We just had our Thanksgiving this past weekend. So I suppose I should be in a more grateful state of mind, but I was quite moody. We went to the island to spend a couple days with the in-laws. I was a bit sad, I admit, I had my mum on my mind quite a bit. As a matter of fact, the second I went to the store to get some flowers for my mother in law, my phone rings and it’s the home and for the umpteenth time they’ve found her on the floor of her room, agitated because she’s soiled herself. (They call me every single time there’s an “incident”.) These days, the phone calls are a regular occurrence. I dread seeing the number on my cell phone. Is she dead, is he injured, is she in the emergency room?
I’m stating the obvious, but when you have a kid, it really highlights the importance of family. You know, having a grandma and grandpa to spoil your kid with lots of attention. My husband has always had a real tight relationship with his parents and we spend as much time with them as possible. Not that his family tree is perfect or anything, but it certainly underscores my dysfunctional, broken family. That’s nobody’s fault, it’s just the way it is. I’ve never had a great relationship with my family, as in actually ENJOYING any length of time socializing with them. Being able to confide in them. And now that I can enjoy watching my son interact with his grandparents, well, my mother is demented and the other members of my family are miles away and unable or unwilling to be a part of my life. And I get tired of carrying it all around. I get weary. I’ve dealt with the caring for my mother for so long and I’m used to it. Her latest slide downward though is hard to handle. Hard to believe but I actually miss the days where she would come over for dinner once a week and DH would tease her about which group Burton Cummings use to sing with “The Who.” mum says. “Yeah, mama, that’s what I’m asking – WHO did he used to sing for?” “THE WHO?!” She’d wander around hiding things and dusting the blinds with the Swiffer, She have a beer and I’d have to lower her down onto the toilet and pull up her pants for her. Now she sits in her wheelchair and repeats, “Hey” or other phrases over and over again. She is off any mental health meds, so now I can actually see the vulnerability in her eyes. I can SEE she’s lost in there somewhere. Her one front tooth has to be pulled and her dentist wants me to go in and help convince her to let him do it. Good times. Her hair is breakingoff and I’m going to have to get it cut – which on the surface doesn’t sound like a big deal. Unless you’re a black woman who has always been vain about her hair.
We went to see her when we got back, DH dropping the kid and I off so he could go pick up some milk. The Precious has been in a bit of mood lately,so he decides he doesn’t want to be there without his daddy, so now I have him screaming and crying to leave and my mum yelling, “Hey” at me every five seconds. If I take my focus off of her for two seconds, she gets aggravated and yells out and the kid wants to go to the elevator. The closer I get to her, the louder the Precious yells and the further away I get, the more my mother yells. Lovely. Eventually DH shows up before I lose my mind and he entertains the kid so I can feed my mum her dinner.
Later that night, DH decides to pick on me about the paperwork I have sitting on the dining room table as we are preparing to sit and have dinner. You know, leftover turkey and etc that I’ve cobbled together. The first time I haven’t made a a turkey and had my mum over for Thanksgiving dinner. Long story short, I walk out. You heard me. I WALK OUT. DH bitching at the whole time. I’ve crammed my mother’s summary of account papers into a bag (apparently the trustee board want to know why her assets have dwindled so much) and I drive to a nearby Starbucks. I don’t want anything really, but I have a green tea and pay a couple of her bills and contemplate not going home. I contemplate why after 15 years, my husband still expects me to answer to the question, “What’s your problem?” or “What’s wrong with you?” if I’m in a bad mood and snap at him. We’ve had the conversation more times than I care to recall. I go back home and we bicker some more, the kid this time being tucked safely in bed. I don’t want to fight but I’m done hearing his complaining about things that don’t really matter anyway. DONE. As in if I start to feel pushed, I will PUSH AWAY FROM WHATEVER IS GIVING ME SHIT.
In the end, he finally finds his compassion and asks me from his heart what he can do. And I break down and sob that I miss my mum, that she was one who tried so hard to keep her family together, how she worked hard to make holiday meals a special time. I pretend that I can handle all of what’s happening but I just can’t do it anymore. That I want someone else to take over. That’s not going to happen, of course, but I’m weary. I suppose a part of it is also that she’s only going to get worse, not better. And this could go on for years. And yes, sometimes I secretly contemplate the idea of her just dying in her sleep, if only to end the constant demands of managing her care. Watching her deteriorate. I don’t want her to die. I don’t want her to die. But I can’t fix her.
I can’t fix her.
When I start to feeling like I’m losing it, I start dropping the balls that I’ve been juggling and I just want to go hide somewhere. Or run. Or eat.