Things have been pretty crazy for me lately. My life hasn’t been hectic or anything like that but in my head there are a thousand thoughts and they are all traveling towards the exit, fighting to get out at the same time. I started this blog to reach people similar to me, living with similar disabilities or life issues and also because I have a really difficult time going through things by myself – I don’t want to overload my husband too much or let him know every single thought (what wife wants to reveal all her crazy?), so I made a “private” place to vent. And yet, every time I am in a position where I am overwhelmed and need to vent or “think out loud,” I almost never come to this place. It’s pretty inconvenient for me. Someone is always home or I have more important things to do when I actually have the time; or I have the house to myself for too short periods of time to really get my thoughts out. By the time I do get to sit down, one of two things happens: I stare at the keyboard blankly or I write every single thought I’ve held back and end up deleting a 3,000+ word rant. I don’t want to read that to edit it, how could I possibly expect anyone else to want to read it?!
The Bioness system for foot drop was a total waste of a trip. The system itself was pretty amazing. I walked without a limp with my shoe on and without my AFO. I used my cane but only because…can you imagine walking around 4 years with hard plastic between your foot and your shoe and then suddenly it’s not there? It’s a weird feeling even when you have minimal feeling. My AFO makes me feel like I step up every time I step onto my affected leg; it was strange not experiencing that but enjoyable to walk without a noticeable limp or hip hitch (I strive to avoid the hip hitch no matter the footwear). There’s a sensor on your foot that beeps when you do not have your weight on that leg (you can turn that off); just that alone could be beneficial for patients and I think should be sold as its own device to assist with therapy both in home and in a professional setting. But hey, who am I but a person with a disability and crappy insurance?
That brings me to why the system was a fail for me. It’s motherfucking expensive. Like, really expensive….like, can I get a gofundme, expensive. I have Medicare and Medicaid so I pretty much knew it would be a fight to get it covered from the start. Then I found out Medicare only covers it for spinal injuries, not stroke or head injury. Medicaid wouldn’t even talk to the company rep and Medicare straight refuses to cover it. So that was a bust. Nevertheless, I finally got to see what it was all about and that was worth the rest of the disaster of a trip.
Just before the trip our radiator sprung a leak and paranoid MIL decided last-minute that she would not take the kids overnight (something Kasper and I were really looking forward to) and would take us and the kids instead, despite the fact Kasper put that, whatever that radiator seal crap is in the radiator. It would have held, even my FIL (a retired mechanic for the specific make of car we have) promised it would hold because we caught the leak while it was so small. Three adults and two kids on the road for around 3 hours each way, you can guess how this would go, right? Well, that’s how it went. There were unexpected costs but I had saved for a nice lunch and afternoon out-of-town with my lovely and increasingly attractive husband so I had the funds to trade that experience in for multiple stops for snacks and drinks, McDonald’s and two packs of ibuprofen because this mother had a screaming bloody headache by the time we were heading back to town.
»»I’m grateful for MIL because she was there not only for my family but me alone when no one else wanted to or could be. We are very different people but she’s a good woman and I try to remember that when my last damn nerve is stretched so thin its existence is questionable because of her««
We weren’t 45 minutes out-of-town before she handed Kasper the keys to drive without him asking. She then proceeded to drive from her position between two car seats and two very talkative kids. Who does that? Your typical mother-in-law does that, that’s who. As we were leaving – lunchtime. Kasper wanted a damn Red Robin burger, we don’t have those in our city. Like a little kid, all he talked about days leading up to the trip was Red Robin. Lucky for him it was adorable. He starts asking her for directions and, I shit-you-not, this woman purposely gave him the wrong directions. Next thing we knew, he was driving us out of the city and she was telling us about property she wanted to look at between the city and Hill Country. Wow…the woman has balls. I couldn’t even say anything. I was like one of those people you see in the background all quiet:
What are you supposed to do when you are watching a bad situation go down? LOL It was like watching a predictive plot line play out in front of you and you’re like, “I already know how this will turn out.” But you’re not in a movie, these are real people and you’re not on your couch as an outsider. I severely lack social etiquette. I have no idea how to diffuse a situation like that. I was confused at first when she directed him away from the exit; I didn’t want to believe it was real. I don’t know how long it took him but when the next exit sign showed up, I knew without a doubt what she had done. And so we ate at Whataburger. …because it’s an awesome fallback. Kasper is still very upset and we plan to drop our kids in her lap and take off for a weekend as payback (with proper notices given of course and transfer of information).
One day, about a week or two ago, I was smoking a joint with Kasper in the bedroom. We were wasting time before picking up the kids from school. There’s a knock; we don’t recognize it so we ignore it, maybe they’ll go away. But they just keep knocking; persistent bastards. It’s my sister. I knew it would happen; I just didn’t know when. I’ve made it a priority to not ask questions regarding her so when I come by information of her it is literally by chance. I don’t like the drama she brings and since my stroke I really can’t handle it. The way it affects me is all very negative.
