You Spin Me Round Round Baby Round Round

There is a lot going on in Bebe’s World, everyone. A lot. So much so that you are going to be subjected to about 3 events worth of babble in one post because it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. I’ve been struggling with this bizarre feeling that I hadn’t really been able to explain before but I finally managed to come up with an apt description. I have fallen off of my axis. I’m not quite spinning out of control across the ether or anything, but I just kind of feel like my gravitational sanity axis is amiss. I know why and how this happened. I am just now trying to figure out how to get it back so I can go on about my crazy ass life. You know I should state that I don’t like country music all that much yet somehow, someway, my life could be turned into a weird country song. I would title it “My Trash is Pearly White”.

So let’s start off with Theo McCancerPants. If you have been following along with my stories you will know that my mentally ill drug addicted brother is suffering from cancer. I went to see him a few weeks ago. We were supposed to attend a family session through his rehab joint to discuss how his decisions have affected our lives. We made it as far as the parking lot of the church it was being held. I knew he would back out at the last-minute and not go in. When we were kids he would mysteriously vanish right before family portraits. Security guards would have to chase him down in hospitals when he was sick with his stomach problems and he would try to escape. I knew when I pulled up and saw him sitting there that we wouldn’t go in. I explained that perhaps this flight philosophy he believes in so much isn’t working for him. It didn’t work though. We sat in the car for a while, and then went for coffee. It was the first time in about 5 years or so and we didn’t miss a beat when we saw each other. Still felt the deep sibling love, and the total inescapable feeling that I am sitting with an alien in my car.

By the way, in case you ever wondered what he looks like, I will go ahead and put it out there that he is from the stereotypical crazy addict school of design. I know that mental illness doesn’t always have the same face, body or spirit. Some look sharp and relatively normal, ala Patrick Bates. Others, like my brother, go the long scruffy beard and layers route. His vague notes of stale smoke and his grandmother’s polish cooking kind of permeate around him as well. I’m kind of shocked he is wearing shoes, as I remember a few years ago he vetoed them full-time, along with car insurance which he didn’t believe was necessary.

Aside from his physical appearance, health wise he looked ok. He tried to tell me his cancer came because of the nuclear disaster in Japan and called it The Simpson’s Theory. I can’t tell if he is serious or joking, so I just look at him sideways and he awkwardly laughed. Historically speaking this means he isn’t sure if he is joking or not either. We drink some coffee, we take a picture together, we hug, and I drop him off around the corner of his house and he walks through the neighbor’s yard. I wouldn’t be surprised if he crawled through the basement window to get in.

I talk to him briefly a few weeks later, and the following day I find out he arrived at court for a date with a judge regarding a prior incident he was involved in. He was supposed to have reported to a rehab facility a while back and didn’t. He is now in jail with a very high bond. I am not surprised or even disappointed. He is, relatively speaking, safe. He is warm. His medical needs are being taken care of. Perhaps he will be there long enough to become lucid enough to try and get it together just a little bit. The saga of Theo McCancerPants is not over though. Stay tuned.

The reason I only talked to Theo ever so briefly was because I was dealing with issues with my mother in law. Some of you may remember her as the culprit who has a brief shout out in Inflatable Metaphors for Life for bringing a Little Caesars Pizza to Thanksgiving dinner one year. She said she needed something to eat with her pills. So she brought an extra-large shitty ass pizza. Makes sense right? Yeah well, the issue with her was that she died. She hurt her back somehow, got stuck in her lazy boy, went to the hospital for 11 days and died. My husband traveled halfway across the country to be with her in the hospital because he just knew she was going to either leave the hospital and go to a nursing home, or leave there dead. This is all sad because it wasn’t necessary for her to die. Also, she was young. Really too young to be so old. I feel badly for my husband and his sister. They are good people, and their relationship with their mother was complicated at best. My relationship with her was almost non-existent. She was a hard woman to respect. I pitied her in many ways. But all I ever saw in her was the negative effect she had on her kids, who are mostly my responsibility. It’s like having 2 teenagers to take care of because their most basic emotional needs weren’t really always met. I have to give it to her though. I have never truly believed one could will themself to die. And she did.

