I spent over an hour on the phone with my mother today.
It has been more than 5 years since we last spoke and her mind was not in a good way that last time. Actually the last conversation we had was several hours of heinousness.
She had been diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, many years ago when I was around age 10. Actually, she may have been diagnosed earlier but that is when I was made aware that there were medical reasons for her madness.
By the time I was 13 we were so homeless that even the homeless shelters had kicked us out (seriously :-). Homeless, carless and having left our biggest support system in So Cal, her, my brother and I were rummaging for food behind a restaurant when the “authorities” were called.
That ended up being my brother’s and my first night in foster care and eventually my brother is adopted out.
For the first time, she showed appreciation for her dear friends who used to take me in.
In this moment of clarity she loved them, in most other moments she felt they were "plotting", trying to “steal” me…the normal feeling of a mother magnified by paranoia.
If you ever wanted to see a tortured soul on earth it is my mother and unfortunately for the most part I seem to be one who triggers her most.
She said “you sound different”
I said “well I’m OLD”
She laughed and said “Old? Wait until you’re MY age honey”
I said “I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about it then too and we can have this conversation all over again”
We giggled and connected AND she believed it was me on the phone this time.
So many average things were said today… just a simple, practically normal conversation.
I don’t know how many more of these we’ll have and when I said “You sound well” she said that she doesn’t often feel that way.
I told her I loved her and while I always mean it, in this brief moment she understood and believed it.