A scary place, the future.
For mom the path she seems to be following is predictable ... new medical problems, more disability, less mental engagement, more hands-on care.
During her last hospitalization and rehab, she slipped quite a bit. I worried that she had passed some invisible line that required more professional care than I could provide at home. But I resisted because in my mind we were still dealing with an illness. You get better from an illness. You may still have chronic medical conditions, but you can recover from the episodic illness that made you weak, and you get well enough to do the things you once could.
And she did improve some.
But questions still remain. Will mom's future hold an assisted living or a nursing home? Will her health continue to hold stable or will she slide further downward? How long can we manage her needs in our home? These issues seem to glide one into the other in a massive gray way. There never seems to be a definitive line in the sand that says ... "Now we must take this next step."
I worry about the impact of mom's future on myself. How long can I physically continue to manage her declining condition? Will I be able to separate her needs adequately from my own? Could I survive my internal turmoil of placing her in another living environment that is not my home?
The final assault will be her death. I can't imagine her absence from my life after 64 years. I can't begin to fathom the size of the void that will be left by her passing. I have read there is a relief and a kind of freedom at this passing. But do those feelings balance the loss and the void her death will cause in my life? Will I ever be normal again or will I have to search for a "new normal" for my own life?
And what of my own aging? I watch her struggle and I think ... you are looking at yourself 20-30 years into the future. Where will I be physically and mentally at 85? I know that some of mom's condition is the result of her personal choices over the last 20 years. But the aging process is not easy for some and hard for others. The aging process is hard for everyone no matter what you do to prevent it.
Yes, the future is a scary place.
Care Giver and Daughter