Saturday, January 4, 2014

Wheels of Time

My mother and me in Central Park, NY  1959
Certain moments in my life have instantly snapped like a rubber band and I knew at that very instant no matter how hard I tried to fight it, that everything was about to change. It was like that the first time my mother gazed off in the distance, as she sat in her chair, and said to me in a childish voice, “Can you drive me home now? I want to go home but I don’t have any shoes so I can’t walk there.” 

My mother was home. She has been living with me and my family for the past 10 years. Snap goes the rubber band and I knew it was time to quite fooling myself. I had taken her to the doctor even though she had said she was perfectly fine. I was worried about the dosage of her medicine and forced her out of the house to see her doctor. His diagnosis was suspected dementia or another mild stroke. She seemed fine enough at the time but I was kidding myself, letting myself be deceived. Tell me, what child does not want to believe their mother? The rubber band snapped and in an instant I became the parent, my mother the child. My brother and sisters are in the states, so I am a so called single parent. I make the hard decisions alone with the support of my family here because they know firsthand the situation. I keep my sisters and brother informed as best I can, but as one of my sisters said, “What can I do?” She does the best she can by giving me emotional support and that is all I can ask for.

Yesterday after my husband and I checked my mother into a medical facility, where over the course of 3- 4 weeks she will be physically and mentally tested for disease, I felt relieved yet saddened. Relieved knowing that she will get the medical attention she needs yet has fought against. Saddened because I know this proud woman does not like to be where she is but has accepted the fact that she needs the kind of help that I cannot give her. Kissing her on the cheek and leaving her in the care of others reminded me of the first time I left my child in daycare. Strange how the wheels of time can turn and how the snap of a moment can change your life.

Be kind to the people you love because one day when you least expect it that rubber band will snap, and hopefully as your life is changed you will make the right choices.

Happy New Year my friends! I hope the choices you make this year bring you success and happiness!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Siv! Good to hear from you. That's a tough decision to make, even when you know it's the best. It will take some of the pressure off you though.
And you're right - we can only pray someone will do right by us when we grow older.

Suzanne Furness said...

Hi Siv, you have done the right thing and I know what a tough decision it can be. I have often pondered how during our lives roles get reversed. Thing about you.

D.G. Hudson said...

I've been there, Siv, and my MIL lived with us for 16 yrs. She is in a care home now for the last five years. Hubs couldn't tell her she had to go into a home. I had to do it, after we picked her up at the hospital, she'd had a fall on our transit system and got a nasty gash in the back of her head. We had to hold her while they stitched up her head. I nearly fainted, being a weakling. She looked so frail there.

Before that we had to pick her up at the police station. She had gotten lost and they brought her in and finally contacted us. She thought she was having tea with friends, not police. They treated her gently.

Respecting her independence had actually contributed to her getting injured, in my mind. I think it helps a lot to keep a journal re appts, what dr's say, medications, etc.

I found this a trying time, Siv, so if you need a shoulder, I've got one. Take a little time for you every now and then. When you have time, look at this post:

Anonymous said...

We just experienced this last summer.. It was heart wrenching for everyone. I was never close to my mother but she was the only mother I had so I loved her and treated her with respect and it did sadden me to see her travel down the path of dementia. She remembered no one and nothing of her life.. 56 years of marriage, 7 children, countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it was all gone, as is she, she passed away in Aug. I pray always that she found joy.. God bless you as you go through this moment in time..

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The hard choice that draws blood and the right choice are usually the same one.

Which of us has not denied what we did not want to believe?

You did what countless others have been forced to do. And while it was right, it still hurt like hell. Each day where she will receive proper care will help her body -- and she will adapt as we all must to situations beyond our control.

You gave us all a needful lesson: to appreciate those we love while we can -- for we all come with an expiration date which is written in invisible ink. My heart aches with you, Roland

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Sis,

I"m sorry about your mom. I know it was a hard choice, but it is for the best. It also gives you time to breathe. It is VERY stressful taking care of an elderly, sick parent.

When I took care of my dad for three months during his cancer, I almost had a stroke. Seriously. The stress was unbelievable because he fought me all the way. It was the last of his life and he was angry and picked his anger out on me.

I had to push him out of his Las Vegas home to return to NYC, where my mom was buried and where his sister, nieces, and nephews live. He needed to have closure with them, but sadly never did. Stubborn to the very end.

And, I know first hand about the "snap".... As you know over the summer I was hit by a cyclist. I could've been killed in that split second. I was hurt badly, but thankfully I recovered. Arthritis took up residence in my broken wrist so I am having issues, but I am alive!

Sending you a little bro hug!!!!!!

It WILL get easier. Just remember to BREATHE!

shelly said...

We're going through something similar with my 93 yr old grandparents.

In my prayers!

Hugs and chocolate,

Emily R. King said...

This is so true. That day will come. One of my elementary school teachers said the only thing in life you can truly depend on is change. I've learned how true that is.

I'm hoping for the best for your mother, you, and your family.

Donna Shields said...

I can relate. Kudos to you for doing what is right. I know it's so hard at times.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Siv .. I can relate totally and I'll always remember the day my mother said to me "I can't look after you anymore I can't be a mother, you're looking after me" ... she couldn't cry (one of the effects of the stroke) and I certainly just managed not to - welling eyes though, as now ...

So yes I can relate - I was lucky my mother could communicate, and put her trust in me to be with her as much as possible ...

However I didn't have much support from my brothers ... and that I could most definitely have done with. So I'm so glad one of your sisters is there for you in that way ..

Thinking of you - it is a challenging distressing time, but if you don't have the nursing care to do .. it will make life easier - not much, but I was glad I didn't have that to worry about ...

All the best Hilary

Sabrina A. Fish said...

I'm not to that point with my parents, but I know eventually I will be asked to make tough decisions for them as I'm the oldest and the one my siblings and parents expect to be in charge. Hugs. I can imagine how hard it was to do what you knew was the best thing for her.

Chris said...

Hi Siv, just stopping by to say how touching your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris