RSS Feed

Mom’s mail

Posted on Thursday, May 7, 2009 in Mom

I’m going to try to write myself through some anger and frustration with my mother. I know everyone gets upset with their mother at times, but I’m not terribly familiar with it. My mother has to be the easiest person on earth to get along with. She takes nothing personally and never really learned how to do the guilt thing. She controlled my behavior by praising me whenever I was a good Do-Bee. She’s a little gem.

I recall the time she read my diary when I was in second grade and she asked what I meant about my friends and I having talked dirty at recess. I just looked at her in alarm. She simply instructed me on how to close my diary after making an entry and suggested placing it somewhere other than the top of my dresser. When my high school friend told her we had been smoking cigarettes Mom just looked at me and told me that she was surprised I’d make such a stupid decision. When I came out to her in my 20s she cried her eyes out and then told me she loved me. There’s really been very little for us to argue about.

So I’m a little ashamed to be so angry at her for simply not throwing away her mail. Yesterday I was at her apartment and there was opened and unopened mail on her kitchen counter, dining table, coffee table and ironing board. There were even stacks in the TV cabinet, her closet and her underwear drawer. Every time I visit her, I steal some of her stash. She gets solicitations from cancer and Alzheimer’s groups, from Indian schools, from various support the troops and injured veterans groups, multiple support the disadvantaged organizations, and from every social security lobbying or scam group in the United States.

She sometimes sends these groups money. It’s very important to her that she can make charitable contributions and they are never over seven dollars and fifty cents. I know this because I’m on her bank account. I don’t want to take away from her that opportunity to feel like she’s helping others. She’s 88 and that’s about all she has to offer now. She’s in subsidized housing herself and I’m proud of her for still giving money to others.

But it drives me insane. Absolutely batty. My mother used to be very neat and tidy. The volumes of mail cause her a lot of distress. But she won’t let me discard a single envelope. She has to shred anything with her name on it and she’s afraid I’ll throw away something that identifies her. I offer to take items home to shred them for her. No deal. She trusts me to pay all her bills, but not to shred a letter from her congressman.

This drives me crazy. So crazy that I yelled at her for hoarding her mail. Keep in mind that I’m yelling at a woman who owns hearing aids but never puts them in. So I don’t even know if she knew I was yelling at her.

I’m sure it’s not the mail I’m upset about. It’s the watching my former bookkeeper mother lose skills and memory. I hate it. It was easier to watch my father lose all his muscles. I expected that to happen. I didn’t expect to see my mother in such a state that she can’t remember having made coffee an hour prior or forgetting to put the water in the coffeemaker. Mom always took care of me. Now she follows me around like a trusting toddler. I fear having to put her in an assisted living facility far from her friends. And I fear becoming an orphan.

  1. I followed the links to here, so can I assume your mother was Miss Martha? I used to have some neighbors in Bonne Terre MO, and Martha told us she was Miss Martha a long time ago.

    Could this be the same person?

  2. Nope, my mother isn’t Miss Martha. Unless she has a secret identity. She’s pretty cool, but probably not that good at keeping a secret.

Leave a Comment