After the earthquake, the tsunami.

This past weekend, I released a lot of pent-up pressure at my mom. She was going on and on about she was worried sick about my oldest brother, who has suddenly admitted that his liver no longer works and how it is too late to do anything about it. This is one of the people that put me in the ER and then was going to just leave me there after I begged for a ride home. Her concern is worthless because it is 40 years too late. Now that nothing can be done about the situation, she is worried sick about it. Her lack of concern for me is revealing. If she cared one tenth as much for me as my oldest brother, my life would be so very different. I tore her a new one and meant every single word. And I feel so much better. And, yes, it is about my feelings now, not theirs. I have been holding my tongue for many, many years with my mother, trying to have compassion for her. When they abandoned me at the ER, my one-sided concern for my mother and father evaporated. They are on their own, just as I have always been. Welcome to my world. Good luck with that.

My question: When did my brother get an epiphany and realize he was dying? Suddenly the fact that he has been killing himself with beer is real. When and how did that happen? How did 40 years of denial just evaporate?

I suspect it was my other brother that made the difference. This other brother has an actual diagnosis of cirrhosis, COPD, heart disease, etc. He is terminal and knows it. However, he has cleaned up his act and consumes a super-healthy diet, has stopped drinking, etc. I think he took one look at the oldest brother and said, “Bro, that ain’t fat. That’s fluid retention. Your liver has stopped working.” And, somehow, it got through to the oldest brother.

When I say something, it means nothing to anyone, ever. My words have no meaning. (And that is why I gave up trying to communicate with anyone in the family years ago. Talking to a brick wall would be more enjoyable.) The family’s attitude towards me has always been, “You are really over-exaggerating things. Dave (the oldest brother) doesn’t have a drinking problem. You are just really over-dramatic. You’ll see. As you get older, you’ll understand how mistaken you are and maybe, if you have enough sense, you might want to be part of this family. We will welcome you with open arms, on our (worthless) terms, of course.”

Now, my mom is like, “Oh my god. Dave is drinking himself to death and won’t stop. Isn’t that awful?” My response is, “You’re just figuring this out now? Seriously? This is news to you? So….you haven’t taken anything I’ve said seriously for the past few decades. Good to know.”

The tectonic plates in my family have shifted. This is how it works: You have an ocean plate and a land plate. Water is extremely heavy. It pushes, pushes, pushes the plate downward. But there is nowhere for it to go because the land plate is in the way. And so the pressure builds…and builds…and builds. Over centuries or even millennia. Then, suddenly, the ocean plate dives underneath the land plate a few feet or inches or whatever. The pressure is released.

But that is so not the end of the story. A wave has begun from the instant dislocation of the plates. And now the wave starts marching across the ocean, growing as it goes. The Japanese gave it the name “tsunami.” Living on the Pacific Rim, they understood the relationship between earthquakes and tidal waves. One time, around 1100 or 1200 CE, they had a tidal wave without the prior earthquake. They called it an “orphan tsunami.” Geologists did some digging. Turns out there was an earthquake in Oregon or maybe Washington state, on the other side of the Pacific. The Japanese are smart.

The plates have shifted. The denial is over. The pressure has been relieved. Now is the calm before the tsunami. Things are about to get real, real ugly. The stage after denial is anger. Rage is about to ensue. I am confident that I will never be forgiven for being right. Reality has vindicated me. I don’t need their acknowledgment at this stage in my life. These family members are about to get pissed off at each other. Decades of frustration will look for an outlet.

This will get progressively uglier until Dave (and perhaps the newly-sober brother Bob) die.

I am glad I had it out with my mother and truly got out of the family. I am headed deep inland. Up a mountain, safe from the approaching tsunami.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

One response to “After the earthquake, the tsunami.”

  1. Ninasusan says :

    Many yeArs ago I let loose on my mother….I understand releasing the pressure!

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