Mom just fixed her breakfast. She has been fixing her own breakfast for about a week now. She brought her laundry out to the mud room yesterday — rolled it on her walker. I was already in that room, so I loaded the washer for her and later transferred it over to the dryer. Once it was done, I took it to Mom, and she folded it. This is good progress. For months, she has not had the health or energy to do any of these things. We ran a few errands earlier this week, and Mom seemed to enjoy that day. She got in and out of the car several times and did fine. She bought some new clothes at a local shop — much needed items as her own clothing hangs on her now 60-pounds-less frail body.
All that progress, but still, I sit here looking up Movers and Self-storage Units. She wants to go back to her apartment. She loves that apartment. It is sad. Heartbreaking. Melancholy: a gloomy state of mind. Sigh
Even since our “family meeting” on Sunday, where we talked very frankly to Mom about her physical and mental health and explained why she cannot go back to her apartment, she tells everyone she is going home next week. And seriously, I do not believe she is being stubborn; I think she does not remember most of that Sunday conversation, and in her mind, she intends to go home.
And that is why she cannot.
She is still too confused to live alone.
Her physical body is healing and gaining strength. Her clarity has improved dramatically over the last 3 weeks, but her mental state seems to have stabilized about a week ago. She is almost “there” but not quite. We cannot, in good conscience, allow her to go back to an apartment building to live alone. Would she forget to turn off the stove? She never has. But what if?
My Mom is in a hard place. She has had so much taken away from her in a short period of time. Even though she just celebrated her 84th birthday, and by anyone’s standards, that is an old age, she was on the golf course 9 months ago. She took a road trip with a friend out West just a couple of years ago. This is not the average 84 year old woman.
I have been a little uptight and anxious the last few weeks. I have been too quick to complain and see the negative. Her half well/half sick state challenges me on many levels. Shame on me. I can do this better. I will never have another chance to do this. I want to do it right.
This is my Mom’s story. It’s not about me, but yet, do I have some control on how we all walk down this road? My attitude and mental state affect not only me, but they affect my Mom and my children and grandchildren. It IS my story in that sense. How do I want to do this? Who do I want to be in this? When I look back…
Lord, I need discernment, wisdom, kindness and strength. Help me to do this better. I want no regrets. Help me to do this right.
3 thoughts on “Its Not About Me And Yet…”
I shared my dismay at mom’s diagnosis with an older friend. She reassured me and said, Enjoy her, enjoy her now.
So that’s my advice to you: enjoy having your mom now. Don’t worry about ‘right’, you’re doing just fine. 🙂
We get only one chance to do it right.. Such a difficult position to be in. And wanting to avoid guilty feelings is normal. Would it make sense to–as a family–make the decision for you (possibly trading off with a sibling) to stay with your mom at her apartment for 3-4 days and see how she does? Major problems will be evident and you’ll feel justified in the decision you make. Another option: consult a geriatric social worker. They have undoubtedly helped many with this kind of dilemma. They may do–or refer to someone who does–geriatric evaluations and can also provide information about getting help. Caregivers are costly, but good ones can help the elderly stay in their homes until the end. If none of this works, you’ve tried your best and “angels can do no more” (quote–my husband’s grandmother).
“Her half well/half sick state challenges me on many levels.”
Yes, this. It’s the “in between” stage that gets to me the most – if she were one way or t’other, I could deal with it better I’m sure, but this state of permanent limbo just grinds…
I wrote this poem about it – you might like to read!
In a way it IS about you – you are the one supporting her, and if you falter so will she, so it is important to look after yourself and put yourself first (advice I never seem to follow myself!). And this is your story too…