Mom was scheduled to have a check up with her neurologist to try to pinpoint the cause of her leg problems. I was at home that afternoon. The phone rang. “April, they’re sending me to the hospital.” “What? Let me speak to the doctor.” The doctor picks up, “Your mother is having a High Blood Pressure Urgency.” A reading of 200 over something was tossed my way. They take her to North Shore Hospital, and I wait around the whole day to find out if they are going to release her or keep her. The brother calls. I relay the news, “Mom is in the hospital.” “Uh, ok. I’ll call back later.” Nighttime rolled around. I still did not know whether or not I would be bringing Mom home that night. The phone rang. The brother. You might think that maybe he had called to check on Mom or even—longest of long shots—had called to see how I was holding up. Nope. He is foaming-at-the-mouth angry: “You told one of my friends about the accident and now it’s all over the web. You embarrassed me!” “I was trying to find a way to help you get from Virginia to Nashville”, which I had been. I knew one of his friends had family somewhere between Virginia and Tennessee. Therefore, I called that friend and brainstormed with him a way to help the Bro’. It’s called problem solving, and it’s a skill that people normally consider a positive attribute. “Yeah, well, don’t ever help me again!” Click. And so, Bro’ walked away from a car he totaled, but Mo’ ended up in the hospital for a week—just one more act in the long-running way-Off Broadway drama that is The Mo’ and Bro’ Show. As for my role? Dutiful Daughter still, I called my mother’s insurance company, and spent the rest of that summer negotiating with them on Mom’s behalf. Mom, not caring one wit about her credit rating, her car insurance rates or the fact that she didn’t have $10,000 lying around played Chorus, wailing as she overheard my discussions with the insurance agents, “You’re going to put your brother in jail!” I am convinced that co-dependency is a spiritual sickness, not just a mental or moral one. Yes, there’s insecurity at the heart of it. There is often a connection to drug or alcohol addiction (my mother’s family has a history of alcoholism, and I witnessed her son’s use of mind-altering substances, both legal and illegal). But all of this starts with a lack of healthy self-regard, trained in families for generations. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s a separation from Spirit that lies at the root of all of the ills of society. One feels separated from Love (Spirit), and so one seeks to fill that void with other people, other things. The solution? Love yourself first.
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