Since I got away from Evil Duo, my marriage has strengthened as well as my confidence as a wife, mother, woman and person. It’s a very grave risk letting either of the two in my life. I don’t contact my mother and when she reaches out to me, I only stick to what the conversation directly pertains to. I only ask about my grandparents and relatives that are not Stilla when mom brings them up. The less I know, the better we all are; but most importantly, the better my household is. But you can’t just ignore your family. Even with all the trash that makes up our past we are still people who understand the pasts of each other like no one else can. Kasper and I talked after I learned she was coming back to town and he agreed that he would not interfere or become hostile if she came by. He also agreed to help me keep my spine strong when I need that extra strength. Stilla is very manipulative but I am interested in talking to her without our mother between us.
When I stepped up to the door and saw her, I had a:moment and I was not overwhelmed by anxiety. It was time to show Stilla that she was not going to come over here and expect me to be submissive and allow her to manipulate me. We hugged. She was shaking, I was not. She nervously began the dancing ritual two partake in when judging the characters of each other, I took a literal step back and spoke with little emotion. I can’t let her get to me. I take this and her very seriously. It seems outrageous, I totally get that, but when it comes to Evil Duo, together or separate, I like to protect my own sanity and independence. I have always been viewed as the weakest in the family yet I am the only one that seems able to break away from their triangle of negativity and become healthier for it.
That first meeting was awkward but we had only one argument and it was because I told her directly that I will not allow her or anyone to come into my life freely without boundaries, not after everything I have recovered from in the past four years. Emotionally, I have come very far and I’m proud of who I am becoming both with age and because of the stroke. I am much more aware now than ever. I am not willing to let anyone come in and take that away from me. After that was said and done, we talk a bit and then we agree for her to return with her kids the next day. The second visit is much smoother and I am doing very well at remembering not to take her words as they come. I’m alert though I am stunned by the growth of her children. I didn’t think I could ever be proud of someone else’s children but there I was, this old soul of an aunt with tears in her eyes just beaming with pride and hugging her nieces and one nephew (the other was guilted into remaining behind with my mom).
I’ve had a few things confirmed. My mom is living with my childhood rapist and not only that but she is in a relationship with him that she doesn’t hide too much though according to Stilla she doesn’t like to talk about it. I guess she feels shame for it and she should because it’s disgusting and it’s a direct insult to not only me but the rest of our family as well. She’s putting her grandkids at risk by having him in her life. As we were talking about it, I started to get upset. I started talking about how he molested, manipulated, drugged and raped me in the course of 3-4 years. She did not know this though I’m not sure how she didn’t know. I even tried to lessen the brunt of the news by telling her it was non-violent rape and she surprised me by saying it didn’t matter; rape is rape (I know this) and then she kind of gasped:
He was grooming you! All those years he was grooming you
I know this and it’s the only way I can come to terms with the things I have “allowed” to happen to me. I think this realization may have put some things into perspective for her.
It was interesting to watch her take in information and attempt to process it. I wonder how much or what she thought she knew. We talked about less dramatic things and the whole time I’m trying to remember to keep distance from her. I never really had a relationship with her and I don’t think it’s any one person’s fault. I know I played a big role in that with my attitude towards things, my receptiveness and judgments and actions have all been just as awful as hers, I’m sure, but in my head I’m the fairer sister, right?
I think of all the many times she beat me up because of something really stupid or made me feel worthless because I was different from her. She’s bigger, paler, with lighter but thicker hair and an aggressive personality; I’m tall and thin, tan with dark and long hair and a reserved personality. I think of the times she “stole” my friends when we were kids and how she said I deserved to have the stroke. But then I think of the times I never backed her up or supported her. I guess we are both equally evil sisters, I just can’t see it through my cloud on my high horse.
I think I can forgive MIL for butting in on my afternoon out-of-town with the hubs, and for forcing him to forgo his much wanted Red Robin burger but I’m pretty sure I won’t forget next time I want to plan an afternoon or night alone with my husband. I may have to make her sign a contract stating that she will not invite herself along, take any of Kasper’s road trip craving opportunities away or drive from the back seat. Over time I think I will forget a lot of the things in our past that bother me about Stilla but I don’t think I could ever fully forgive her much like I don’t expect her to fully forgive me. It would be nice to have a real relationship with her for once but for now, I’ll remain content with just my toes testing that water from a very safe distance. She knows where I stand, at least.
My mother…I’m unsure there is a chance I could ever forgive or forget. Maybe. I still talk to her when she talks to me but that’s it. I understand selfishness, I understand that not everyone’s life revolves around me and I understand that another adult’s choice does not require my permission or blessing but I think her actions, her lies and manipulations that are too much to post about (I’ve tried) will take a very long time to process and overcome. I’m just not sure there’s enough time in my lifespan to allow for the growth of acceptance and forgiveness she would need. I’ll always love her but I think she has far surpassed the level of acceptable selfishness.