08 March 2010

First They Are Sour...

I really do not want to seem too needy regarding this care-giving-for-my-mother job. But I am needy and this is my journal and I will cry if I want to. I have been realizing some very definite stages occurring and it isn't all bad. {Images from Scottsdale, 2003}

Mother was discharged from the hospital on December 24, 2009 and my husband and I brought her here. I really had no time to prepare for her to stay. I didn't realize she would even survive her hospitaliztion. We did, however, anticipate that one of our mothers may need to live with us when we built this house 3 years ago. We have a guest bedroom with widened doorways. The bathroom walls are reinforced for the possible addition of grab bars and such. I am a Physican Associate and worked in a rehabilitation facility for 10 years, so I did see assistive equipment as a possiblity. In fact, working in rehab I saw all kinds of family situations that were inspiring and horrifying. Both of those words describe my own family situation.

So we are on the highway in a blizzard with my very frail 83 year old mother. No one knows what tomorrow holds but that was a moment bloated with the unknown. This whole thing has been a confrontation with the unknown. Oh and Miss Planner has issues with the unknown. I mean I have a plan for everything, even prision.

Seriously. I have a plan for prison. Another post...

I wanted to bring mother home and care for her. I was happy to do it and I still am. But while doing so I was and am overwhelmed with emotions. My first real phase was resistance and resentment. I meet most challenges with resistance and usually resentment. I am a planner (see above) and not at all spontaneous. These are character flaws and trust me I actively work on them. But that doesn't make them just go away. Like arm flab. You do all you can but there it is.

I resisted the full time care-giving because it interupted my life. I have a child living with me still. Said child had just turned 16 and all that implies. It was already a whole thing dealing with that.  Also, I was going to start teaching again, a class I had not taught for 5 years so I had to completely start my prep from scratch. I mean no Power Point used last time. Its a lot.

Also, it is lots of work to care give. And I hadn't slept much in the emotionally and physcially exhausting week of mother's hospitalization. So resistance...

Also resentment. A pity party by put-upon poor Robin. I mean why did mother not move out of her house and into assisted living already? I had been discussing it with her for a longtime. Her house was sitting over there. I know she would not return to it. I knew it would be my job to empty it and also take care of her and my family and my job. What about me? Who would help me? My husband is phenomenol and wants to help me, no, not even help me, but shoulder this with me. He thinks of mother as OUR mother and WE take care of OUR mother. The thing is, I do have a sibiling who lives nearby. We don't see her much. I cannot count on her. In fact she brings far more drama than help. And I resent it.

Some abandonment issues stirred. Deep, dark and yucky. But that really is all fine. I need to process these feelings. And that never happens when you feel good and have time, right? You are confronted with the demons when it is dark.

After a pricky month, mother stabilized and so did I. Mostly. She is very ill but not getting rapidly worse and she is ambulatory which is HUGE.

Fortunately I found myself starting to emerge. Acceptance was nigh. How much more pleasant for everyone I live with.

That lasted a couple of weeks. Then I got sick. What a big set back. When your reserve is low it takes so long to bounce back. Then my cousin, mother's nephew, died. That was very emotional. Also there was drama surrounding my sibling, still, again, of course. Energy sucking again. Two steps forward and one step back.

Now, oh wonderful now, I am a bit beyond acceptance and in some sort of loving place. I look at mother and think she is so darling. She is so cute to me. Not pathetic. Not sad to me. I just feel very loving toward her. Sitting next to her and watching a tv show is so simple. I see how lovely it is.

I am seeing the beauty in the ugly right now. March is here. The weather is warming. Tender shoots are emerging. And so am I. I am depressed but that shell is cracking. Fresh air is blowing in. Oh thank you, God, for it. I need the strength love brings and that depression takes. I need that strength to deal with the next phase.

Thank you for reading this. I really am receiving so much love. There is still more gnashing of teeth than pink fluffy clouds. But they do float by...


  1. Dearest Robin....what you are feeling is so normal.. all of it. I am sure you know this but it is such uncharted territory.
    I too had the extended Family drama during the time I took care of a loved one. It is just one more burden that the selfish love to add to the mix.
    I hope you regain your energy from being sick. We all need the sunshine and hope of new life and growth that it will bring.
    Hope to meet you and Jem at Paper Crown this Spring!

  2. Keep your chin up Robin......you will make it out of this dark hole!

  3. I am glad to read and hear your journey, it will help me accept that this may come my way one day, because, truthfully, it is not something that I have ever wanted to embrace. Beautiful post, cannot wait to hear about the plan for prison. We are both planners and I love discussing our hypothetical situations that most people would find obnoxious. Oh well.

