If you have ever had to care for an elderly family member, one who tests your patience and makes you want to go into the witness protection program, raise your hand. Yep. I knew there would be a lot of you. Here’s the deal, I just made a tough choice that was not popular with my dear mother. I have been manning the weekends because I allowed this tiny old lady to manipulate me into not hiring someone prior to my surgery. So, Brian and I go over every weekend. We hang out, get her medications ready for the week, and get her situated for the day. I am not trying to be the martyr here, I am merely sharing what millions of other individuals do on a daily basis.
Football season has begun which means we travel to WKU on several Saturdays to watch the game and see our youngest. However, I am beginning to feel like a prisoner. Not able to go anywhere for fear of something happening to my mother. One Saturday, she shared that she felt like she needed help on the weekends. This was my opening and I ran with it. Her current agency didn’t have anyone available for a weekend shift, but a different agency was more than happy to help. We are all set for this weekend, until my mother had her usual petulant fit.
Yesterday morning, the phone rang and it was her. She was screaming at me. Screaming morphed into begging insisting that she wouldn’t bother me and that she was fine. Friends, she is far from fine. Of course, there was the blaming me for having surgery and that I didn’t prepare her for my lengthy recovery. I was emotional drained, and then my spouse took the phone from me. He talked to her calmly and was able to crack the wall of fear surrounding her. When I got the phone back I simply said to her, “I can’t do this anymore. I want to be your daughter, not your caregiver. I want to visit with you instead of managing everything. I need a break. You keep asking me how you can help me through my recovery and this is it.” After a thirty minute conversation, she said she would do it. That’s great, only she really didn’t have a choice in the matter.
My amazing partner shared that he took the phone to reason with her because he didn’t like how I was being talked to. And yes, when she is fearful, I am never enough. I don’t do enough. I am an awful daughter. None of these things are true. Thanks to my spouse, we have managed her care, but we are both spent and recovering from surgery takes a lot of energy. Not to mention he is caring for me and working full-time. Our reality shifted the moment we realized that she is rapidly declining. Hiring more help is necessary. She will adjust. With the addition of these special workers, I can be a better version of myself for her. I can show up as her daughter which is really all she craves.
Allison, my ❤️ heart goes out to you and Brian. Recovering from surgery takes rest and strength. An elderly parent desperate to be reassured and taken care
of can zap that strength you need. Keep making those decisions that give you time to heal.