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Today was a day of acceptance once again. Acceptance that my mom is different now, and that there are changes taking place that are very sad. She is experiencing more confusion these days. I can’t always pinpoint exactly what is going on, but I just observe and sense it. When I arrived at her house today, she was more dazed than the last time I was with her. She didn’t really feel good, and yet we both thought it would do her good (especially her arthritis) to walk a little, and get out. She has so many things-insulin dependent diabetes, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, some confusion that she is aware of, and some that I don’t think she is, and many, many other things-a good deal of them a direct result of the diabetes.

But today we had planned to go to a large nearby craft store. She always does better with a buggy (it’s like a giant walker), and so we started walking around, and going through the different aisles. I was in front most of the time, and the first thing that I noticed was that she would be pushing her buggy, stop to look at something, and then close her eyes and drift off. I would gently say something to her, and she would wake up, and look a little embarrassed, and it kept happening. I asked if she slept alright the night before, and she said she did. Since she does have diabetes, and sometimes drifts off like that when she is going low, I had her eat the sugar mints that we always carry with us, that seem to work best to raise her blood sugar. Anyway, I stopped at Subway, and got us some sandwiches to take home. I had planned to eat, and then take down her little Christmas tree, and the wreath on the door.

We ate our sandwiches, and she promptly fell asleep in her chair. I was trying to watch a crime show, and right at the end, I fell asleep. But I only slept long enough to miss the ending.  🙂 So then I covered my mom with her little warming blanket, and went to take down the decorations. As I went out to my car, I saw the elderly next door neighbor’s Christmas tree, through her kitchen window. She lost her husband also, not long after my my mom lost hers. This lady is 85, but she still drives, and is much healthier than my mom (who’s about to be 78 in March.) But as I saw the little tree through the window, I reflected on how these ladies, not that long ago, were living normal lives with their husbands, and now both of them are widows. It made me very sad. It just didn’t seem right.

When I was finished with all my projects, my mom heard me stirring around in the room near her chair, and she woke up. Then she asked me how the weather was this morning. I had to tell her that it was 8:00 at night, and the weather was very nice. We talked a little more, and it was time for me to go.

She started today on another medication for the confusion, and I don’t know if she can tolerate it, but we’ll see. The first one, Aricept, had horrible side effects, and she had to come off of it. But she knows that she is experiencing confusion, and wants to do something to help it.

If you have not experienced the slow loss of all that a parent once was, let me tell you, it is very heart-wrenching. You want so badly to stop the deterioration, but you know that you can’t. You want to turn back the clock, and make them young and energetic again. You want them to feel better. But you just feel so helpless, because there is absolutely nothing you can do to make things better. You want to cry, but instead you try to be strong, and hope that tomorrow will be different. And a part of you starts to prepare for the inevitable. You do it to protect yourself from being blindsided by another loss. Once you have lost one parent, (and I have lost two so far-a dad (divorced my mom when I was 2), and a step-dad (my dad from the age of 7), you know what it feels like to have the shock of not being prepared for them to leave. And you keep thinking, this time, I won’t let my heart be taken by surprise. Somehow, I’ll start to grieve ahead of time, and maybe the loss won’t be so devastating-(but you know it will anyway. You really can’t prepare for the death of a loved one.) I realize that I am not ready for her to go. I miss my stepdad so much, and losing him nearly killed me.  I have taken very close care of my mom for 2 1/2 years, and she is now more like my child, than my mother. Yes, I am exhausted at times, but it is what I do. I’m very invested in her, and I don’t like losing parts of her slowly, and having to watch. I hate learning to let go of her, little by little. I want to make this okay, but I can’t, and I’m fearful of what may happen.

So I try to talk myself into taking it one day at a time, and not worrying so much. (That’s all any of us can do, if we’re doing our best to be good caregivers.) Some days I do that really well, and other days I feel much more emotional.

 And those days, I want to scream, “Why do people have to die? Why do they have to get sick? Why do they have to get old? Why do they have to be in pain? Why, why, why? I don’t want to let go…

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