Skip navigation

I am so very tired. I even gave my mom my bed, because the new mattress set that we bought for her (which felt great in the store) was too tall. She is short, as I am, and apparently they are making mattresses much fatter these days. So I traded my old set, for the new one. I have to give myself a bit of a boost to climb into it. And if I jump off the bed at night-to go to the bathroom, it takes a minute for my feet to actually hit the floor. (All of that I can learn to live with.) But it turns out that the mattress is also quite hard. I like a firm mattress, but this one you could bounce a basketball off of. (Grin.) It felt fine when we tried it out in the store. (I guess you can’t really know a bed until you sleep on it. LOL!)

So now, in addition to losing my mom, I also lost my bed. My bed was a place of comfort, where I could find rest from all the assaults of life. If nothing else was going right, I could snuggle into its embrace, pull up the covers, and retreat from the world. (Now I wake up every hour or so, tossing and turning–partly from the events of the past week, and partly because the bed is making my body ache all over.) But I keep thinking–a couple of weeks, and I’ll be used to it. I sure hope so. (My husband sleeps on a waterbed in another room, due to some back problems, so he isn’t having to adjust to this one.) No problems-we just prefer to sleep separate for sleep’s sake. That’s all. We have very different sleep schedules.

Not too much news, except for the fact that there is a very good possibility that my brother will be taking my mom out of the assisted living. How disappointing! She has not even been there a week, and despite our recent estrangement, I felt hopeful that she would be safe there (as safe as she could be anywhere now, given her risks of falling, going low (blood sugar), and other health problems.) I guess in my wildest dreams, I never thought he would remove her. We worked so hard to get her there, through blood, sweat and tears. The best thing about her being at the assisted living, was the socialization. For so long, she has had absolutely no friends, other than an elderly neighbor lady, she chats with over the fence. When she retired, most of her friends were business aquaintances, so they disappeared, and she became somewhat of a hermit. When my stepdad was alive, in the last few years, they didn’t go places all that much, as she slept a lot.  He told me that she would sleep 24 hours, if he would let her. (She denied this.) Of course, he took her to all the doctor appointments, and shopping now and then. He played golf frequently-something he loved. (Earlier in their lives, they got to go on several trips that he won through the Cadillac dealership, where he worked for many years.)

After he died, I was her only real social contact (other than my brother), and I always felt the pressure of getting her out, taking her shopping, watching tv with her, and in general, providing companionship. (She no longer drives.) I was very glad to do it, but sometimes I thought how nice it would have been, if she had some friends also. (It is difficult to try and be everything to someone.) Since she was in the nursing home, and now for her short time at the assisted living, she has made a few friends, and that is nice. I know that if he takes her back to her house, she will just sit and stare out of her kitchen window, fall asleep in her recliner, or retreat to her bedroom each day. I cannot help but think that he is NOT thinking about her well-being. She is supposed to have 24 hour care if she goes home-someone with her at all times (which she said she would hate), while he is at work. I have no idea who he will get to do this, or at what price. But these things are out of my control now. ( Sometimes just realizing that is freeing.) He said that she wants her Power Of Attorney back, and that is fine with me. (We needed it to file for Medicaid last month, and have only had it less than a month anyway.) But my husband says that if she takes it back, he is not willing to go forward with his plans for taking a mortgage on her house, or providing any more finances. I understand (and agree with) that completely. I think we should get out of any financial entanglement with her. I guess my brother will combine her Social Security and retirement checks, with his income, and be able to pay for caregivers. We’ll see. She can no longer safely give herself her medications or insulin, because of the dementia. I hope he believes that, and acts accordingly. Again, it’s out of my control.

It’s funny-I feel like a racer at the starting line, waiting for the gun to go off. My body has been poised for race after race (and marathon after marathon) for so long, that it cannot relax anymore. That will require practice. For several nights, I have purposefully turned off my cell phone, and left it upstairs-away from my room. I had my number changed, but I’m still slightly afraid of answering my phone. It makes you wonder how one elderly woman can terrorize me so much. She can’t anymore, but I don’t believe it yet. For so long, I have been there for her, providing physical assistance, loving care, and emotional support. It was difficult at times to know where she left off, and I began. I felt responsible for her moods, her happiness, her health, and her life. But that was not healthy, and I needed a life of my own as well. (Something I was never going to get, if I remained in that relationship.) I was never able to maintain boundaries with her. She never showed any grace towards me, or encouraged me to take much time for myself. It was always all about her…as it has been all my life.

And so here I am. Learning a new way to live. (Fearing that I didn’t get out soon enough, and that my health may be permanently damaged.) I worry about the chest pains, my high blood pressure, my high blood sugar-so many other health concerns. But I pray that I am okay. Emotionally, I am battered and damaged. But I am NOT completely destroyed. I will never be, as long as I have the Lord in my life. He is the only One who has been there with me, through it all. He knows my heart. Only He can comfort me.

So I’m trying to breathe again, trying to smile again, trying to realize that every day of life is a gift. I must not waste anymore time. I must live, before I die. I will try to find things that bring me joy. For so long, I have lived for everyone else’s pleasure. Now, I must find my own happiness. I’m learning to live…

(Please forgive the one bad word in this song…it just fit so perfectly otherwise.)

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Lonette, I don’t want to be rude, but the fact that your brother may take your mother out of assisted living is undeniably humorous. It is by far the best news ever for you. Now he will learn what it is like to deal with her. Makes no difference that they are close. That doesn’t get very far.

    The second reaction is a big smile reaction when I think of you getting in and out of bed. You need to buy a little decorative stool so your feet hit something and you are safer.

    Take care of yourself now lonette–this is your time. Frank

  2. Letting go…it involves so much…but perhaps the best thing IS to let go of everything…let go of the feeling of responsibility for her, the power of attorney, the financial burden…

    Your brother is definately not doing what is in your mother’s best interests, certainly not. Caring for someone that needs 24 hour care is very, very difficult. Even the most committed become burned out and individuals with dementia need to have socialization and stimulation. Sitting in a home every day, alone, with silent walls – not good for someone whose mind is failing them. However, it is not your choice and it apparently isn’t in your control. Thus, let go and feel free from it. Certainly, in a kind, loving and supportive way, voice your concerns to your brother. But, then step back and allow him and her to make their decisions. With every choice comes a consequence. However, if it is out of your control and you are taking care of yourself, you are not responsible for the outcome.

    As for the bed my dear, I would never give up my bed! And certainly not for someone who didn’t appreciate “me” let alone a new bed! LOL. But, what is done is done. Perhaps you should take some of those finances you will be saving on the assisted living and have your husband buy you a pillow top mattress or better yet, a sleep number bed!! Ah, luxury…remember, it is about taking care of yourself.

    Yes, each and every day is a precious gift. Don’t waste any more time. Do what you need to do for your spirit…

    Hugs~


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: