Since my Dad died, I’ve come across new things.
Like crippling grief. Grief that looks and feels like 80 feet waves pummelling me, tumbling me, confusing and frightening me. Grief like that. Grief that – like waves – doesn’t let you come up for air. It doesn’t stop for a second so you can’t stop.
I think I’ve been on “survival mode” for about 3 years now. Losing Dad last year just added to my fear and confirmed that yes, horrible things will happen to me, so I need to keep my guard up.
Losing a parent…brings heart-wrenching ‘new things’.
“New things” like horrible anniversaries. Our first Christmas without Dad. My first Christmas without the inevitable “Babygirl! There you are!” that Dad would gleefullly greet me with over facetime from over in the Philippines or before that – in his summer shorts and brightly coloured t-shirt on Mom’s balcony in her apartment in East Perth. My first birthday without Dad. Our first Father’s day without Dad…Dad’s first birthday and just recently – the 1st full year without Dad on the 4th June. A ‘death’ anniversary. The worst one of them all.
Another new thing is “Surviving parent guilt” where I am so consumed with wanting to make my Mom happy that I will literally agree to anything and everything she asks of me – often without question.
“Sweetheart” Mom’s message will ping on my phone “Can I have $1000.00?”
I don’t even have $1000, Mom.
But I find a way to send it to her. I work longer hours, I save extra hard. I sacrifice and I sweat for every freaking dollar to make sure my Mom has what she asked me for.
Because she’s the only parent I have left.
And that alone weighs on me heavily.
I am under the immense guilt and pressure of “What if this is the last conversation I have with my Mom?” “What if she dies soon, too?”
So my every answer is “yes“.
No matter the cost and often, the cost is HUGE.
My friends worry about me (I love them so much) and they have all lovingly advised me “it’s okay to say “no” to your Mom, Janet – she’s putting a lot of stress and strain on you financially and it’s not fair”.
But they have both parents, so they don’t know what it’s like to have just one parent left.
Before my Dad died, if my Mom asked for money (she’s a punter and will regularly ask for many, many things, bless her), I’d ask so many questions “What’s it for?” “Why do you need it?” “Can I see screenshots of the bill/the price/the rent/whatever you’re asking for?”
Then Dad died.
So every answer remains a yes. Unequivically. YES.
Because now my Mom is the only parent I have left.
I anxiously await the next ‘ping’ on my phone. Instead of being happy to hear from my Mom, my heart sinks and my immediate thought is “how much this time?“
How long can I be an ATM until it kills me?
This is so hard, guys.