I’m completely afraid of her haunting me. So much so that at the wake, I apologized to her for making so much fun of her to my friends. They all played Mother In Law Bingo at my baby shower. They should be sorry too. In case you were wondering, I created a list of things I knew she would do at my shower, and made a game out of it. In a completely coincidental event, I created a party game based on my life long friend’s equally as annoying mother in law who had her foot amputated. Needless to say, Pin the Foot on Peggy was a secret hit in our minds. We didn’t have the heart to actually play it live for real. Jesus, I’m as asshole. I am prepared for the karma I will receive when the boy marries one day. Fully.

I guess what I am trying to say is, I am certainly sad that she died so young. I am deeply saddened for my husband who is left with a vague memory of good moments with his mom. She is now in whatever better place she imagined herself to be  when her time came. I still can’t look at a Little Caesars without wanting to scream. But somehow the anger seems wasteful and sad now. So I will work on making peace with her, and with crappy pizza.

Last but not least, no post of mine would be complete without the mention of poop. The boy has encopresis, which is a behavioral issue that means he withholds his poops for fear of painful movements, which in turn, cause awful horrible painfully enormous movements. Humans are so silly with their survival instincts. It’s not at all uncommon among kids like him, and it hinders potty training like nothing else. He is on a special diet, stool softeners, extra fiber, the sticker on the potty chart plan, and “let’s kick mom in the face as many times as possible” self-defense plan.

Every night I come home after 12 hours of working to the boy and the dad. The dad tries his absolute hardest to understand that much of the boys poop problems are not within his control right this second, but honestly, dad’s best isn’t good enough. He is a nervous wreck that the constant pants pooping is going to destroy the boys chances of being President, or at the very least, an Elks Club Member. So I have to work on calming them both down. The boy poops a ton now, but the consistency is never typical, and mostly, it’s a mess. He tries to clean it up, but mostly, it gets everywhere. I mean it. Everywhere. Floors, walls, blankets, towels, me, him, pajamas, probably even the ceilings. I am covered in poop every night. Until I figured out that wipes of all kinds burn the living shit out of my son’s ass, literally, I would get kicked in the face. Every night. He wasn’t aiming at me, he just flails around in pain, and I’m just the right height. It’s awful to see my guy go through this. I know it will come together eventually. I know that we have made a lot of improvements. I know that a large part of being a mom is to be prepared for shit your whole life, one way or another. But honestly, it makes getting off the train, getting into my shit free zone car, and pulling into my garage nightly really hard.

Last night, a few hours after I had my axis epiphany and right after a shitty emergency bath, I am reading books with the boy in bed. He is reading his numbers, telling me the story, and gets pissed when I ask him to read the numbers in Spanish. It doesn’t matter to me really, I just like to outwardly acknowledge my kid is bilingual and confident enough to be all “screw you, only one language tonight!” I am not bilingual by the way. He just goes to a really fantastic preschool. I turn off the lights and lay (lie?) down with him for a while. This is a new thing. He usually tells me to leave so he can go to sleep. He has a spot in the bed, we aren’t to fuck with it. But lately, he has been kind of dependent on me and I like it. So help me, I like it. Just please goddess don’t let it get really bad. I’ve been slightly spoiled by a kid who loves to sleep. He whispers to himself that he is going to sleep by mama. He crawls up by me, and spoons with me. He holds my hand and buries his hair into my nose. He is perfectly still. I smell his hair. I pick up subtle scent of menthol from his Johnsons & Johnsons snot clearing bath wash. A slight sprinkling of fabric softener coming off his pajamas. A deep earthy whiff of shit, possibly vintage 2 weeks ago?  A dash of jerk here, a sprinkle of pure angel heaven there. When all of these scents combine I determine that this is what my axis must smell like. It’s within my grasp. Close by. I know it.



Dear Theo, Letter Two

I posted something deeply personal to my dearest brother a while back and left it to the air in prayed for healing and resolution. Last week I walked into a cathedral during my lunch break to sit and meditate. To reflect on my issues of the week, to feel closer to the center of everything in my life, and to be calm. As I walked out, I noticed for the first time that there was an open book in the corner with a pen next to it. I went to see what it was and it was the prayer requests for the Sunday mass. Without much thought, as if on autopilot, I wrote Theo’s name down. I never stop thinking about him, and while I know he isn’t of sound mind to appreciate others praying and putting out positive love for a complete stranger, I know I would.

