Sunday, September 6, 2009

My 3am worry sessions...

So here I am, again, 3am, wide awake, worrying and feeling frustrated. To stave off the inevitable heart burn that comes with these episodes, I'm sitting up on the couch in the dark listening to NPR on my laptop. This has become a weekly ritual for me over the past two years. It's not a pity party, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. When this happens my mind races with issues about Mom - or other things but mostly Mom or her business affairs - and I just can't sleep. I often wonder if it's my subconscious trying to solve problems that I don't have time for during my waking hours.

There are so many things distract me from helping my Mom - or put it correctly - I don't have time to do all the things I want to do for my Mom. Today, I'm thinking of things that aren't vital to her physical well being but are vital to her emotional well being: can she easily get to the sink to sit and brush her teeth daily? Is she getting help to her weekly hair appointments? What about a permanent before the holidays, a new phone with volume control, getting out of her room for a 2pm coffee date with a new acquaintance, getting to resident meetings to stimulate her.... and on and on.

I believe that the emotional aspect of her situation - her whole life really - is equally important and most often overlooked in cases like hers. The staff at her ALF just don't have the time to work with her individually, it's no different from me. I don't have the time either and I feel terrible guilt because I don't. It would be a full time job, like being a stay at home mom with a toddler; I'd be a stay at home daughter.

When it comes to our parents I believe that most of us are all still narcissist kids and we just can't wrap our heads around the change in our roles. I don't mean narcissist in the most self-centered negative sense. I mean that we are looking out for our selves; trying to keep our own heads above water with jobs, kids, our own households to tend. There's just so much to do that we tend not to see how much help our parents really need. Once you're able to do that the role reversal from child to parent-of-parent seems complete. After decades of expecting them to consider our emotional state and help teach us how to handle our own needs, we have to put that training to work and turn the tables to help them. We have to turn our attention away from ourselves (and our kids if we'd had them) to our parents.

At this moment, I feel better. This blog is a quick distraction but Mom's needs remain so for now I'll do what I can at 3am. I'll search the internet for a new phone, I'll email my sistern in law about getting Mom to a hair appointment. I'll add some things to my to do list and keep plugging away. It's what my Mom would do if she were awake at 3am and worried about her own mother.