I’m a Baby-boomer and my Mom is 88 years old. Mom has become very frail and forgetful… she needs more and more supervision as cognitive connections break. She can’t drive any longer because she gets lost. The deal breaker was when we finally found her four hours after we noticed she was gone and 35 miles away from home. Thanks to OnStar and two police departments, my sisters and I were able to get her home safely. She had no clue as to where she was and the danger she put herself and others in. She also started her microwave on fire – we were unbelievably lucky the fire was contained. Of course in true Mom fashion she denied she did it…she also denied she got lost 3 times.
This is not a special situation, it’s quite common amongst the Baby-boomer population…. thousands and thousands deal with this everyday. While we watch our parents decline, witness “end of life” process, we may also be looking at our own future.
Other common issues within the family unit are misunderstandings, lies, deceit followed by a big giant rift… tearing a jagged hole in what was once a comfortable, trusting environment.
My dose of nasty reality came to me a little over a decade ago when I became quite ill. I naturally assumed my family would have my back… I was wrong. Attitudes towards me changed. There was indifference and then “mean-girl” comments. I was confused, hurt and angry. Through much denial, I realized the culprit was one of my sisters. She’s quite active in her addictions and specializes in relationships sabotage and amazing confabulation. She became the leader of the pack, which also included Mom.
I was too sick and weak to fight back, so I extricated myself from my family…for my own self preservation. So I grieved my self-inflicted loss and eventually got past my health issues leaving me with some lingering effects.
It had been almost a decade since I last saw my family. I had found some comfort in my ability to move on, but that wouldn’t last. Knowing my Mom was in decline, that protective wall I built began to fail and my sense of responsibility became my new purpose.
So I reclaimed my familiar spot within my family. Each daughter processing our own unique set of skills…one tends to her everyday small wants and needs, the other two, legal/administrative, and I do meals…good, clean nutrition for Mom.
From the outside it probably appears we are working as a team with one goal in mind… keeping Mom as healthy and happy for as long as possible. It’s working well except for that big elephant in the room… something resembling an emotionally sanitized atmosphere.
I’ve already grieved the loss of my family a decade ago. Can one regain what has been lost…. for what has already been painfully grieved?
Life, emotions, facts, circumstances seem to me, ever fluid.. everything temporary. Two days ago as I pondered this blog, as I put pen to paper, my heart softened a bit…only to feel I may have betrayed myself..then to soften again. Writing this piece brought emotional upheaval and confusion regarding lessons to be learned and wondering if “Humpty” can be put back together again.