Yesterday we went to my mom’s for a visit and to celebrate my birthday early. When we arrived, my sister and her husband and child were there. I was not happy about this. Why? Because I need to prepare myself mentally, spiritually and emotionally for an encounter with her and her family and wasn’t given the chance to do so. Plus, I was hoping to enjoy my time with my mom as part of my birthday celebration even though my birthday isn’t until next week. Family dynamics are very different when you add my sister and her husband to the mix. Sometime my BIL/cousin is in such a nasty mood that it makes all of us feel on edge. His energy can be toxic. Also, my nephew is hyperactive and his energy is difficult for me to be around. My sister is usually not an issue but I often resist seeing her because past experiences have only led me to the conclusion that she is unwell, depressed and still using Meth.
The visit was okay but I got a tension headache towards the end, an indicator of stress.
I learned that my sister had arrived early and unexpectedly to wash a lot of laundry. There were heaps of dirty clothes at the front door when I got there. She also had given my mom her typical sob story about how she and her family are broke despite getting stimulus checks and selling the RV my mom had bought them. My sister explained that the money they got from the government was very little because they deducted back child support along with back taxes (which they should!). Of course, their truck (I’ve lost count of how many cars they’ve had now) is not doing well and is a gas hog, my cousin/BIL is struggling to find work – the list goes on. My mom was sad to hear they had sold the RV for only $1000 when she had paid $5K for it. They had not kept up repairs on it and it had so many issues that they had difficulty finding a buyer for it. Their new RV is smaller and can be hitched to a pickup without a special attachment but has less room and no washer/dryer like the old one. They used their stimulus money to buy it and the truck they have now. They had purchased an SUV with the money before the truck but did not maintain it and it couldn’t afford to repair it. Sigh. Currently they are struggling to find a place to park their new RV home. They have jumped from free campground to free campground all summer and are at a place where they have to pay $100/mo but, of course, are being forced to move because they aren’t paying.
They asked my mom if they could park their RV there because they saw there were RV hookups at the spiritual retreat my mom and step-dad created. The answer was “no” because the last time they stayed there they wouldn’t leave and they created all kinds of problems (having their drug dealer come out to the land, fighting with my step-dad, being confrontational, not working, sleeping all day, and just not keeping their end of the agreement).
Thankfully my nephew played with my sons happily the entire time and my BIL stayed away and did not spew his nastiness everywhere. My sister did the laundry and wouldn’t swim because she was embarrassed by all the sores on her body (Meth side-effects). When my husband asked if she was still using she flinched and said, “No.” My husband believes she was telling a half-truth, meaning that her “no” was that she wasn’t using today or in that moment but has been. I agree with my husband. Those sores are not “allergies”, they are proof of her drug use.
I struggle not to give my sister money when I see her. I know she will misuse the money and maybe even buy drugs but I do want her to live better and know I can help. But I have learned it is not good for her to enable her bad decisions with handouts. My sister refuses to work despite being totally capable. She can’t work in her desired field – teacher – and her options are limited but she could find work if she tried. House cleaning is one that comes to mind. She thinks it below her to work low paying jobs. Instead, she puts all the pressure on her husband who has the same criminal background issues as she does. He does find work, often, but usually quits before he gets to the 6mo mark. He hates that they take child support and back taxes out of his already tiny paycheck.
My recent dream about my sister doesn’t give me hope for her. In the dream I found her naked, curled up in the fetal position with a tiny towel placed over her for warmth. When I tried to get her to get up and come with me, to leave the horrid place I found her in, she refused. She basically said that she had given up and decided it is better to stay high than to confront her life. She preferred the pretend world of drugs to the real world. I began to cry slow, sad tears as I walked away. I knew she had made her choice and that I could do nothing for her.
Similarly, I had a dream about my mom recently that caused me to wake in tears.
Dream from July 30:
I was outside. A large tree or wooden pole was in the center. Chairs were attached that swiveled around the tree. I was in one and a man was in another. I remember the chairs moving like the solar system around the tree and I could see the man across from me moving in sync with me. We were served Indian (Hindu) cuisine. Then, I remember suddenly knowing that my mom died choking on food. I saw her standing in front of me. She got a shocked look on her face and then she just fell in a heap on the ground. Someone said, “She’s dead.”
I ended up at my mom’s house and she was there as a ghost. We were talking and I was upset about her death. I remember seeing the answering machine had one message. I played it but it was all static and hard to make out. I remember wondering if anyone knew she had died. I told her what I had witnessed, how she was eating food and just fell over, dead. I was beside myself with upset and recalling all my times in this life with my mom, memories flashing in front of me. I also remember thinking she was too young, only 54 (she is 72 now). At one point I saw stairs going up but there are not stairs in the house. She said, “Maybe they will be added?” I thought it may happen. Then, I was crying and hugging her and saying, “I don’t know what to do. I’ve already lost one parent! I don’t know what to do. What do I do now?” My mom hugged and consoled me and a voice whispered, “She isn’t dead.” I suddenly realized maybe she was alive because she was there with me. I touched her and she was solid and I said with relief, “You’re alive!” She said, “Yes I am.” I cried tears of relief, sobbing into her shoulder and woke up.
When I returned to sleep the same scenario occurred – my mom died from choking on Brussel sprouts this time. I was in the house crying again and my mom’s “ghost” was there. This time I was in my mom’s closet and the attic door was opened and stairs came down. My sister descended the ladder and I had a conversation with her and my mom about my mom’s will and how it couldn’t be changed. I began to try and help my sister by teaching her about “start, change, stop”, explaining how it could help her in life. I explained that she could “change” or “stop” anything, especially her drug use but other things, also. She said, “I don’t need help with relationships.” I reminded her it could help in other areas. Eventually I realized my mom hadn’t died because yet again a voice said, “She isn’t dead.” I said, “So she isn’t dead? She’s alive?” It was as if I had no clue despite having already had a similar dream!
When I woke I was crying again and perplexed. Why did I have a second dream where the same thing happened? Was it a warning dream? Could my mom be in danger?
I told my mom about my dream and she confirmed that lately she has had trouble swallowing and goes into choking fits that can make her feel like she is going to pass out. Her heart speeds up, she gets panicked and the fits go on a long time. She has them about once a week, maybe less. Alarmed, I urged her to see the doctor. I hope she will. It is just too “coincidental” that I would dream of her choking twice in one night only to discover she has been struggling with choking on food and water!!
My dream was likely part anxiety and part warning. I often pick up on things happening with my mom, so it is not a surprise that I would pick up on her choking issues. The upset it caused me was severe. I was inconsolable to the point that my guide had to tell me it wasn’t real – twice. It gives me an idea of how my mom’s death may affect me. Ugh. I do think of her as my safe place/person. Life won’t be the same without her.
Dysphagia is a possible diagnosis. My mom’s isn’t severe (thankfully) but she should be checked out so that they can rule out certain causes. Dysphagia isn’t uncommon with the elderly but could become worse over time. My mom told me that she is already changing the way she eats and drinks for fear of choking. She says she holds liquids in her mouth before swallowing now, especially coffee. She is being very careful, but still it is worrisome.