  4. Oh, Miss Robin. I know so much about how you're feeling right now, especially the resentment and resistance. I'm no stranger to sibling drama either.

    I'm glad that you see the occasional pink cloud. I'm thinking of you.

  5. I am glad you are finding your way to the light and a routine somewhat. I think in this situation I would be the same way. What an example you are to all of us on accepting what we did not plan to do. I love you for your honesty. BTW I am obsessed with prisons and if I ever get thrown in I hope we are cell mates since you have a plan already!!!!

  6. Babe, What a beautiful post! I love how you have time to say goodbye to your mom in her latter years. Your dad didn't allow time for that and I think that adds to the sorrow. Penny is good at knowing how you feel here and will be a huge help.

    All of your bitching to my mother has paid off big time as she is cleaning out and throwing away more than the Salvation Army could ever dream of. She even found some of my baby clothes and my Barbies! So all is not nigh and that alone has helped me HUGE!! Thank you for your persistent nagging of her!! And a big thank you from Todd too! I was thinking about having mom deliver all of it to Pam's house just for giggles! Know that you are loved by people who matter in this world and that you are a driving force for the rest of us! Keep plodding along and I want to know those prison plans. Please get your teeth all crowned before you go in though as you know what Clara's been thru!

  7. I think Sharron is right... all of these feelings are normal, so keep hanging in there. Eventually, all will be right again... and more pink fluffy clouds to see.

  8. You totally have my love girl...all of it. My wishes, my prayers, my thoughts, everything! This is the changing of the season...and all it brings.
    I love this post Robin...I have been there and when I tell you that this too shall pass, you have to believe me.
    ...one pink fluffy cloud at a time~

  9. Your writing has the ability to make me laugh and cry in the same post!! Keep holding on to the beautiful, and enjoy your time with your mommy before it comes to an end. My mom died 2 1/2 years ago, and I am so grateful for the time I had with her.

  10. You are, quite simply, inspiring on so many levels. Love this post and all it represents and of course, love you.

    Now, please do tell us about your contingency plan for prison. I'm thinking there might be yarn involved.

  11. I was just telling a friend the other day that I hate this age sometimes...you see friends get divorced, parents die, friends get cancer....we are not prepared for this. One day it just starts changing and we try to be our best in the middle of the change and pain. I can't imagine how hard it is to take care of your parent...and how grateful you will be someday that you were blessed to do it.

  12. Oh Robin the grief process is such a long, hard road...long...hard...but at the end, so worth the trouble. I just wish it didn't take so long to get through it all. My prayers are with you friend.

  13. Robin I am so glad that you use this blog as a venue to express the real life situations you face, no matter how difficult they may be. Would it sound sick for me to say that I enjoy reading about your trials? Not because I'm glad you're facing them, but because it's life and I feel like I learn a lot from it. I love the way you laid out your troubles with beautiful scenery, it made for an interesting read. We're here for you.

  14. Thinking of you! I have seen it many times...the dependable sibling usually gets the brunt of the burden. And more often than not, none of the recognition for doing so.
    I'm glad you're at a peaceful place. I know that this moment in time will be changing for you, but you can never see it until you're through it.

    Photos of Scottsdale are so peaceful and lovely. I love Scottsdale myself. And not just because they have two anthropologies ;)

  15. I admire you a lot for being able to express your feelings good and bad the way you have. I had a similar situation with my mother and I still find it impossible to record all these
    rollercoaster feelings.Sadly I lost my mother 12 months ago but I am thankful for the time we got to spend together towards the end of her life.I will take away the fact that it is okay to express the more difficult times in our lives. I wish you and your family well.

  16. This is such a beautiful post. How have I missed you on the internet? I am sad I missed you at Silver Bella (among all 200 or so!). You write from your heart and I am deeply touched by what you say, owning both the positive and negative.

    I am glad you have the chance to feel that loving for and from her and to experience her as darling. It will be something you will always keep alive in your heart.

    Thanks for sharing this. BTW, I love PA's. I know part of it is how it is organized but they are also so much more accessible to me than doctors and they seem to spend so much more time. This coming from husband, father, grandfather and father-in-law doctors! Hope they never read this! I am also in "rehab" for fibro, RSD and chronic fatigue and slowly but surely getting better. You might have seen my in "Chairiette" (my wheelchair) at Silver Bella:-)

    Thanks so much!

  17. I commend you for your honesty! I understand every emotion that you shared, and I respect them. Thank you for sharing! ....and on a far less serious note, could you please share your plan for Prison?? I really would like to hear it and I am all about a good plan!


You have no idea how much this comment means. I really thank you for taking time to connect with me. This is why we are here, isn't it?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...