I’ve Been Pondering


About my Mom in law.  It has been a really difficult adjustment, especially for me, apparently, since I do most of the caretaking.  I have to concentrate on not feeling any resentment.  I figure now is the time to get close to her, learn about her life, but she won’t say much more than they “didn’t have much” and for a time lived on the road with all the Oakies.  When I ask her for details she says she doesn’t remember.  Why don’t I believe her?

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I don’t know how to elicit any sort of conversation.  Everything is OK, or Fine.  Anywhere I want to eat is fine.  Whichever movie, I don’t care.  She seems to have a terribly limited vocabulary and sometimes I think she’s just plain ignorant.

I wonder why the things she does are annoying to me.  And not just to me, the whole family agrees that she has some weird habits.  Yet which of us do not?  There are things my husband does that annoy me no end (that’s another blog).  I’m sure I annoy people as well.  So why is it so easy to judge Mom as having a limited vocabulary, sneaky habits, and limited intelligence?  Is it really to put ourselves above someone else?

I think I’m just being observational and distant.  Some people may think I am cold.  I often think so myself.  I guess I want Mom to share with me so I feel some sort of bond.  A bond she’s keeping away.  I feel bad for her, having lost two husbands, ailing son and dying daughter.  I wonder what keeps her going.  If she had a problem today that could be fixed with invasive surgery tomorrow, she’d do it.

I tease my husband that since she has an implanted defibrillator, she’ll never die.  It’ll just keep zapping her heart back into rhythm.   Of course I don’t mean it.  Would never wish her ill, but the thought of her death does eat at me.  Which of us will find her dead one morning?  If she goes into a major heart attack, should we call 911?  I know she would want us to, but I wouldn’t want her to spend her last moments in a hospital bed with all sorts of tubes and such.  But knowing she would want every measure taken, I suppose the decision has already been made.

I do what I can to spend time with her, as difficult (and let’s just say it–boring) to be around her for long.  Then I give myself a mental smack to the forehead for being such a twit.  I would like my last years to be quiet and worry free, it’s the least I can do for someone her.  So I endure long silent car rides, and interminable lunches, and disaster updates on the hour, and promise myself I will not develop any (more) goofy habits, and always be interesting, or at least interested.

4 thoughts on “I’ve Been Pondering

  1. It’s really difficult dealing with the elderly…I remember that in spite of the fact my mother was the most significant person in my life, it was so hard when she had the brain surgery and became a different person afterwards and increasingly so in the several years until she passed… Where before, the grandchildren could do no wrong …all of a sudden she picked at them….and her cognitive skills deteriorated more each year….It takes a lot of emotional strength to cope and so I understand why it is so hard for you….

    You do need to have some breaks….like your time maybe by the ocean…by yourself and whatever other time you can steal away…in order to help cope… Taking care of the elderly and also the young is called the sandwich generation…you’re in the middle… Just take time for yourself…Diane

    1. I try to spend time on my own, gardening, working on my blog, reading blogs. I still feel pretty empty and am working on filling in the gaps.

      I appreciate your support. My family is starting to call me anti social. It’s nice to know other people have made it through tough things like this, and that what I’m feeling is apparently normal, if difficult. All I can do is the best that I can and hope it’s good enough. I just want Mom to be comfortable here, but I want to be comfortable as well. It’s a tough balance. At least this weekend we are without GS, he’s with his mom. For some reason it’s always easier when either GS or Mom is gone.

      I’m working on trying not to feel guilty on top of everything else.

  2. Respite is crucial to recharge your batteries – dealing wiht aged parents is difficult and wearing but you should not feel guilty at not feeling virtuous all the time – we are human and run thru all kinds of emotions even on good days!

    1. Thank you for saying so. I try to do what I can and yet give myself some time, but you are right, it is very difficult living with aged people. It’s been a surprisingly difficult transition–for me anyway. I am trying to include Mom more in day to day interactions, but she doesn’t give much with her passive attitude. I hope she feels we are treating her well, if not like a queen.

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