On March 22, 2011 NMIL reared her ugly head. She called our house phone, her voice sounding all fake sad, with the following message:
"Um long pause hi [DH's childhood nickname]. Another long pause. I just thought you'd like to know sigh that pause Old Cat just died. I found her on the couch just now and she's gone. Another drawn out pause. (Hub's going, "Huh?? Why is she crying? She didn't even like that cat!!!") "I'm really upset, you know, she was just lying there. Pause. Well, she came from (home town) and she died in (home town), so I guess she found her way home after all. So, you can call or not call, whatever you want. More sighs and pathetic pauses. So that's all. I hope everyone is good there. Okay. Voice tapering out into a whisper. I love you. Bye.
The thing is, I do really feel badly about his cat if the news was true, and I told him so. At one time in the cat's long life, she had belonged to DH and he did have some fond memories of her. I know first hand that it is hard to lose a pet, even one that you haven't seen for a long time. Sadly enough, pets can be better friends than people. They truly are only capable of loving unconditionally - an ability some human beings do not possess. After giving Old Cat a moment of silence (in which I thought, "Well at least she's in a better place now") we moved on to the more serious matter at hand: NMIL's manipulation of a legitimate situation as a power play, and her continued acts of aggression, in general.
First of all, I believe that DH's feeling that his NM was being disingenuous was not inaccurate. She had tried to pawn Old Cat off on us on several occasions because she was not attached to the animal and was growing tired of it's senility. On all of those occasions when she tried to get DH to take his aging cat, it was my feeling that NMIL didn't care how cruel she was being - a stressful move such as she was suggesting at that point in the cat's life could have killed it. I told DH that I had no problem taking Old Cat, if he really wanted her, but that it was my feeling that it would be unfair to us (we had a dog and a cat already, as well as young babies and a new house to take care of) and Old Cat if we did. DH agreed and she stayed with NMIL until her "supposed" death.
That's another issue entirely: Who even knows if Old Cat's death actually happened? How fucked up is it that we can't even trust NMIL enough to know that she was telling the truth about the death of DH's childhood pet?
Regardless of the truth, it was clear that her phone call was one pitifully desperate call for attention.
NMIL wasn't even grasping at straws, she was grasping at imaginary ones. How ridiculously sad and inappropriate to call her son because Old Cat just passed away. It was merely a ploy, an underhanded scheme. She left it up to DH to decide if he should call back, so that if he didn't, she could bad mouth him some more: "Oh, my son hates me so much, he couldn't even call me back when HIS CAT died!" and "I just wanted him to call so we could reminisce together about all the great times we shared with Old Cat!" and "What a cold-hearted bastard, to not console me over this great and terrible loss!"
It was all me-me-me, for this bitch, and how-can-I-use-this-situation-to-my-advantage? I firmly believe, that not only did she not care that the cat had died, but she didn't care that DH might have been upset by the news. Instead, she was banking on his "weak moment of sadness" to be enough that he would call her back and she could work her old familiar manipulative magic.
DH didn't call her back. We had our moment of silence for Old Cat, since that was all we could do for her anymore, and we moved on.