When something terrible happens in my life, when I don’t feel like myself, which is a really happy, out-going, crazy, loud person that I am, I retreat within myself. I push people who aren’t my family away from me, and I even tend to push my family away. I hide inside myself, and I don’t let a soul know what’s going on in my life. No one knows. Unfortunately, at work some people found out in the worst way possible that there is some shit going on that I’m hiding from everyone about.

My Mom left a voicemail at work. She had gone to the hospital because her eyesight, which I didn’t even know there was a problem because she pretends things are fine when they aren’t, has been bothering her. The voicemail sounded like this:

“They said I have cataracts. I’m going to sleep.” (click)

Right as I heard the word cataracts my entire world fell apart. I absolutely crumbled in that moment, I gasped, held my free hand to my heart, and felt my world just crash. I know it’s not life or death, but I was hoping it wasn’t anything. I’ve never seen my mom as mortal, I’ve never seen her ever have any problems with her health. She had a torn retina, but that was fixed, this is progressive. I couldn’t get in contact with her and my breathing became erratic.

I started hyperventilating. There are people in the break room and they’re asking me what’s wrong. I don’t hear them, I don’t hear anything really, just the words my mom said that there IS something wrong. She has cataracts. What if she loses her vision? What if there’s more besides this? (which there is more, she’s losing her eyesight and having problems with it when she gets stressed, which is not the cataracts, but something else). I try to stop myself from crying by breathing, but my face shows everything, I know it.

That my mind is thinking about what I’d do without her. And I never think this thought, but now this is all I think of. One of the girls takes me and physically helps me out of the break room. I get out of the area, walk toward the spa, and suck in a huge breath that sounds like a sob. I get inside my room and start crying. Breaking down, I can’t talk, I’m just sobbing. One of my friends and another one of the women come in with me, while my friend shooed away lots of my co-workers who stop by my room to see what’s happening. I finally get out that she has cataracts, and the one lady with me says that they can fix it. It’ll be okay, it’s not a big deal, she’ll have to go through surgery, and wear stupid big glasses after it, but it’s something that can be fixed. Then she says something that hits me to my core.

“She’s all you got. I get it, my Mom’s all I got too.”

I start crying all over again. She is all I got, she’s everything and anything and all the in-between of my little world. She’s my best friend, and the first person I’d confide in about this, but this is about her so how can I turn to her? Slowly, brick-by-brick, I piece together my composure. I try to crush that little voice that has gained so much volume in this moment that one day I’ll be without my mom. And, when that day comes, I know every part of my being will be destroyed and I will be as raw, and as vulnerable, as I was in that moment when I heard her voicemail. I’ll try to retreat inside myself, and come back when things are okay, but I don’t know if I’ll ever come out of hiding within myself.

I knew my father was affecting my Mom’s health. I know he yells at her the moment she wakes up in the morning, tears her apart every moment of every day, and it’s after he yells at her that my Mom’s vision gets worse. This is the thing besides the cataracts that they don’t know what it is. God knows what other things are going on with her that she won’t have checked out because she doesn’t want to know. She doesn’t know if my father will pay part of the mortgage, so I’m in the wings ready to help her if he stops giving her money and she needs help paying for stuff. I’ve never felt so uncertain, and so mad before. I am so angry at him. All he sees is his own little world, and no one in it besides him.

To say the least, people asked me that day and the next day if I was okay. I put on a smile and said I had a mini-freakout. I know they were worried, but the truth is I just like to retreat when things are tough. I’m trying to be goofy, and silly, and just be me, but inside I am worried, and I am angry, and I’m sad, and I don’t know how things are going to get better. And I know I can’t think that way, that I need to remind myself things will get better, and most days I do convince myself of that, but that day at work, I couldn’t.

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  1. Oh, poor girl 😦

    I hope your mom will be okay! It´s horrible be so worried about someone you love!


  2. marinasleeps

     /  September 13, 2010

    One of the worst things to fing out is that your parents are not invincible. I found that out and it was mind blowing.
    You start to see them as actual humans and not this idol or superhero. I realize that I try to fit that ideal too with my own kids. But what if I was to let my kids see that I was human but still strong. That yeah I falter but it’s ok as long as I keep going. Thats just what your mom is doing. Still truckin’.

    • I couldn’t agree more, which is what I’m finding out much later in my life that she isn’t quite invincible. My Mom has broken down and told me that she needs to be strong all the time or else then the family will fall apart. She takes a lot of things on herself and does tend to be superwoman. I know whenever I have kids, I’ll definitely be the exact same way and be as tough as nails as she is.


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