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Return of MEM

So, it’s been a while since she has made an appearance, but it reared it’s ugly head again last week. Tuesday last week my grandmother decided to call up My Evil Mother. I asked her why she did this since I know that any contact with MEM will result in what it always results in. On Thursday I get a call from my grandmother ‘You’re going to be very cross with me’. My automatic response? ‘How much did you give her?’. Apparently MEM’s husband called my grandmother from work saying my mother is ill and needs to go to the doctor because and he needs to borrow *cough* bullshit *cough* money. My grandmother told him she didn’t really have any money, but could give him R50.00. While she is on the phone telling me this, her land line rings and she ends the call with me. Two minutes later I get another call from my grandmother. She had just spoken to my aunt who says that MEM and her husband had just been to my uncle’s place of work asking for money. He sent them on their way. In case you didn’t catch it, MEM’s husband lied about calling from work when he spoke to my grandmother. So my grandmother called them and said she can no longer help and put the phone down.


Friday morning at about 08:30 my phone rings, it’s my grandmother. I still remember remarking to my colleauge next to me while the phone was ringing that it was very early in the morning for this type of call. My grandmother is crying and upset. She says my uncle told her that MEM looks like my grandfather did before he died. She’s lost even more weight, her hair is falling out and she is shaking (she has been shaking for quite some time now and didn’t have much hair to begin with). This in turn, upset me. Despite what people may think, I don’t feel absolutely nothing for MEM and if she had to die I would probably feel guilty about it for the rest of my life.  I spent the next hour crying in the loo at work and then in front of a friend/colleague who intercepted me and took me to an empty boardroom. This is a very difficult situation. I am the ‘most sensible’ and ‘strongest’ in the family, so whenever a situation or even a SMS pops up from her I am immediately notified and pulled into it. I think this is also why MEM so often blames me for estranging the family from her or turning them against her. Of course her actions have nothing to do with it.


I can see no way to help her. Giving her money will not help. We’ve all learnt that very expensive lesson. I am not even sure that buying her food will help, because I am not sure that her abusive husband and his mother will even give her any of the food. Nobody in the family is in the position to give her refuge as nobody has space. The last time she was sheltered by my aunt and uncle her husband moved in as well and they sponged off them and lived rent and cost free for almost two years. It also almost cost my aunt and uncle their marriage and their child had no room to stay in while they lived there.


MEM is toxic. If you involve her in your life she will most certainly drain you emotionally and financially until nothing remains. If you get involved in her life she will attempt to do the same. I am at my wits end with the situation. I cannot protect her and will not negate the quality of life of my family to enable her further. That being said, I also don’t want her to die due to starvation/neglect/drugs/abuse.  The last time my grandmother got MEM into a place of refuge for abused women, she was uncooperative with the people there and went back to her husband.  What do I do?! I can’t see a way out. I simply know this will hound me to the grave. I feel powerless.


So here I am again. Stuck between a rock and a hard place with no way out. I don’t know what on earth I did to deserve this. I have nobody to support me when things go pear shaped. I don’t have anyone I could even borrow money from if I needed it to put clothes on my child’s back. I have to make do with what I have and cling to my work and my family. I am responsible. I don’t squander money and make debt I cannot repay. Why am I being punished?