Today marks the one year anniversary of my mother calling me a rotten little bastard as I tried to get her to agree to take an apartment in the town I live in and move from Maine.
One year ago today my mother and I had one of the worst days we’ve ever had with one another.
She lived in my town, in her own apartment, for a few months before flying to visit my brother in Florida and not returning. She has resided in assisted living since June of this year.
A year ago I began writing ‘Confessions’ blog posts about my experiences with Mom and her increasing dementia. I notice further slips and gaps as time passes. Mom has called and left me a voice mail saying ‘this is Aunt Carrie’ rather than ‘this is Mom.’ She maintains that she lost her driver’s license when she went to renew it, that the clerk just took it away and wouldn’t give her a new one.
I don’t correct her when these slips occur, unless it’s crucial that she does know something for certain. I just listen…I say ‘I’m sorry that upset you’ when something is bothering her, real or imagined, and let her talk. I think that’s what she really wants…just to talk about it…not for anyone to try to fix it…just someone to listen.
A year ago I had to stand my ground with Mom and tell her that if she refused to take steps to help herself, I’d have to invoke the authority she gave me to do so via power of attorney, advanced healthcare directives, assignment of guardianship, etc. That’s what she called me a rotten little bastard for. A year ago, despite knowing it was the best thing, to provide for her safety and well-being, I felt exactly like that. A rotten little bastard.
Time does wonders to show us the outcome of decisions, tough decisions, we sometimes have to make. Mom has ‘eyes’ on her 24/7. She’s not fallen recently and injured herself. She’s not been taken to the hospital for blood pressure issues for several months. She’s lost 30 pounds. She has people to talk to all the time when she chooses to do so and no longer talks about being alone all the time and being scared that she’ll fall and injure herself and no one will be there to help her.
For my part, I no longer worry all the time that she’s going to drive to the store and forget where she lives. I no longer worry about her falling and laying there on the floor or having a stroke (as my father did) and laying on the floor overnight until someone discovers her. I hate to see her further memory loss, but I am powerless to do anything about it.
A year ago this particular ‘serenity’ regarding my mother, not worrying every minute of every hour, seemed like an unattainable goal. A year ago I couldn’t imagine successfully transitioning her to assisted living without World War III having to happen between Mom, my brother, and me.
A year ago, exactly a year ago today, I disliked myself quite a bit for what I had to do, no matter how right it seemed. Right is not always easy. Right is not always rewarding and fulfilling. At least not immediately.
irrespective of what happens with Mom’s mind from here on in, she’s watched…cared for…fed…bathed…..she’s in a good place. I am too.
Time has given me the opportunity to see that despite having to be a rotten little bastard, it all turned out for the best.