I have officially extended the invitation to my mother to come live with me. I do not know what else to do. She has not answered me yet.
Speaking about her before, I have mentioned how she tends to bend the truth a bit. Well, it has come to light that her version of the truth changes depending on who she is talking to. She does not consider it lying, she does it to make her conversations sm-o-o-o-o-o-th. She does not want to defend a position, give an opinion or voice displeasure. Not in person anyway. And never to the person she has a problem with.
Apparently she was not at all interested in the crafts the facility was offering, yet she told my brother she was looking forward to it. She emailed me and told me she had no interest. My brother was walking away with high hopes thinking she was actually enjoying the place and told me so, hence this post.
She emails me when her bed is not changed, when she wants a breathing treatment, when someone at the home is not being responsive. She's in New Jersey, I am in the Chicago area, and she emails me to call the nurses station instead of asking for something. Oh did I mention that part? She is unable to ask for anything she wants. Or unwilling. Hard to tell. AND she expects people to know what she wants or needs at any given moment and when they don't - she gets angry and does something spiteful which usually does not hurt anyone but herself. Like refusing dinner because someone did not do something or bring her something in what she considered a timely manner.
Honestly, this is a nightmare. She is my mother and I love her, but this isn't my mom. This is someone I don't know. And I realize now that the lying - that has been a part of her that has been there all along because my family not being very close, we never compared notes before. We took what she said for granted as being the truth. Makes me question the accuracy of some of my own history. Feels a little like somebody tried to pull the rug out from under me but just knocked me off balance a bit. Things are still the same but - not quite.
People want to do right by their parents, at least most people do. My family is no different I suppose. But my mom isn't making it easy. It has to be tough losing your independence and physical abilities. But my mom has not accepted the fact that her breathing is difficult and won't get any better - because she smoked for 50-odd years. And was still sneaking cigarettes years after being diagnosed with emphysema. She continues to wait for someone to give her the magic pill (my brother, her doctor, the nursing home) to make her breathing easier, and blames her caretakers when they can't. She has not accepted that it is only going to get worse from here, not better. I wish that were not the case, but it is.
She lived with me before and we tended to butt heads a bit. I don't imagine all of that has gone away. But my expectations are much lower now, I wouldn't be looking to her to do things for herself. She doesn't want to. Unless of course she is angry and doing it to spite someone - then she does something reckless and falls down because of it. Sigh-h-h.
My brother used to try to get her to go outside and walk, even if it was just around the yard or down the block a bit (with her walker, when that time came). He took her places, restaurants and weddings and friends houses. He took her shopping and bought her a damn dog she treated horribly. (the dog has since been given to a family with kids who adore her!) He tried to keep her as active as he could. But she is stubborn and vain enough to hate what she looks like when she walks "Everybody will think I'm drunk!" So her legs did not get enough use.
She complained at one point that this is no way to live. Yet she will not put any effort into doing things that might be good for her or make her time more enjoyable. I love her. But there is a part of me that is so pissed off that she could not be stronger about all of this, that she has slipped so easily into the dependent role, only railing against those who try to care for her and ignoring her own lack of ambition when it came to trying to care for herself. What happened to the woman who raised 4 kids? I never realized that without some kind of partner in her life she was not capable of making decisions or doing - well - just about anything. And I guess I am disappointed.
It's easy to see that I am having trouble switching places - my mom was supposed to be my mom - and I was supposed to be her child. Adult child, yes. But obviously I'm struggling with anger about how she has come to this place. She did not fight it, and I wanted her to. When she was told she had emphysema, I wanted her to stop smoking. When she started to have weakness in her legs, I wanted her to walk. And when she was on her own for a while I wanted her to revel in the freedom and do all the things she complained her husband didn't want her to do. But she didn't do any of those things.
I wanted her to TRY to have a long and healthy life. Apparently she had other plans.
Where is the old Maxine lady I hope to be, or the lady who accepts her age with grace? Neither of those are my mom. And it makes me so freaking sad. Oh, and guilty. All of these emotions? Bring guilt. Tons of it. But I cannot be the only one to go through these emotions so I write about them and hope I can confirm for someone else that they are not a monster for having these feelings.
And just maybe someone else will confirm that I am not one either.
Monday, March 29, 2010