Mark Twain

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Through My Care Giver Eyes - The Future




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.

Retired Knitter
Care Giver and Daughter


7 comments:

  1. Because I was not gifted with having my parents in my home as they walked that path I can't comment on when the "next step" should be taken. What I can comment on is the "relief and freedom" issue .... as I watched my last parent decline and did my best for him (we were at least a two hour drive away and both working fulltime) I could not have imagined those feelings. A few months after he passed away I heard myself say it and immediately felt guilty. It is normal to feel that relief and freedom. I also missed him desperately and still do some 6 years later.
    No matter how we handle our parents aging it always feels like we could have done more, should have done more, would do more if we could go back and do it again...but the reality is, we do what we can to the best of our ability and they understand. At least, I hope they do.

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  2. When my mother died, I was 56 and missed her terribly but didn't wish her back into what her life had become at the end. It was a natural progression, and accepting that is very different from missing the person.

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  3. When I think of my moms terminal illness it is mostly loss I feel. I do think I did what I could and I think at the very end it was a relief for her but while someone is living there is always hope - at least for me, I always hope. Death ends that hope.
    Getting the most out of today is my goal, I don't want to know what is coming tomorrow. Today is good.

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  4. I was 50 when my mom died. I think your mom is the hardest because we're so close to them - they protect us from the world. Then we really have to grow up! It is not easy, but we do it.

    sandie

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  5. My mother died in April this year. It has taken me since then to allow myself to go through the boxes I brought home from her house. I don't think I ever will be like I was before. Even though I watched her fade with each visit, holding her hand as she died still gripped my heart. God bless.

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  6. what lies ahead is a scary thought since the future and life as we know it is so unpredictable but cherish every moment that you have had with her.

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  7. How lucky your mother is to have such a wonderful daughter who cares for her so much. Look not at what time is left but at all the time you were blessed to be together. I love my mom more than life itself and am taking things one day at a time. I cannot imagine life without her. We must take care of ourselves as well as we need to be there for them (reading the obits lately and so many 50-60 year olds dying). Try not to worry so much about the future as we have no control over that. Do what you can but don't beat yourself up for things you cannot do. It is great to live a long life but as we all can see now there is also a downside no-one talks about. Thanks for sharing your story.

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