Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Loss of logic and reason are hardest to handle

This morning I've hit a milestone. I'm fighting hot flashes, I have a migraine and I have not slept. I am so frustrated and upset that I'm ready to tell Mom to find someone else to handle her affairs. I feel that way right this second but it will pass. Stupidly, I never expected my logical, rational and sensible Mom to loose her ability to understand her situation. Here's what set this off:

Last night my cousin called to play a voice mail message that Mom left on his home phone more than a week ago. She requested his advice because she "doesn't like the way things are going here." Her voice sounded strong; there was her normal hint of stubborness she gets when she's feeling determined. My cousin understands that she's okay and her affairs are being handled well. He knows that I am not squandering her money. I, on the other hand, spent a sleepless night. Each time I began to drift off, I'd dream that I was arguing with Mom. I'd show her receipts, canceled checks for rent, prescriptions, shoes and such all to no effect.

Intellectually I know that she is dealing with a loss of control. Her body is failing, someone else is driving her routine, her funds are dwindling and she misses her own home. I guess I expect her to be at least a little grateful that I try to do so much for her. When I'm there with her and we talk about these things she gets it. She agrees that she can't be home, that her savings must be used for rent, that she needs things like new shoes. I leave feeling like things are okay then she makes a call to my brother, a friend or she gives me hell a week later.

I knew that dealing with my elderly Mom would be difficult but I just didn't expect to feel so drained by it all. I've always been a strong person, able to get a lot done and be practical and logical. There is no logic in her actions now and that's hard. I feel hurt - I know it's not Mom's intent, she can't help herself. The main reason my parents asked me to be their PoA and handle things is because I would NOT take such behavior personally and give up. But, the mom-child relationship is probably the MOST personal relationship we have - it's nearly impossible to separate the emotion from this relationship and respond to Mom's irrational thinking without hostile emotion. I need to respond with love and it's hard to do when she runs me down to others, when I have the same conversations about her needs and abilities over and over and over.

I remember my Mom sitting at the kitchen table crying in frustration and hurt after visits with her mother, Bertha. Bertha was in a nursing home, her short and mid- range memory long gone. She believed she was hospitalized after an appendectomy and expected to be released soon to go home to her husband and kids. She wondered to my Mom about the man that visited her.  She claimed he sold all of her nice glass ware and spent her money. The "man" was her eldest son; my favorite uncle and a good and honest man, who'd NEVER take advantage of her. For years she accused him of selling off her belongings -often things she never had at all. He finally stopped visiting. He was too hurt and felt that his mom was long gone. My Mom kept visiting out of a sense of duty, even after it was clear that Grandma didn't recognizer her as the daughter she longed to see at home.

I must admit to feeling better after venting here. I hoped to avoid venting on this blog but my feelings are honest and being honest is freeing. Things are coming full circle - I watched my Grandma help her elderly parents. I helped my Mom deal with Grandma, now I'm going through the same thing with her. I must remind myself that Mom is changed. Like my uncle, I feel my Mom is long gone. Because I love "that" woman, I will continue to help this one and hope that some portion of the logical and rational part of her comes through now and then.