditional (and religious) views. I think one should die on their own terms as well as live; I want dignity and independence in my life, and if I lose those, I think I should be allowed (and supported) to exit, stage right. Sadly, only three or four of our 50 states agree. Other countries are so much more progressive.Very sorry about your great aunt.


  9. I have no argument with that. My mother in law is nearly 89 and has let it be known that she has lived long enough and wants only to be made comfortable and without pain. She has made a written statement that she is not to be revived. The home she is in is not happy about it but will not interfere.


  10. Dear Erica, I went through many of the same thoughts and feelings that you have expressed with first my mom and then my maternal grandfather who finally had the good sense to pass on last year at age 99. He was a lot like your stepfather in his reluctant acceptance of the ravages of age and his inability to self-euthanise. It got to the point where I could no longer visit him because it took such a toll on my personal health, both mental and physical.If you are successful in getting together with M that could be a healing thing to do. OTOH, it could just dredge up more of the pain–which you don't need, and certainly you don't need to feel guilty about that. Certainly. Anyway, my thoughts are with you, and my heart as well. You do what you need to do, and as you search your soul, you will know what that is.Big hug,A.


  11. Hey Erica,I'm late.. as usual (sighs) you're probably at John's (cyber hugs him) and not online until Sunday, but I just wanted to stop in and tell you that I understand where you're coming from. Knowing you for some time, feeling very much the kindred spirit to you, I find myself commiserating wholeheartedly as I connect the dots between us. Although we've been treading salty water in unison, we've been in separate oceans. I can truly feel what's going on in that pretty little head of yours, cause I've been on that slow boat to China. Oh man, what a long stressful seasick trip that is. It's also hell, when one begins to realize ones own mortality. Two words.. "that sucks."I do know one thing.. I hope my body fails me before my brain.. and if not.. just shoot me.xoxoZ


  12. ps.. CONGRATS ON THE CHROSS'ing! 🙂 –> That acknowledgment would not come so regularly, if you weren't a very viable entity (tour de force) in the blogosphere. Keep up the great sharing of your heart and soul my dear, as you are appreciated more than you may even realize!! 🙂


  13. Old age and illness terrify me. My grandfather was recently in a rehab for several months after a fall and my mother griped at me for not visiting more. But I just dreaded going there. He looked so old and frail, could hardly talk. Honestly, I don't know if he even remembered when I did visit anyway. I don't know what's worse, the physical or the mental deterioration. It's all hard. I hope you're able to reconcile your feelings with your mom and step-dad.


  14. I'm with Zelle, hope my body gives up before my brain. Close family member has dementia. I'm finding it so difficult.It may help if you reconnect with your stepfather, don't know.I hope you and John have a lovely weekend.Love,Ronniexx


  15. Having been in the same shoes, I think your idea of telling the truth would be wonderful therapy for you. .visit my mother for one last time and say a proper goodbye. Tell her I'm sorry I wasn't what she'd hoped I'd be. And that I forgive her for the legacy of criticism and feelings of inferiority.


  16. Dear Erica, my parents, my mother, and father. gave their lives for their kids, in fact they saved us during those dark days of World War 11. Now of course they are gone, and I miss them. I am looking forward to the upcoming Jewish Passover holidays, and I hope yours will be just as pleasant. Keep your spirits up. XXX love as always.


  17. Dana — thank you, dear. It seems so many can relate to this story, one way or the other. Pretty tragic that life has to end that way for way too damn many people. :-(Zelle — you are indeed a kindred spirit. ♥ It's apples and oranges, I'm discovering, regarding body vs. brain. If either one fails first, you have to deal with indignity.Lea — you're right, it's all hard. There are exceptions — there's a woman at my gym, in her 80s, still there working out (and using heavier weight on the machines than I do!). She is my hero.Ronnie — just for my own peace of mind, I think I need to settle things with him. I hate loose ends. Sorry about your own family member… I know it's tough.OBB — well, I got to say goodbye to my father. I'd like to be able to do the same with my mom, but it's definitely not the same situation. We'll see.Six — my heart goes out to you. Quite a dark and ugly period of our history. 😦


  18. Erica, I am currently watching RG's DIL being the caregiver for her elderly, Alzheimers mother along with her 93 year old father who still has his brain and senses completely intact but his body is so old that he does nothing but sit all day in the dark, as he refuses turn on lights. She was adopted, and she had a very strained relationship with her mother, so she was/is also somewhat conflicted over the role she is in now in regards to her mother. Being adopted when her parents were in their late 40's/50's, they had a whole life before her and her also-adopted-brother (who molested her, and her mother went to all lengths to protect him, contributing to the strain). It used to hurt her to be caring for her mother, and her mother having no idea who she was. When DIL would talk to her mother about her life, her mother would never mention having children, even saying a couple of times that she had no children. One day it hit RG's DIL — she called me to tell me the news. "I am free!!" she said to me. I was confused. "I am free!" she said again, in regards to her relationship with her mom. Instead of being sad and angry about her mother not knowing who she was, or remembering her, or offering her the acceptance she always wanted from her, she realized that her mother would never get better. There was an acceptance that it would never happen, and for her it lifted a burden of having to wonder and worry if that rift would ever be mended. She told me, 'I can now just be her caregiver; that's all I am, and I do not have to be in the daughter role with that woman any longer.'That may not help you, and I am sorry for rambling on…..your post just reminded me. This same DIL said to me when we were talking about eating better, and doing things to prolong life (she is a smoker) and she said rather sardonically, "I dunno….I've seen what 'prolonged life' is and where it goes. It's not pretty. Not sure I want to prolong my life." As she gestured towards the door to the basement where her elderly parents lived. But then I look at people like Betty White, and know it is possible (tho not likely) that you can still lead a full life when you are elderly.There is something about tragedy and illness in our family that tends to bring up old wounds. Why is that? Do we have something inherent inside of us that alerts us, 'this could be your last chance!!!'??I am so sorry for what you are going through, and hope that you are able to find and make peace over it soon.Hugs,Sarah


  19. Hello, Erica. I'm very new to this cyber space and have never commented here before. I am fiercely familiar with what your are experiencing. It's sad to me; we treat animals with more dignity than humans-I know that flies in the face of many views. I'm planning on an ice floe- or some version there of. Be very nice to yourself. Saoirse


  20. The wise and loving people here have already offered what I had in mind, so I'll just echo that I've seen you do right by your folks over the years, making the hard but most loving decisions. A "second effort" with your stepdad might actually win him over, or at least convince him or your sincerity, and if nothing comes of it, you can take comfort in knowing that you did indeed try. Nor do I believe for a moment that he really hates you. I'm sure he hates his situation, and desperately wants relief, and John is absolutely correct. Sending my love!


  21. Sarah — I agree with RG's DIL; prolonged life is not necessarily a gift. Betty White is my hero — if only we could all age like her! Alas, my mother is also 90 and she's been a mess for years. Thanks for your kindness and reaching out. It helps.Saoirse — welcome to my blog. It makes me nuts too, how we compassionately euthanize our beloved critters when they're suffering, but can't with our humans. No, that's a sin. (sigh) I do plan to educate myself thoroughly on end-of-life options… I will not, WILL NOT, end up like my mother.Wolfie — you are very sweet. No, he doesn't hate me. But he certainly doesn't hold me in high regard, either.


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