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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #16 
My Mother was amazing and also a hand full. It was a very roller coaster relationship. There were times I took breaks from her just because I needed time out. In my early 20's I didn't speak to her for almost a year. Later on it was a few week breaks here and there. Then, a few years ago I took a three month break. I didn't think she was taking her health seriously and wasn't respecting what I was trying to do for her. Trying times-sigh. Anyways next thing I know her medical alert button rep was calling me because she had a fall. It was a bad fall. I went rushing to her and luckily we made up right then and there (we were able to do this quite often in our love-"hate" relationship). Long story short, she had acute leukemia and died six weeks later. She was only able to verbally speak for that first week.

So for me, I loved my Mother very very much even though we fought.

My mother did have a mental illness as well.

For me, later in my life the more I researched her illness and got myself help through counselling I was able to cope more and more but I was certainly still learning before she passed away. I really did need the breaks.

For me, looking back I do have regrets we were not able to be together those last three months of her life. It was a hard lesson learned for me.

If at all possible if you do really love someone, and someone who is difficult, do look after yourself and see if you can get extra help and support for yourself.

Life is very short. If I knew then what I know now I wouldn't have taken the break.

I know from counselling and reviewing our family history my dear Mother was very fragile because of things in her own up bringing, her own family history, the war etc, if ththings don't get healed they don't go away and can develop into other things and areas. She also had mental illness.

She was really an amazing woman, and after she passed I was able to learn even more about her and look at her from another angle. I was able to see so much more that I liked, admired, and respected, because I was looking at her from this place of peace and love. The issues were not erupting anymore there was no more drama. So I could focus on all her positivity.

Maybe that would help to focus on the positive aspects of a person in times of trials. Easier said than done I know.

So again I learned this after the fact, however I think my advice is be really sure your thinking long term of no contact with someone because you may never see them again. I of course know nothing about other people's relationships here but if there is still love get more help and try and get though it so you have no regrets later in your own life.

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #17 
I just want to follow up and validate how difficult it is to look after parents/loved ones when we don't feel we are getting respected or treated fairly or recognized for our worth.

Sometimes like in my case these are long standing family issues.

I think it can always be a good thing to speak our truth. Tell the people how we feel however as my councillor pointed out if the people can not acknowledge the issue or have the awareness themselves they can not change. These things take work.

I've had to have many difficult conversations with my Dad and it was very difficult to see him being stressed out and processing difficult feelings.

I obviously have residual guilt issues with what happened with my mom.

My brother went no contact with my Dad and this did seem to spark an awakening in him.

It can be a slow process.

In counselling I've learned that sometimes we have to evaluate the outcome. Will these people really change after all this time?

Sometimes we have to heal things with ourselves, with counsellors, with friends who understand, with people from support groups and not directly with the individual person.

I am no expert I am still learning my way through this. For me I feel my Dad has heard enough he can process for now and I leave it at that. I think he is too old and unwell to deal with some of these difficult conversations so I have to heal this elsewhere.

Sometimes I do tell him things that have upset me as we go along, like when he was more polite to the nurses than to me, I pointed that out. But for now the bigger issues I have to deal with in other ways and not with him. It's frustrating because I want to have this understood with him. I also have to gauge my own emotional compasss and asses what I can cope with or not.

I think this is one of the hardest issues in care giving besides the "care" tasks, it's the unresolved family issues, the relationship issues that add to to the stress and is a whole other area of issues to sort and cope with.

One thing I've tried doing with my Dad is to have a father - daughter day or visit where I try to have us just focus on doing something nice together. If he brings up tasks that need doing I just say we will sort that out later right now let's enjoy our coffee for example. Sometimes we both need to put care giver roles and duties and role reversals on hold.During these set visits I try to just focus on maintaining some normalcy in the relationship.

One day at a time as they say I'm sure we are all doing our best as we can. I don't think there really are right or wrong answers. We learn as we go.

Reply with quote  #18 
Originally Posted by TaraG
Hi Betty,
Wow - that's a lot. My father had dementia. We kept him home until he didn't know us anymore and then he moved to a nursing facility. He was actually happier there than at home b/c was surrounded by people and activity (btw if your mother gets to this point, I don't think you would 'store' her belongings but rather hire someone to come in and clear the place out).

I have similar hygiene/housecleaning issues with Mom, but not as bad as yours. Family insists I hire a twice-weekly cleaning service but Mom barely tolerates twice monthly and I can't force her. So I have learned to accept that Mom lives much of the time with dirty dishes all around her, etc etc. It's just the way it is now. I tell myself over and over, "This is not forever. It won't be like this forever." In fact it's my mantra when I feel like I'm going insane.

What language does your mother speak? I had a friend caring for her elderly mother who only spoke Tibetan - !
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