Truth or Dare

I haven’t spoken to Mom since Christmas — bad daughter.  Yes, I am. I haven’t had the energy or the desire, I suppose, and I haven’t wanted to hear her rebukes, such as, “You haven’t come to see me in so long!”

When Lorin and I lived in New Jersey, I saw her once or week or at least biweekly. Now it’s once a month. I haven’t got time for more pain, and I’m living far away.

A nurse called me from the Actors Home and asked if I could calm her down since she was ranting about being poisoned, again.

This is nothing new.

She shrieked into the phone, “”When are you going to get me out of here? I’m being poisoned.” Then, “Where have you been?” and “You only think about yourself, or dear ole Daddio.”

That pulled the trigger.

“Mom, I have to tell you something.”


“Lorin was killed in a car accident. That’s why I haven’t been calling or coming around.”

“Oh no! Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want to upset you, but it’s time that you know.”

She started to cry or it sounded like crying. “I’m so sorry.”

It felt good to tell her the truth. I have spared her so many truths, but I am tired of lying to her, even if she has Alzheimer’s.  I have no more time for lies and obfuscations.

“And I’ve moved out of state,” I said.

“What? Why?”

“Because I can’t bear to be in New York since Lorin died.”

“But you dumped me here and now I’m alone in this God-forsaken place! Where are you?”

“I’m living in Savannah, Georgia.”

That didn’t seem to register. Her brain must now have been on overload or “tilt.”

“You have to get me out of here. Take me to Grandpa’s house . . . anywhere.”

“Mom, Grandpa is dead. You can’t go there.”

“There’s a room for me there.”

“I don’t think so, Mom.”

More crying.

“I’m coming to see you on Saturday,” I said.

“But that’s not soon enough. You have to get me out now.”

“It’s in three days. Can I bring you anything – soap?”

“Yes, please bring me the lavendar soap. They took that away from me.  And someone scribbled all over my Wuthering Heights. It must have been Lorin.”

“Lorin wouldn’t scribble in your books.”

“Did you bury him?”

“He was cremated.”

“Oh. I’m so so sorry. I’ll pray for you.”

“Thank you. Try to relax. I’ll be there soon.”

“Okay. Jack took me to confession.”

“Oh, good.”

“He prayed with me.”

“I’m glad.”

“I have so many sins. How will I ever be forgiven?”

“It’s okay, Mom.”

More crying. The phone and she sounded far away. I waited for a while, then hung up.

No more lies.



13 thoughts on “Truth or Dare

  1. Hi Erica,

    What a great conversation. Good on ‘ya for making the decision to just stick with the truth. And good diversion about the soap. You are in exactly the right spot vis a vis your mother. You have done everything possible for her and now must look after yourself. If you see her every two or three months, that will do fine.

    (Aunt) Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Erica, you’re not a bad daughter. You’re a wonderful daughter. You’ve done so much for your mom. I’m glad you told her. She’ll be okay. You have to take care of yourself right now. Love to you, dear friend! 💟


  3. Erica, this was so moving . . . and brave. I am starting to share more truths with my own mother, and I know how hard it is. Your way of capturing dialogue is always such a strong point in your writing, to me. It’s your own unique life, and yet I hear it as the universal theater production of pain and perseverance. Keep writing, and take care of yourself is all I can say.


  4. Excellent writing, my friend. But beyond that, excellent daughtering. I am happy to see that you were able to tell her about Lorin without being destroyed by the experience, and it sounds like she handled it as well as could be expected. So proud of how you are managing your difficulties, and showing yourself the same kind of compassion you show her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As others are saying here, you definitely aren’t a bad daughter. Some things can hurt so badly that we just can’t utter them, can’t share them and see how others react, until we’re ready. It wasn’t easy to tell your mom what happened, but maybe it’s a sign of healing. I hope that healing continues, and more easily. Sending a hug from over here.

    Liked by 1 person

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