Jake and I have been watching the show Shameless on Netflix lately. At first, I found the show to be entertaining- somehow making light of alcoholism and the myriad of other dysfunctions that are going on in the show. It made it seem funny somehow, when really it is just so fucking overwhelming.
The last episode that we watched together, I found my anxiety spiking. When I talked to my friend Latta about the show he told me the show actually stressed him out to watch and suddenly I felt the same way. The episode hit a little too close to home.
Frank the protagonist’s mother gets out of jail. She has been serving a 12 year stretch for meth and drug charges, been released on medical leave an old mean woman. Frank hates her as much as she bullies him and makes him take care of her personal hygiene and the like when she gets out. She’s old and decrepit and it is stated that she should be in a hospice.
She comes into some money that she exhorts out of her old business partner. Having been missing from her grandchildren’s lives growing up, she starts buying them gifts which wins her their affections. The two youngest children get spoiled and love her for it. She takes the youngest kid Carl and decides “let’s teach you a skill.”
In which she meant she was going to teach him how to make a meth lab. -___- In their attempts to get things started, the lab blows up and Fiona the oldest daughter and caregiver of the family banishes Frank’s mother from their home.
Frank’s mother is dying of pancreatic cancer. Frank responds to this by stealing her pain medication and disappearing. He leaves his mother with his girlfriend, Sheila. Sheila has publicly gone on record stating how much she hates this woman, yet in the face of her disease she starts to soften towards the older lady. With the help of her daughter’s ex, she takes care of Frank’s mom until she expressed the desire to kill herself.
Fiona the caregiver had out Frank’s mother in time out, she said. The kids weren’t allowed to go and see her. The grandma is mad that the children don’t come to see her. It seems like she is shameless like the show suggests because she doesn’t seem to think anything of her behavior; i.e. nearly getting a 10 year old killed in a meth lab explosion.
She doesn’t have any reason to live, no one wants her. Her son (Frank) hates her and doesn’t want to take care of her. Her grandchildren aren’t allowed to see her. She is already in a lot of pain. She asks Sheila to help her end her life, and Sheila obliges.
I had to change to something else to watch after that episode. The way the Grandma felt and the pity I felt for her unsettled me so much. It made me think about my own mother, a guilty feeling curling in my gut.
I never see my mother if I can help it. Her addiction and the people she spends time with make me stay away. I don’t feel safe when I go to her house, my childhood home. She must feel as lonely as the Grandma did, and it hurts me to think. She makes me stay away, she could be different, but she won’t be. I hate having to draw the line and never see her. Our family was never like that, and yet here I am. Alienating myself from her, because it’s easier than watching her suffer.
She suffers and there’s nothing I can do to change her behavior. She has to make the decision, but she hasn’t. She makes me stay away. She doesn’t want me around, or she would change. I know it’s impossible… I couldn’t do anything for Joshua either. They have to make these decisions on their own, and mom isn’t ready to. I can’t make her get a job, I can’t make her stop.
I want to be around her. I want not to be stressed out every time she calls asking for something. I want to be able to talk to her without feeling upset. She makes me feel so guilty, like if I could love her harder it would make a difference. But it wouldn’t, and it’s a hard pill for me to swallow. She keeps me away. I hate her for it. But they do say hate is love twisted, it’s that depth of feeling I can’t escape. I wouldn’t want to escape, I just wish she could make things easier. I wish loving her wasn’t so hard.
Loving my father is complicated, too. I value his love, but I hate his lifestyle. I can’t be around or even talk to him. He’s been living in a half way house and he and my mother have reconnected again. She gets to spend a few hours a day with him. And are they looking for a job for him to maintain his status at the half way house? No sireebob. (Who was surprised by that?)
As much as I dislike my father, I’m happy my mom is happy. They are a stupid couple that makes no sense. They both have too much pride to be together. They’re both too head strong. For their relationship to work properly, they’d both have to be different people. I don’t know how, but they somehow make it work even though they’re fighting all the time. They have a very on-again-off-again kind of relationship. It’s hard for me to keep up.
I am dreading December. My dad will get out of the half way house around then, and come back to live with my mom. They are talking about getting married. I would be thrilled if my mother got married, as much as I don’t like him. He loves me, maybe he’ll grow on me. Then she would be his problem. I never know what to do about them, besides hold them at arm’s length.