Older daughter, I'm so glad you wrote, which took me back to this forum. My mom died on January 26th. We had a great healing in our relationship thanks to this forum and a book I found within its posts, "Understanding the Borderline Mother." Without that book, my mother and much of my own life would have remained a mystery to me and I am not sure I could have done what I did over the last year without falling apart. Instead, I loved myself and healed, as well as loving my mother and fulfilling a promise I made to her: to help her cross over to the other side.
For me, the most important thing I did for myself and for my mother during this process was to set boundaries. I visited her once a week and I telephoned her once in between. I was able to put together a wonderful palliative care team for her. I did not try to meet her every need, but I did do a lot. I spoke with each of the team members weekly, advocated for her medical and spiritual care, shopped for her, and cooked a beautiful home-cooked meal for her. I got her new dentures and glasses after they were lost. I read to her from the New Yorker and other articles every week. We listened to the music she loved. And I was blessed to be with her when she died a relatively peaceful death. She kept calling her own mama to take her home and then she just went to sleep. She was ready.
She was never happy in the nursing home but she did embrace several of the staff. I knew from years before that I could never live with her and I held that boundary. It was crucial for both of us, even when she wanted to believe otherwise. I do not feel badly about this. No one person could ever meet my mother's needs, especially the last few years. I would not abuse myself by trying. I watched others try and fail.
I am so grateful that I researched and found this forum! And I encourage you to ask yourself first and foremost, how can I love and take care of myself? And keep asking it. Don't expect your mother to change. Just love yourself.
Best, ~Laura (moineau)