The day has finally come when I don't have to live in fear of the next disaster with my mother. For four years, we battled with her to get her out of her house that she lived in alone. Every month brought a new challenge to tackle, something new that she could no longer handle. Finally, we breathed a sigh of relief as she agreed to move into an assisted living facility. But it was a short-lived relief as she withdrew into her own world and, in short order, became weaker both mentally and physically. Then the falls started and a whole new set of worries took the place of the old. Conflicting stories from different members of the staff at the facility. Was she getting to the point where that level of care was inadequate..... or not? We never really knew for sure as the hospitals kept right on sending her back there. Finally, after her last fall, it was all just too much for her and her final withdrawal began. A stint in rehab has turned into a permanent transfer to a skilled nursing facility. It happened so fast and at first all I felt was relief. But as the finality of the situation descends on me, I suddenly feel very alone. I'm not really alone, of course, but now my only living parent has become nothing more than a broken-down body with a brain that is a shadow of its former self.
My mother was never a social person, but one thing she always knew how to do was to keep herself occupied. She was a voracious reader, a lover of crossword puzzles, a paint-by-numbers master. She enjoyed refinishing wood furniture and she liked to knit. She loved to drive and never minded driving a distance if there was something worthwhile waiting at the other end. This might be the only characteristic I inherited from her, when I stop and think about it. One by one, these things deserted her, became beyond her capabilities, and I think this is what caused her to become progressively meaner and more unfiltered. She was never one to mince words, never overly affectionate or demonstrative but as senility crept in, she became almost unbearable to spend time with.
So what it is exactly that I'm mourning? The woman that I knew as my mother no longer exists, and truth be told, our relationship-hers and mine- had never been warm and fuzzy to begin with and in the past five years it had degenerated into a bunch of head games that she was playing with me and my brother. I think I just have this feeling right now of aloneness. Daughter in another state, husband working crazy hours seven days a week, brother gone to Florida..... no matter how cranky she was, my Mom was always there. And now, for all practical purposes, she is gone. And the only word I keep coming back to is "alone". I just feel so alone.
I'm scared because I don't trust myself to handle this speed bump in my life properly. I can feel myself unraveling more every day, I can feel my temper becoming shorter all the time. And every time I lose my temper I feel more inadequate. I can't seem to get any relief and I find myself crying or on the verge almost every day. And then there's the dream that I had last night about my Mom that was so weird and awful that I'm sitting here after midnight because I keep thinking that if I close my eyes, it will come back.
So, I've decided that this ache in my chest is telling me that there are different types of broken hearts and all I can do is to keep telling myself that my life is pretty great, all things considered, and what right do I really have to be feeling like this? Time to suck it up..... time to suck it up.....time to suck it up...