Chat @ Care-giving: Turning the Corner

It’s been a rough road. Mom said she was ready to start considering the move to a retirement property, but when we progressed from me doing research to her making a decision, she wasn’t as ready as she’d advertised.

August and September were given over to angst and anger.  Although the decision had been made, Mom kept me hopping.  Throughout it all, I’d managed to keep my emotions in check, with the exception of one afternoon.  Even then, I was able to express the hurt I felt over her criticism, rather than unloading some of my less attractive emotions.

The last week of packing could have been accomplished in a matter of hours, but I held Mom’s hand every day, offering encouragement and resolving any issue she came up with – even when her problems were in no way related to her move.

Through out it all, I kept hoping for her to at least admit that we were doing the right thing.  I stood by as she explained to other people her reluctance to leave her home and that “her family” had “forced” her into making this move.  I heard about how much she disliked the floor plan and the location of the apartment in the building.  She would occasionally mention that she appreciated all the hard work I was doing, but in the same breath she’d remind me she didn’t want it and that it was all my idea.

I’d drag home every day, answer some email and try to distract myself with computer games or mindless TV, knowing I had to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

Two days before the move, as we pulled away from her dry cleaner, she said, “Well, this is the last time we’ll run this errand.”  I reminded her that she’d be using the same dry cleaner at Whiterock Court, but that he’d be picking up and delivering her order without her having to make the trip.  After dismissing the value of that service, she expounded on her dissatisfaction with leaving her home.

I already felt lower than a snake’s belly for doing what I knew had to be done.  Her need to constantly remind me of her opinion of the move was like repeated kicks to my already bruised ribs.  As much as I wanted to complain or to chastise her for her lack of cooperation, I took a deep breath and said, for what must have been the thousandth time, “Mom, I’m sorry that this is not what you want to do and if it wasn’t what I know you needed to do, I’d just call the whole thing off.  But I hope that some day, after you’re moved in and have had some time to adjust that you’ll be happier or at least least understand that I was right to do this.  I really don’t want you to be miserable.  My real goal is to make you safe and happy.”

And that’s when the miracle occurred.  “Oh, I’m going to be fine.  It’s not what I want, but I refuse to be miserable.”  We chatted for a bit about how important attitude was.  I took her home and told her I’d see her in two days, because there was no more packing to do until the very last morning.  Then I cried in relief all the way home.

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