My Mom is going nuts.
She is becoming her mother.
She thinks she is dying. Is living under the assumption that she is dying soon. Everything she does, all of her pain and suffering, seems to be done for attention. Just like her mother did. Even dying was an attempt for attention for my grandmother.
Pay attention to me. I am in pain. I am dying.
The guilt trips are summoned with the desperation of someone who is alone.
No one ever calls. Your kids don’t respond to my emails. I never get to see you.
My father is there. He is trying to understand. He is scared. He is tired of trips to the ER in the middle of the night. He is tired of the endless amounts of tests that all show she is perfectly healthy.
Son, is it possible this is all in her mind?
I don’t know, Dad. He asks me not only because I am his oldest son, but because I am the one who has the experience with knee and foot surgeries, having gone through the recoveries for both procedures and more than once. I am old enough to have been mature enough to understand what my grandmother did to her daughter the last few years my grandmother was alive, was the boy who visited her and took care of her house and car, listened to her lament for my dead grandfather, how she wished she was with him.
I want to die.
My mother is saying that. Dad says that he hears it several times a day. As I listened to my Dad tell me about that last night the resignation in his voice told me a lot. Dad is used to the strong woman he has known for more than fifty years, the type of woman who never gives up, that fights like a bull dog, who stood up for her husband and her boys with the devotion that only a wife and mother can have. I am used to that also. I also heard my mother say many times that she will never become like her mother. Her mother gave up. Her mother wanted to die. Her focus turned inward and she could think of nothing else.
Son, she is your grandmother. Your mother has become what she said she would never become.
I couldn’t disagree with that. Two weeks ago, Mom sent an email to me, my brothers, our wives, our children. It was wishes from a death bed, instructions to never forget God, always respect your parents, an admonition that she will be gone soon.
I am going to visit my parents this weekend, a relatively short two and a half hour drive south from Chicagoland. Mom has already shown her approval by sending out an email to my brothers and I — “STEVE is coming to visit this weekend”. Funny thing is that one brother lives 45 minutes away, comes to see her frequently and my parents visit him frequently. My other brother, a successful executive for the Sears company up here in Chicago, comes down to visit a whole lot more than I do. Dad is planning the meals, looking forward to the time we are going to spend together. I am not bringing Miriam or the kids. It’s just going to be me. I think Dad needs the time to visit with me without the distraction of my family, needs to get away from the stress of caring from my Mom. I am looking forward to spending a little time with friends, need the time away myself. With all that is going on in my life, I am going a bit nuts myself.
Steve- I feel your pain as my mother is going through the same process right now and is driving my dad nuts with all of the trips to doctor’s offices, etc. She recently had her gall bladder removed but other than that, doctors have completed most medical tests possible on her and say she is fine and yet she persists in thinking she is dying. I think part of it is basic humanity in the fact most of us live our lives everyday thinking that death is far off and won’t come until much later. But the days and years go by very fast and “the end” comes at a drastic pace as we get older and before long, you are regretting how you lived your life and pining for the “wasted time”. I feel for you and your family and know that others are going through the same process at the same time. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for what is a very comforting reply, Ryan. It really helps knowing that what my parents are experiencing is something that others are going through. Since I know your dad is still that go getter and full of vitality, like he was some 40 years ago when he was my coach and teacher, I know how difficult it is for him to deal with the situation. I watched my father in law deal with the same thing with his wife, the almost sinful relief he experienced when she passed and he was once again able to get out to travel and do the things that keep him alive.
I recognize a lot in your blog. My grandma was like that too. She even went to bed one day and didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to eat or drink … she just gave up. Only she snapped out of it when my dad, her only child, visited her in hospital one day and quite sternly told her to prepare to soon meet God and explain to him why she gave up. He told her he doubted she had a valid reason. It was quite harsh but grandma was so shocked by the thought she immediately started to eat again. And lived another healthy fifteen years.
I’m not saying it will help with your mom but who knows …
Coincidentally (or maybe not so), my dad told me last night that he hopes I will talk honestly with my mom. I am the oldest, the one she listens to.
Let’s hope and pray she will listen!
I hope this weekend is healing for you and your Father and that between the two of you, you can help your Mother remember to live as much as she can for as long as she can instead of shutting down and just waiting.
It was an interesting weekend. Not sure what else to say. Let’s just say I have more to think on.
your life seems complex at the moment!!!!
It is and it isn’t. What is frustrating as my “stuff” doesn’t seem that complicated and frankly not insurmountable. I just hate wading through it.
yep!!!! I hear you!!