I made a promise to my mother. I promised to be the one to make the decisions for her when she was unable. I promised to be her health care proxy. She was, and still is, terrified someone would keep her alive when she’d rather be dead. Force air into her lungs, pump blood through her veins, put a feeding tube down her throat.
It is her worst nightmare. Mine, too. She knew I understood. I do.
I’m going to be there for her surgery not because I’m a fabulous person or because I can rise above the fray- I’m not and I can’t. It is not noble.
I’m going because she is my mother. And, no matter how much I’ve been kicked, I will go back. Because I made a promise and I will honor that promise.
Recently, I had someone question a promise I made. A flurry of legal documents ensued. It insulted me to my core. Consideration is when you get paid to keep a promise, basically, in legal terms. My word was not enough. I had to have consideration. I had to be paid in order to have it binding.
I cannot be bought. The very idea of someone paying me money to keep a promise is beyond offensive, it’s funny. I have spent most of my life with money dangled in front of me like a carrot by my mother. A lot of it. I have walked away. Over and over again. Stop being a lesbian or I will disown you. Act and behave the way I want or I will cut you off without so much as a penny. Years I have listened to this.
I am still a lesbian. I still behave badly, in my mother’s opinion. Not only do I wear shorts in the city- a very real no no in my mother’s book- I wear shorts in the city in November. I have been known to pick food off of someone else’s plate- usually my children’s- and I always speak my mind. I am passionate and headstrong. I will not compromise my integrity for anything or anyone. Ever.
As I read one of many paragraphs on a legal document listing a tiny sum of money being laid out as assurance, I laughed. My word will have to do. I know I’ll keep it. They will, in time, learn a little more about who I am. Or not. I don't really care. I can't be bought. I simply keep my word.
Which bring me back to my mother. As much as she tried to buy me, rule me with the hope of riches someday, I believe, in my heart, she always respected me for walking away. Her father had tortured her with money, tried to control her every move, too. She walked away. She taught me loyalty was not something someone could buy. People gather around her because of money and she usually knows real loyalty from fawning for dollars.
I made a promise to her. I promised to be her voice when she did not have one. I promised to be clear about my own demons and fights picked with her, keeping them separate from decisions she has been so clear about. There is a lot of hurt between us right now. She doesn’t want to see me. She doesn’t want to talk to me.
I am still her health care proxy. Updated only a few weeks ago.
And I still love her.
I will honor the promise. It’s what she taught me to do.
Without a penny of consideration.