And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

November 29, 2003

Now What?

Filed under: growth,her words — mark @ 5:35 am

We are back home from a small vacation. We went to Manteo, NC to spend Thanksgiving with my Mother. Wow, what a trip. It is about 1,100 miles from here and it is not an easy trip. We do love going through the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. We also love spending time in the car together. But Mark and I are tired. I am up and sorting through the joy and the trauma of seeing my Mother.

Mom is getting more and more frail. It is hard to see her in this condition. She has trouble breathing and she is less able to take care of herself. It is so hard to see her like this. I know she is coming to the end and that is so hard I cannot get my mind around it now. There are so many things running through my mind I cannot sleep. I know that she needs more care, but Mom is very independant. She is now living in section 8 housing that is alright but could be better. It fits her income and that is good. But there is no one there to take care of her. She talked about falling down recently and hurting her leg. She said she wrapped it and stayed in bed for a week. Then she felt it was alright. I can see that she needs several things. One is that she needs someone to see that she has food. Another is to see that she is alright. She will not tell anyone when she is hurt. She needs to see a doctor to see if there are things that can help her feel better. But my Mother is afraid to let anyone see her pain. She grew up with a very punishing father and an ineffective mother. She is very afraid of letting anyone see her weaknesses. She wants to do things her own way.

My problem is how do I sort out what I want to do to help her, and what I can do that will help without taking away her independance. It has always been a delicate dance. It is made harder because she is not direct. She does not talk in ways that show anyone her truth. She trusts me as much as anyone and yet she does not tell me the truth about what is going on with her. For example, she has always hated where she lived. Within 3 to 4 months of being anywhere she starts finding fault with the place and the people. She is now talking of moving from Manteo to Williamston, NC. This would be a very hard move as it is 300 miles. She wants me to help her and this would be hard since I live in Springfield, IL. Add to that the fact that she wants to do things her way and will not tell me what those are and you begin to see how hard it all is. I would like her to move into an assisted living situation where she can have as much independance as she wants. This would give her a place to have her own apartment and her own car. She could have a kitchen and cook for herself but there would also be prepared food available if she did not want to cook. There would be someone to look in on her. She wants to move to Williamston and move into section 8 housing again where no one will be in her business.

I would like her to move to Tampa, FL where my brother lives. He would like to have her there. I think it would be ideal because the Tampa Bay area has many services for retired people and she could have a place to live where people would be as involved as they need to be. But she is afaid that my brother and his wife would be too involved and that they would want her to baby sit with my sister-in-law’s adopted child, who has special needs. I truly do not want her to move here because I know she would become a hugh part of our lives and that would cause me to resent her. I spent a number of years trying to take care of her. I put off my own life in trying to make sure she was okay. I know I will fall into that pattern again. I now have a wonderful life and do not want to interfere with that. Gosh that sounds and feels very selfish. I know that taking care of myself and putting my needs first is important. But I want to take care of Mom as well. So I am up and trying to sort it out. It is very difficult. There are no easy answers and I admit to having a hard time between what will take care of me and what I can do to take care Mom. I do not want to take away her independance, nor do I want to give up mine. I know my wanting her to move to Tampa is about having her near family. I also know I do not want her near me. I feel as though living with or near her for 40 years was enough. I know I do not like who I am when I am around her. So I guess I have some more sorting to do.

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