Sunday, September 5, 2010

the whole shebang

It's been two weeks and I'm not sure if I've calmed down enough to write about this. I know I'll feel better once I've put "pen to paper" and written my thoughts down.

On Monday I asked Mom, again, if we could go look at an apartment.
"No, no, no, no!"

I had been hopeful, two weeks ago when I asked. She told me "not today". When I asked if we could do it next week, she said yes.

I know I'm sugar coating it, it's really an apartment in an assisted living home, I'm taking tiny steps.

The doctor said you can't live alone this winter. (Blame it on the doctor.)
She immediately shut down, "No, no, no, no! I don't want to discuss this. Go home."
Can we talk about this for five minutes?
"No, no, no. Go home." eyes closed, she's holding her head and shaking back and forth.
I try the temporary approach.
Lots of your friends move away for the winter. You spent a few winters in Florida with W__, that was fun.
"No, no, no, I don't want to discuss this. Go home."
There is no opportunity for discussion, there is no reasoning, or convincing her. She has shut me out.
Ok, Mom, I'll see you on Thursday.

On my way home I'm in tears, I cannot drive and cry at the same time. I call my brother and ask him to call Mom in a little while, to check on her and get a feeling for her temperament. Is she alright? I then call the Alzheimer's Association help line and pour out my soul to a very helpful person. That night my brother reports back, that Mom said she had a great day today and seems in good spirits.

Late Wednesday night I get a phone call from one of Mom's aides. Mom had called her crying, stressed, and obsessing.
"Come and get me I want to run away."
"Let me move in with you."
"Don't let her put me in a nursing home up north."
Oh crap. That she could find her aide's home phone number and make a phone call tells me she's been stressing and obsessing about this for a long time.

It's interesting that she never calls me to fight back, to argue, to yell, to cry, she always talks to someone else.

I try to find calm, to find inner strength. I call Mom.
Mom, I'm sorry you're upset. I'm not moving you into a nursing home, I never said that. You are not sick, you can't move into a nursing home unless you're sick. But, you need to move before the winter.
Here I stop talking. She's not listening to me, she has shut me out. She has dug in her heals, deeper than before. She has some argument points, so I know she has been stressing about this since Monday.
"I have three sources of heat, a fireplace, a wood stove, and oil, if I'm cold I have blankets, I have socks and sweaters, I can live alone, I can live by myself, I don't want to leave my home, I want to stay in my house, I want to stay in my house this winter, I'm going to do it my way, let's forget this conversation, I don't want to leave, I am not leaving my house, I have three forms of heat, I can live alone, I want to stay in my house, I am not leaving, let's forget this conversation, I can live alone, let's forget the whole shebang, we're going to do it my way, let's forget this conversation, I can live alone, let's forget the whole shebang, I have a wood stove, I have lots of blankets, I am not leaving my house, let's forget the whole shebang." She yells at me for fifteen minutes.
Ok Mom, I'll see you tomorrow morning. I can't respond to her argument, she won't hear me.

Thursday's visit with Mom was an ordinary day of errands and chores. The elephant was in the room but we were ignoring him. Mom won her argument, we'll forget the whole shebang.

We'll forget the whole shebang until the day comes when I have to bring you to live at the assisted living home and leave you there. Leave you there, screaming at me. Tearing your deeply rooted feet out of your familiar surroundings, from your cats, and the blue house you love so much.

And you will never, never forgive me.

Please forgive me Mom, forgive me for wanting you to be safe, forgive me for having to make these decisions for you.


rainsinger said...

Mom is not the only one who has been obsessing my dear, dear friend. When you were little she made you go to the Dr. even when you didn't want to. It was a good decision. It helped you even though you were really mad. With time, you forgave her. It is so difficult to let go of our parents authority. I know. When we are broken we need the help of others and she is so lucky to have you. She definitely doesn't make it easy. But as another of our friends told me this morning when she shared a table with my own mom and myself, "It isn't you, it is her illness." And it is the illness.
The irony is she will forget the whole she-bang eventually. Even if she reaches peace with the change, she probably won't remember to say so. When we are broken we need the help of others. On her behalf, with my still present mind, I forgive you by proxy. "It isn't you, it is the illness."

Sandy said...

I agree with every single thing Rainsinger said above.

It isn't your Mom, not the Mom you remember. This is an impostor, a disease that is talking to you.

The time is near when you have to "parent" your Parent. It was the hardest thing I ever did. But eventually, you will no longer be able to ask her to do things, but will have to 'Tell her what to do.' She can no longer make good choices on her own.

You're doing good. And no, she won't remember any of the shebang. She will only remember that her daughter did the very best for her.


** Betty** said...

She will forgive - in her own way - in her own time.