I found out yesterday that he is suffering from pancreatic cancer and it’s not looking good. Actually, I was informed a few days earlier that he had cancer through the grapevine that I typically try to ignore. I didn’t believe it. I discussed it with other siblings, and they didn’t either. We had no doubt he was probably ill. He has been ill his whole life. Stomach problems, arthritis problems, mystery illnesses, asthma, basically everything. Looking back now, I feel like Theo’s whole existence was akin to when foreign matter enters your body and your immune system won’t accept it and tries to destroy it. He is the foreign matter and life is the immune system. The fact that he is now dying of cancer only makes it far more literal.

My siblings and I held a quick meeting about the validity of this claim and I decided that our mother, who made the difficult decision a long time ago to cut Theo out of her life until he could get better, should know about this. She would clarify this with one phone call and we would do what we could from there on out. And it was true. She is understandably beside herself with confusion, fear, sadness, regret, and insurmountable motherly love, and has nowhere to place it. He most likely will not agree to see her or spend time with her, or any of us. My hope is that his physical sickness puts to rest his mental sickness if not only for a moment, so that he will allow his mother to do what she does best. Love. Nurture. Nurse. Make everything ok.

As for me, I still only picture him as a small child and I feel helpless and sad for all involved. I’ve allowed myself to think that when he dies, he will finally be at peace. It’s not something that I will broadcast to my immediate family. I think that they probably feel the same way.

As someone with a strong viewpoint and belief that lessons are to be learned from everything and that death is all part of the whole river of life, I have already seen some good come out of this. Within the one phone call my mom made to her ex-mother in law, kind words were spoken between two women who had a very complicated relationship. The words “I never once doubted you loved all of your children” was said with the same voice that defended her abusive son. The same woman who very clearly stated that “perhaps if more meat and potatoes were on the table, my boy wouldn’t be so angry with you.” As this process takes its course, the only line of communication will most likely be between these two women. One that picked up the pieces of her life and created a brilliant new one, and the other too old to change now and in a weird prison of her own. One that wants desperately to nurse her son; the other who will be doing the nursing. I don’t know if that balance is harmonious, or even fair, but it’s balance. And hearing her say those words brought a lot of closure for my mom.

I do not know what happens next. I do not know what else to think. I will keep writing my brother’s name down in that book and I will keep meditating and carrying Theo on my hip.



Dear Theo

This is an open letter to my dearest brother. He will never read this, and I will never show it to him.

You are the product of a lifetime of pain, abuse, and heartbreak. You are collateral damage. You are a combination of mental anguish, poor decisions, and the inability to get help. Our mother could not help you as a child, and you are unable to help yourself as an adult.

You have put yourself in many situations when you could have done otherwise. You are solely to blame for a great deal of your adult life. But whenever I think of you, I only see the chubby little boy with the bright smile and all of those smarts. I only see our baby brother. I don’t see you now at all, because you are a danger to yourself and to others. You are unpredictable, a pathological liar, and I cannot help you.

I am sorry that you were so badly abused and then remained with your abuser. I am sorry that you became an addict. I am sorry that the nightmare that you lived in with others has ended for you only because they too abandoned you, because you made them. I am sorry that I was forced to shun you and live with heartbreak every day that I did. I am sorry that the damage in your head is only as salvagable as you allow it. I am sorry you won’t salvage it. I am sorry that my very typical role in our family both as the oldest but also as the child of addicts and abuse makes me the one who cares the most, or at least the most emotionally. I cannot run away like the other one, or live inside of my head like the other, other one.

We all have a past; we all have issues to overcome, and lives to lead. We have families of our own to care for now. Why you didn’t hop on the same road as us, I will never understand.

I miss you terribly. I will miss you until the day we put you in the ground, if such is the case. I will miss you if you grow into a sick old man, alone and pickled in the brain; if such is the case.  Until then, as far as I am concerned, we are all snug in our beds that we pushed together. We are playing name that tune. You are laughing and trying to take apart our toys, and trying to keep the cat from attacking you. And hopefully you see me as the older sister who held you on her hip, and always held you close.

It’s all we have.