Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome to another happy blog entry

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live with my mother crowding my brain all day and all night long. I need to find a way to have her exit my mind once I’ve exited the building. My health and sanity are at stake.

Today when I arrived, her CNA (certified nursing assistant) told me that Mom had a rough morning. She was asking where I was and why I had put her in a nursing home. She was very upset and confused, and the aid said she had a hard time calming her down.

By the time I got there, she seemed ok, though a little withdrawn, which is happening more and more these days. So my first thought was, “Why tell me this? The moment has passed and she is ok. Why let me know she went through a period of angst in the morning?” I was selfishly upset because I knew I would be able to think of nothing else for the next few days.

And so my mind wandered down a dark path; how often does my mother think this? How bad is she truly feeling? Does she feel abandoned all the time? How lonely is she without me and Dan and her family?

I was worked up to a point of palpitations. And that is when I realized I needed a way to turn this off. When she is there and I am here, we are separate and individual. When we are together, I can be the all-consumed daughter. I can’t sustain this level of investment 24/7. It’s going to kill me.

Yet, how can I untangle myself from my mother? If she is suffering, I am obligated to relieve it. That’s how my upbringing shaped this unshakable core belief. If there is a way, I have to be invested in changing it. I can’t just abandon her.

So where does this leave me? Depressed and hopeless. And welcome to another happy blog entry...


  1. Lisa,
    I feel for you. We go through the same thing with Dad. The guilt has been the hardest part for us, questioning every day if we have done the right thing. He has good days and bad days where they tell us he is great or that he wants to come home. I know where Dad is they tell us they want to be totally transparent to us so that we know everything. My sisters and my mother and I get by each day saying that he is safe and is enjoying more there then he was at home sitting staring into space. He now has friends and enjoys their company. But let one of us go visit and we have hell to pay. It is an awful disease. How do we ever know we are doing the right thing.

  2. Andrea, it helps so much to know you understand. How do we live with the not knowing? Not knowing for SURE that we did the right thing? It's awful. I know she gets to play bingo everyday, she eats well balanced meals and has instant medical attention. Much more than I was able to provide to her. And she is SAFE. No worries about wandering anymore... I suppose I have to learn to make this enough.

  3. Oh, I am with you one hundred percent on this telling every little detail from the staff at asst. living/nursing home. It was bad enough that they are bound by law to notify me if Elbert fell. I know that is to protect them, not Elbert, not me. But, to have everything little reported like it's going to change one thing............ No, the loved ones do not need to know something they can do nothing about. Have you spoken to the director of nursing about it?

  4. Latane, no I haven't. It was a single incident so far so I'm going to see what happens. If it persists, I will definitely say something. THANK YOU.

  5. I have been living with my moms Ad for 5 years now and went through all that you describe. It is hard to make the decision to step back and take care of yourself but you need to do that. Visiting everyday is really tough and I commend you for it, but you are paying a heavy price....My thoughts go with you

  6. My mom is living with us .THANK YOU for sharing this all!I thought I could not do this anymore intill I read your blog. It made me crying,because you described my mom and my life.
    may God bless you.
    Love from the netherlands

  7. Lisa, I just found ur blog by accident today. Please take care of yourself!!! It would really mean a lot to me if you would visit my blog. I blog about different topics but primarily about my mom and dad. My dad, 72, has alzheimers and my mom, 71, also has dementia. Make sure you click on "The Meaning of Sundown and Payday" when you visit the blog. I have already linked your blog from mine. God bless you and keep you...

    My blog:

  8. I couldn't turn it off. After a week in the hospital Chrissy, my mother, went to a skilled living facility and past away after two months. Like you, I was there every day. It won't always be this way.

  9. I can understand how you feel. Alzheimer's wreaks havoc on the brain of the entire family, because we love our parent so much. We are always wondering what is the right thing to do, and as much as we want to do everything in the world for our loved one, we have to take care of ourselves, too. That's what our parents would want for us. They don't want us to suffer. I have just begun telling my story on my blog. If you get a chance, maybe you can check it out. Thank you, and God Bless.

  10. Found your blog today. My cousin and I just started this journey one month ago with an elderly aunt who lives thousands of miles away but there is no one else to help her. We deal with the nursing home almost everyday and then receive many calls from our aunt on why she is there. Already I can feel what you are feeling that I know I need to be able to separate and not think about her all the time, and it has only been a month! Good luck with everything.

  11. Our family has just gotten to the place where my dad has to be place in a care facility. I've started a blog just as a place to put my thoughts down. Good luck with everything I can only hope I can be as strong as you seem to be. I feel broken after less than a month.

  12. Lisa, I so relate to, "When we are together, I can be the all-consumed daughter. I can’t sustain this level of investment 24/7. It’s going to kill me." My mom just turned 60 but was diagnosed in September with Dementia, now Alzheimers. Since october I have had to move her states, sell her home, and place her in assisted living. All while attempting to work full time and begin the adoption process for my own family. I often struggle with feeling guilty about trying to have free mind space/enjoy life, when I am not with her. Yet, I need my own life outside of her. It's a balancing act...





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