Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kyle Phoenix Answers: What is one accomplishment you are most proud of?

My mother told me she was dying but didn't want to die in Charlotte, she wanted to die in NYC where she'd been born and buried with her mother and sister. Oh, by then she'd had a leg amputated, several mini-strokes, was 250lbs at 5'2 and going on her 2nd year in a diabetic rehab because the state thought her and her husband couldn't maintains healthy habits at home. They couldn't. I'd been visiting nearly monthly and helping to bolster them financially when finally cousins begged me to come long term.
I cleaned the house, top to bottom, took plastic tarps and nailed blackout curtains down, pine sol, bleach, late at night incense and prayers, visited the rehab and for year tried to supplement, manage and help two insane people. Finally I had to take stepfather to court to get money out of his control and to the rehab she was about to be kicked out for $9k in arrears. Pulled together family meetings to try and reason with him. No avail. Finally talking to my mother I understood her desire to leave. I got an extra job at WalMart of all places because I could have my check directly buy stock that was increasing for holidays then cashed out, had savings and an adult student come down to help pack and drive truck. My mothers part was to regularly have nurses get her up and dressed for my visits and Sunday church services. Because she was a loudmouth I told her one Sunday we'll just go but I need time to get everything set in two states. Two months in, she had a cancer scare but it turned out benign. Somehow she knew stepfather was cheating on her and told me to watch him, to not go back to NYC without her.
He and I are now regularly back and forth in court as he pulled a gun on me demanding money. I stared him down and threw him out of the house. I secretly visit NYC one weekend to get things ready here, to hire a private nurse and talk to mentors to see if I'm really going to try this.
I had week of Xmas in mind because court action would end by then and traveling could be by plane with her in a wheelchair and we could settle up here, have all the power of attorney and DNR done in charlotte, filed for two months and then move.
Tuesday I'm unsure, money/stock is cashed out, I've worked crazy to have two big checks coming, nurse on call, lawyer on call, nee credit cards for student to travel under---my lawyer was like get out of NC you're home free but traveling stepfather could create drama, get NYC and you're both safe.
I'm doubting doing it. It's a lot. A lot a lot. I go to sleep and dream of five people coming to me, realize it's my grandmother, two aunts, closest cousin and uncle. They tell me sometime ms you must break the rules to do the right thing. I wake up and realize that's my fear.
Saturday night, I work double shift at WalMart and finally tell one little old lady in going, another diabetic coworker had helped me put together a supply of meds, taught me how to change adult diapers, move a large person, clean, inject insulin (a nurse at rehab I think sensed the plan or my mother said something and directly would teach me what she was doing), wash a large person, build supply bags, etc..
I'm now near diarrhea nervous but I get to rehab at 10pm (truck packed, student helped tremendously, 1 cousin knew plan, 1 didn't) and as I am about to ask her if she's sure about leaving my mother hysterically begins howling not to leave her, begging, terrified, saying we'll never see each other again if I leave. I had privately considered just moving back to NYC then going back her or moving out of house and waiting madness out.
I don't know if any of you have ever had a person beg you, truly beg you in terror, pain fear. But I was mind blown trying to calm her down as folk are coming in but I hadn't said a word about divergent plan she sensed it. I calmed her down told her to up and dressed for lunch/church by request like other Sundays.
Sunday morning I walked in and by midnight they thought she'd gone home for weekend. Monday morning fax arrived to director of paperwork and release forms. Stepfather freaked out we made local and national news as missing. Lawyer and I negotiated health check on her and I in Pennsylvania (it became a two week road trip....we met Ashley Judd....okay she stared at me as I waved excitedly at her, wanting to talk about her Harvard and UN student later pointed out AJs horrified look probably had to do with the adult diaper I was holding after park employees closed off restroom \U0001f610).
State troopers met us at Super 8 and together and separately they questioned us then left, deactivating "missing persons" he'd falsely put out. We spent two weeks making our way to NYC.
I was in it for at least 6more months to years I thought as we stayed with friends till apartment was ready. I realized in hotels that no one had held her, wrapped their arms around her for years, she hadn't been in a normal bed.
Oh we argued and laughed and as her adult son our relationship deepened especially twice day diaper changes and baths.
So I figured we'd have a good year...she died in my arms one morning getting ready for the doctors. Her last words were I love you,Kyle.

The best thing I've ever done for someone that brought together all my ingenuity, faith, strength and patience, as much as it saddened me, or I miss her, I'm an only child, I learned then how to be a gladiator for someone else...and myself. All the years of her pressing me not to be so introverted, to stand up to her, and my father's chess lessons (and Thomas Perry novels starring Jane Whitefield about how to travel with your own cloak of invisibility) came to a head. 

I feel such peace at her death because I feel like a deep karmic work agreement was between us. I'd always felt she was spiritually my child, maybe a sister, never too much mother.  My godmother told me it would have destroyed me if I'd left because she would've died alone .

That within the past couple of years is the best thing I've ever done for someone.

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