This morning I wrote a long piece about the constant stuck pain in my heart, and trying to figure out what it was. It came to me that it might have been about this incident with Mother. Reading it earlier this year, I saw that my behavior might have made a difference, and that I had failed to keep it up. I actually copied the journal from 1986 into my document of material for my blog, but didn’t use it then. The parts in brackets were added the first time I typed it up, probably back in 1987.
From journal for 1986, after Dad’s funeral:
I did much better with her this evening. I realize that last night I was really angry and disappointed that she was drunk and I got very cold and abrupt and fast and efficient. No wonder she was so nasty and complained of not getting any comfort. So tonight I just jollied her along like a problem child. [Actually I felt like someone with a parent they had loved, but who was being destroyed by senility.]
July 29 Tuesday morning: Sober Mom
[I went down to breakfast and was greeted by:]
A normal person: I’ve made a few decisions. I’m going to be all right. For a little while it didn’t seem to matter but now I’m going to be OK.
I said O good ma (teary)
What decisions did you make? [I wanted to hear her say explicitly that she was going to stop drinking.]
Mom: I don’t know, I just woke up in the middle of the night and
decided it was worthwhile. That horrible person won’t be around any more.
Me: that makes me very happy.
When I wrote this, I didn’t see the possible connection between my treating her with kindness and her decision. I don’t think I saw it on rereading until just recently.
Today I wrote:
I’m vaguely remembering a time when I treated her very gently — could it have been after Dad’s funeral — and she said “That terrible person won’t be around any more.” But I didn’t see that my being kind had anything to do with it. Now I wonder, if I could have managed to be kind might she have been able to stop drinking? But I realize she would have needed the support of the AA community to be able to stop drinking. And at the same time I sent out to Mom a plea for forgiveness that I didn’t see that continuing to be kind would have been a worthwhile thing to do, even if it never got mother to stop drinking.
It actually took a whole long journal entry to work through this. I plan to publish it next.