Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Blog 33: I Need To Learn To Accept
It’s so hard to imagine that this is our life from here on out, with Mom having this relentless and progressive disease, with no chance of surviving it. Watching her forget her life and all the memories she once had, and watching her slowly start to forget her daughters and her grandchildren that she loved so dearly, is like a long, drawn out good-bye. It’s about as painful as anything I can imagine. Those who see a loved one suffer like this know what I am talking about.
This disease has no happy ending. Eventually death will come and it will be over. Will having her gone be easier to bear than watching her suffer and deteriorate? Both thoughts are just as bad. My biggest fear is how am I going to be able to handle seeing her in those final stages? I’ve seen it with others, and I dread what’s ahead.
I try to tell myself that this is God’s plan. He doesn’t give us more than we can handle. There is a reason for everything that happens to us in life, and no matter what we do, right or wrong, it does not change our destiny. I pray, and I pray, and I pray that God will give me strength to face each day, one day at a time…because if I don’t have help with this, I will fall apart. Just the thought of losing my mom is unbearable.
I know my sisters are feeling just as sick about all of this as I am. Our communication is lax, and we aren’t leaning on each other for support. Our anger builds, eating away at us, ready to explode at the first opportunity. Everything is taken out of context, and rather than speak with love and understanding, we get defensive towards one another. Then we ignore each other, and draw the blinds and cry alone. As I said in an earlier post, we are drowning in our own ocean.
I am working on getting you all caught up to the current time, but I need to write about some other things that happened to get us to where we are now.
In August of 2011, I met with my sisters, Lynda and Kathy, and we discussed my plan of coming back home to care for mom. I was going to give it one last shot. They said they would talk to Renee and try to convince her. I said that Renee won’t listen to me anymore and maybe she will listen to them. At that time they were also having some issues with Renee, and questioning the decisions she had made. They were my only hope. Annie was totally all for it, but Annie was only talking to me. Nobody was talking to Annie. They were going to go through Mom’s house one last time, and that was the day I was flying back home. I wanted to be there, but I couldn’t change my flight without paying for a much higher priced ticket to leave on a different day. I was really hurt about that, that they left me and Annie out.
After this meeting at Mom’s house, I was anticipating a phone call from Lynda or Kathy, but I didn’t hear anything. I assumed they weren’t successful in persuading Renee to let me care for Mom. Four days later I called Kathy and she said she left Mom’s house after going through some things and Lynda was talking to Renee after she left. She said she thought Renee would let me come back to care for mom. I thought, really? But she said I would have to talk to Lynda and see what they talked about. Lynda never called me. I thought that was odd. I finally called her ten days later and she confirmed that Renee would probably let me be Mom’s caregiver. She said Kathy was there for the entire discussion. I was not understanding why she (or Kathy) didn’t call me THAT NIGHT, and say, “Lizzie, guess what? Renee is going to let you take care of mom!!!” Why didn’t she do that? I was so worried that the reason why was that…either it wasn’t true, or Lynda and Kathy didn’t want me to do it after all. Why didn’t Renee call me? I feared that Lynda and Kathy really weren’t supporting me doing that because then it would mean they would have to come help out (even though I said I wouldn’t ask them to). All kinds of things were going through my mind. With our lack of communication, once again, it put us in a bad situation. Nobody wanted to talk about it, and I admit, I was scared to call Renee.
Mom’s house sold in October, two months later. It was too late to take her back home to live. Our family home, that we had for 47 years, was sold to another family. That was a very sad time for my family. I hope that some day I can go inside and meet the new family and see that they are making their own happy memories in our home. I will always think of it as our home, no matter who lives there.
My communication with Renee had gone completely sour. I ‘hated’ her (well, not really) for what she did. She hated me for calling her out on her placing Mom in a nursing home, when we all promised we’d never do that to her, and her placing her three hours away from her hometown, when she promised she’d never do that either. Not to mention the fact that Mom was not that advanced to where she needed to be placed. She couldn’t face me, and I couldn’t face her. Therefore, I was relying on Lynda and Kathy to go to bat for me, and for mom. That was wrong.
Lynda and Kathy were so influenced by Renee. Renee knew she needed them on her side, and since they lived there, they knew they needed to keep Renee close if they were to receive any information about Mom. We all know that Renee wanted my acceptance, too. We were always close and I was always the one to support her in her endeavors. She needed me, she needed my approval. But I could not accept what she did and our battle continued until I just couldn’t take her hateful emails any longer, so I cut all communication with her. I couldn’t say anything without her coming back at me with the most vicious insults, so I blocked her emails and stopped texting and phone calls. We didn’t speak until months later, and that was when she made a surprise visit at the nursing home, while I was there.
That impromptu meeting did not go well. Annie was with me that day and we had a wonderful visit with Mom. Mom was so happy and she was doing so good. It was just like old times. Just as we were about to leave, Renee showed up. Renee and Annie hadn’t spoken in about a year, and it had been months since I talked to her, but we thought we would try to mend things, and my boyfriend talked to Renee and said we should talk. Renee came out to the dining room and stood by the table where Annie and I were seated. All of us were nervous. To tell the truth, I don’t remember much about it because it was such a bad experience. It started off smoothly, but the problem began when shortly after Renee joined us, Renee called Lynda and told her we ambushed her and we were attacking her! This was so not true. I was so upset with her for alarming Lynda like that. Lynda had no idea what was said, or anything. All she knew was what Renee was telling her, that we were attacking her. Then Lynda told Renee to just walk away. I told Renee I want to talk to Lynda. I told Lynda that we were not attacking her. Lynda said we shouldn’t be having a meeting like this without everyone there. I said, “How many times have I tried to have meetings and nobody wanted to!” I said, “This was not planned, she just showed up here and we thought we could talk." But Renee took the phone and proceeded to tell her just how horrible we were to her, and then she told me she may let Mom go back to (her hometown) but she will never let me take care of her, and then she walked away. I knew this was all about ‘us’ and not about Mom, and, unfortunately, our mom has to suffer.
We started to walk out to the car when Annie told Renee that God will get her for what she’s done to Mom and the family. Renee turned around and walked up to us and said, something, I don’t even remember, and I raised my hand to hit her and I told her I hate her. (I don’t really hate her, I hate her ways, as Mom used to say, and I wouldn’t have really hit her, but I was SO mad at her). Annie told her, "Mom always says you're in jail. I wonder why? Because she knows what you did to her." And Renee said, “Oh please! You know what she says about Lizzie? She says you are a whore!” That’s how my last meeting with my sister went. Those were her last words to me. It's been four months, and we haven’t spoken since.
When we left that night and drove an hour to my daughter’s apartment, I couldn’t do anything when we got there but curl up into a fetal position on the couch, and cry. I couldn’t eat. I was hurting so bad and wanted this pain to end. I asked myself, “Did my mom really call me a whore?” Surely she didn’t, and if she did, she didn’t know what she was saying. I wanted to make things better with Renee, instead she and I both made it worse. I knew my chances of ever getting to care for my mom were over, and I had to accept Mom’s fate, and ours, that she was going to live the rest of her years in a nursing home, and I can’t do a thing about it.
I needed to learn to accept.