Thursday, November 12, 2015


My NaBloPoMo aspirations were derailed by a family emergency of sorts.  On Tuesday morning, I had to take my Mom to the hospital b/c she was extremely confused and disoriented.  Typically when this happens, it's temporary and usually means she needs to sober up.  This time, however, it was happening while she was sober.  That frightened her boyfriend, so he called me.

It's been a long 2 days and I've posted all this on my fb page, but long story short: my mom is experiencing alcohol induced dementia and the tumor in her brain hasn't grown, but there is some deteriorating brain matter from the constant pressure.

I was already in the process of trying to get her into an adult foster home or assisted living facility prior to this incident, but I now realize I was barking up the wrong tree.  I was shooting in the dark and had no clue who to contact or what to do.  Now that I've spoken to the hospital social worker, we're on the right track and I'm hoping Mom will be placed somewhere soon.  She's still in the hospital and I go up there twice a day to visit with her for awhile and talk to the nurses about how she's doing.  My hope is that placement happens quickly so she can go straight from the hospital to a home.  However, I'm not totally sure how that all works so we'll just take it as it comes.

That's all the technical stuff, now here's all the emotional stuff.  Feel free to stop reading at this point b/c I'm probably going to whine quite a bit.









Still reading?  My, aren't you a brave soul!

The most prominent feeling of all is guilt.  Guilt for having turned my back on her a year ago when I should have made more of an effort to see what was happening and get this process started sooner.  Instead, I let my own anger and resentment cloud logic and I just brushed her off.  When I brought her to the hospital, I was adamant that she not be treated like "just another alcoholic".  I wanted them to take the time to find what was going on and not label her as an addict and ignore the bigger picture.  But that's exactly what I did last year.  I was so tired and frustrated, I didn't even bother to try to figure out if there was something else happening.  I jumped to the most logical conclusion, quit viewing her as a human being and started treating her like she didn't matter anymore.  Would getting her help a year ago have changed the progression of things?  Not in the slightest.  But at least she would have had an extra year of safety and wouldn't have spent the last year having both her kids abandon her.  And I would be able to hear people tell me what a great daughter I am without it making me feel uncomfortable, or like I'm a phony.  Good daughters don't turn their backs on their sick Mothers.

I don't worry about having the inner strength to advocate for my Mom, because I know I have it.  I have it in spades!  At the same time, I'm so overcome with mental fatigue between working so much the last couple months and now this....I seriously need to decompress.  I'll trudge on because that's what I do.  It's not something I do for kudos and in fact, it makes me feel gross when people heap praise on me for doing what is essentially my duty.  As her daughter and eldest child, it's my job to step up and take care of my Mom when she's not able to do so.  Not only that, but as a human being, it's only right that when you're in a position to help another human, you do it.  It's not even a question.  That should be the automatic response to situations like these.  At some point I will get a much needed break and it will restore my spirit and refill my spoons.  Time alone with my husband would be ideal.  Add 8 or 10 solid hours of sleep in there and it would be the closest thing to Heaven I've ever experienced.  Okay, that may be overstating, but you get my drift.  I'm tired.

I'm also scared.  I'm scared that I'm not balancing all of these things well enough and that my family is paying the toll for that.  I'm hardly ever home and when I am, I'm either bitchy or mentally shut down.  They're not getting the best parts of me right now.  They haven't for a couple months.  I'm scared of pushing them away or being so unavailable for so long that they stop relying on me.  I never feel adequate as a wife and mother, but these days it's even worse.  I don't just feel inadequate, I feel like a detriment.  Like I'm blocking them from happiness because I can't get my shit together and be what they need me to be.  It frightens me to think that I'll never be able to make up for all of this bullshit or that they'll realize I'm not worth the trouble and move along when I'm not looking.  My kids might be stuck with me, but my husband isn't.  How long will he settle for half the wife he deserves?

And finally, I'm feeling sad.  There is always that thought in the back of your head that one day your parents will become too old or too ill to take care of themselves and you will have to intervene.  You just never think that will happen when they're 54 and you're 35.  It's a lot sadder than you think it's going to be when you're actually doing it.  Seeing her experience the alcohol induced dementia also reopens the old wounds from watching my Granny and then my Grandma Coyote go down that path.  Theirs wasn't alcohol induced, obviously, but the symptoms are the same.  Our memories are our most precious possessions.  Losing them is quite possibly the worst thing in the world that could ever happen.  You don't have to have the greatest bond with someone to feel sympathy for them when you see those priceless memories slipping away.  I feel sad that she ever felt her life was so bad that she turned to addiction to numb the pain.  I feel sad for the relationship we should have had, but never will.  I feel sad that I never had a Mom that I could look up to, to learn from, or who fulfilled that need in me to be cared for.

However this all plays out, and in whatever state of mind I find myself in when I get to the other side, I hope I can say I've done my best for her or at least made up for all the ways I failed her in the past.  The fact of the matter is that she's my Mom.  I truly believe she had the best intentions when she became a Mother, but somehow those just got lost along the way.  Nobody sets out to be a terrible parent in the same way that no one will ever be a perfect one.  We do our best, strive to be better, and hope our kids aren't too fucked up in the end.  I'm nowhere near the ideal daughter, either.  We've both got flaws and have both made mistakes that put us where we are now.  All that's left is for me to pull up my big girl panties and make my Mom's remaining years as good as possible.  To make sure she's living in a safe environment, that she has her needs met, that she will never spend another night sleeping in a park or a shelter, and that no one can take advantage of her declined mental state.  I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and not feel ashamed at what a horrible child I've been.  I'll likely always carry some guilt with me, but I can take steps to smooth that over with the knowledge that I didn't abandon her when she needed me most.

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