I used to sing that Pat Benatar song or at least just repeat the title; gonna harden my heart. That is, I knew I was soft-hearted. Kind-hearted. I could not say to spare change to a panhandler, no matter how broke I was at the time. No longer remember exactly how I said it: I would rather be the one to get taken advantage of then to take advantage of others. Err on the side of kindness and love. Too, too trusting. But better to trust. Could always cry later.
Yes, a lot of homeless sob stories are pure BS. That is also true of homed people. That is where the erring on the side of love fit. Unsure, err on the plus side of the ledger sheet, rather than be hardhearted. A song says "easy to be hard". Took a lot of work for me. I think my real physical heart pays the price for hardening my heart.
In 2002, I fluctuated between strength borne of hardness and weakness caused by love. It is by no means anyone's fault but my own. And perhaps those voices on the other end of the line in Rhode Island and later Massachusetts. And that nurse. The other nurse too. What is that word? Culpability?
My mother could have used her money to hire a housekeeper, someone to help her clean up the mess of her house. Instead she spent it on the QVC channel or to buy expensive stuff she did not need more locally. She could have put her foot down, not let sister Ruth walk all over her. Poor Ruthie. Of course Mom could not do so; she scribbled thousands of notes regarding her anger and resentment; drank herself to sleep or peace, who knows. I found many hidden bottles; some empty.
My siblings and mother's grandchildren (including my three) could have worked out a schedule ~ would a few hours helping much loved mother and grandmother clean up the mess of her house been too much to do? Busy lives, all of them. So I sacrificed my own to do my duty. Out of love.
When I moved to California I would have found it unthinkable not to return home for my mothers or siblings funerals. Now. Oh well, that is just the way the ball bounces. At least Mom will be able to die with a mostly clean house, as she wished. I feel bad that I have not been in contact with her all these years. Told family they did not need to tell her I was homeless, living on the streets. Maybe she understands my absence from her life.
Nothing I can do about any of it anymore. However, I do feel a bit rotten. Disgrace to the family.