Hi everyone.. Hope you're all doing well and are ticking along .. keep smiling!! It really does work to elevate low moods!
I just thought I would share what is going on in my life right now with regards my mother's care and my role in that. I know that some of you have already walked this path which I am now on and some are just embracing the challenge. I hope it will help some of you not feel so alone if you are going through similar challenges with your parents or whomever you are caring for.
My mother is blind .. was registered some 10 years ago and was reg partially sighted for a few years before that. She has advanced glaucoma and as anyone who has this in their immediate family, you know how important it is to have annual check ups to ensure you are not carrying the same risk of developing it and so that if you are, it can be treated quickly and to minimse damage.. my mother's was picked up too late.. by the time she was diagnosed with it she was already nearly blind in one eye... this was down to medical negligence but also some reluctance on my mother's part to pursue something that she knew was not right and became complacent about her vision or rather her loss of it. Now she regrets that as she is feeling angry with herself for not being pushy with her doctor and not asking for a second opinion etc .. water under the bridge now but it is still affecting her emotionally I know.
She has lived with me for over 6 years and for many years before that I have been in a caring role for my mother even when she was living independently of me.
My mother is now suffering and I say suffering with a capital S from short term memory loss.. each day I feel over the past 8 years or more I am losing the Mum I know and love bit by bit ..I feel I am watching her life unravel slowly in front of my eyes .. she is still at the stage where she knows she is confused ..she remembers something when you remind her and she says.. "oh yes of course.. I remember now " she mixes up memories and stories become embellished with facts from other places/years etc...
I wish now though that I had taken time to listen when she used to tell me all the family stories when I was younger, but like the youth of today or years gone by, I am no different.. I never had time to listen to them all.. not to my Grandparents stories either .. the lesson there is to listen and take note because one day these messages will cease to come.. now there are fragments of my life that I want to know about and want to talk about as I am getting older and now my mum can't remember them with any real clarity. My advice when your parents start telling you all these tales of their youth is to record it .. take out a dictaphone or write it down. I have no siblings and my Dad passed away 19½ years ago when I was 39.. I have no one to share the memories of my childhood with now.. occasionally I can when my mother is lucid and we do talk of the old days .. of holidays at the seaside and our emigration to the US in the 60's and all the wonderful experiences we had and the fabulous friends we both made and we smile at some and weep at others ....
I just can't stress enough to those of you whose parents are still compus mentus .. who have not been taken by Alzheimers or dementia to rememver with your loved ones those special times you did things together as a family and to record them in some way.
My role with my Mum has changed.. I am still often the naugthy child in her eyes and she scolds me for things like being a little irritable with her sometimes .. (understandable totally given that I am single and with her 24/7 for the most part.. my son does help out a lot though now to give me respite.and that is a godsend.. a prayer answered.) so I am not beating myself up in any of this because the past cannot be changed however much we would like to sometimes.. you can only move forward and learn from the mistakes made along the way.
Sometimes though the role changes to where I am the parent and my mother is the child and such a drama unfolded the other day over something really trivial .. (to me anyway but to her was of utmost importance) ..I realised and stopped myself from what I was about to do .. and took on board the sweat about the big stuff not the small stuff.. I looked at her there sitting in her chair clutching a few scraps of wool which she informed me she was going to stuff a cushion with .. I had said not to be silly that it was rubbish and should go in the bin.. she got upset and held the wool tightly and said to me that I never let her do anything.. I backed off and said "okay Mam make a cushion.. that is a good idea.. " and I realised then at that moment the roles had reversed.. I felt as though I was talking to my 4 year old granddaughter .. how the power of reasoning has not fully developed .. it made me feel sad in acceptance of that .. however, it also made me feel more accepting of the changes that have to be faced head on as her mental health deteriorates and that I can only be what I am .. I can only do what I do and I can give no more than I give.... but that with all that I must give it with love for all she has been to me and all that she is going through... one day she won't be here and I feel that pain already in my heart as she is slipping away in bits from me as each day passes .. its so different than how I had to deal with it when my dad suddenly died from a heart attack.. fine one day and gone the next.. the grief of caring for someone who you are losing over a long period means that the grief is not reaching a closure.. it is being held in limbo .. and all the while you are building yourself up to be prepared for going in one morning and finding her gone in her sleep.. it could be months.. years .. or days..... no one knows for sure but its inevitable as we all know and that in itself is true for all of us. I have told my children that I am apologising now in advance in case I should say something hurtful to them as my mother does to me sometimes... and that I love them both with all my heart and I hope it does not come to this with me .. My mother never says she loves me and has not done for many years prob not since my childhood.. yet she showers my children with love and affection and adores my granddaughter .. I accept though and acknowledge that for whatever reason may be she just can't be like that with me but it does not mean that she does not feel it.. maybe the carer in me which I have had to be for so many years has placed a wedge in some way between us.. who knows.. I can't waste energy on thinking about that.. I need it all to do what needs doing here on a daily basis.
Would I make the same decision again if I had my time over, knowing what I know now...............yes of course I would! She is my mum! She gave me life.
Enough......... on with the day.. lunch time soon and I have not given a thought to that .. no doubt she will not want anything with cheese in it as she told my son the other day...... I am fed up of cheese, she always gives me cheese! She told me yesterday after she had had baked beans on toast that she will be looking like cheese soon! lol!! She had only had cheese toasties and cheese on crackers in that week.. but to her it may as well have been every day for all that she could remember! Bless her heart........
Edited by: SUNSHINEC54 at: 9/25/2012 (08:19)
What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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