Monday, May 09, 2011
I don't have children, so I lived for 22 years doing pretty much what I wanted. Those were the years between 17 and 39. I moved when I wanted to; traveled when the urge struck. I hate living where I am. Always did! I left to go out of state for college when I was 17 (didn't finish then), and moved to various parts of the country for jobs and on whims. I have been to every state in the Union except Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii. I always drifted back here for one reason or another. I have lived here longer now than at any other point of my life. I moved back here 20 years ago because my mother had cancer and my grandmother also needed care. I did meet my husband here 19 years ago so that was a good thing.
What has all this have to do with Mother's Day? I deeply love and cherish my mother. She is 84 and has severe osteo arthritis and spinalstenosis. She can no longer live on her own. We moved in with her two years ago. I didn't want to put her through the stress of moving. then and I don't now. I didn't mind because I got out of the city, but I did cry when I saw the new tenants cut down my precious roses and other perennials. I just simply hate it here! Not because of the house or neighborhood, but this area. It's still cold! We have maybe three - four months of really warm weather. We don't get tornadoes or hurricanes but we get snow and lots of it.
I really want to move down south, to be closer to my brother. I want to get to know my great nephews and nieces. I wonder who will look out for me when I'm 84. I know that I'll be happier in a warmer climate. I'll get more exercise because I'll want to be outdoors and walking or gardening. My brother can pitch in and help with Mom, like checking in on her if I want to take a vacation. The state he's living in wouldn't be in my top 5 either but it is much warmer.
The thought of moving just seems so overwhelming right now. I long for the days I could pack up a few belongings and move on a whim. How did I acquire all this stuff? I would never have gone to an antique mall or flea market had I known then what I know now! That's after donating half of it to move in with Mom two years ago. The cost of moving out of state is prohibitive with all this stuff. It's not like a company is paying me to move. We're also on fixed incomes. DYI is out of the question - my DH has had 3 spinal surgeries.
I don't know if I'm up to packing and moving again, let alone putting my mother through it. Of course, she wouldn't have to do anything; but she has a mild case of OCD and wouldn't let anyone pack for her. I offered to hire a maid once to wash windows and do big jobs because I have fibromyalgia but she said she would have to clean before they came over! She also stresses very easily. She can't sleep when she anticpates something not on her usual schedule is going to occur the next day. Then I know that no matter what house I pick out, she won't like as well as hers.
It would be different if my DH and I could go south for the winter or even one month, but she can't be left alone. She won't travel. I worry about leaving her for one week. If we take our RV anywhere this year it will have to be somewhere within a 4 hour drive. That's why I wish that I had a sibling close by.
So the point of this is, there is a lot of stress in being a caretaker. We can't be selfish and just consider ourselves. It takes a lot of patience. It's hard to stick to an eating plan when you have to cook different things for other members of the household. I have always been an emotional eater. I gained all my weight since I have moved back here. 10 lbs. a year for the last 20 years! Can I reverse that process while living under the same stress?
I may have sounded like I was complaining but I wasn't - I am venting. There's a difference I think. I want my mother to live another 20 years. She has always been my best friend and staunchest supporter. She is the sweetest, kindest woman I have ever met. I never heard her say anything bad about anyone. She never gossiped, cussed, or raised her voice. Without her love through the years, as well as being a role model, I wouldn't have turned out to be a compassionate, caring person. I wouldn't give up my role. I would do anything for her. I wouldn't move her to assisted living unless she physically needed help with basic bodily functions.
I think we as caretakers just need an outlet to vent. For me, It's much easier venting to anonymous people on a blog . So I'm grateful for this site. I'm trying to get more in touch with my emotions so that I don't eat mindlessly. For some reason Mother's Day just triggered those emotions.