Saturday, July 30, 2011

Momma Mia made me cry over my own Mom.

This blog is supposed to be about my mom but often it ends up being about my feelings - I suppose that's natural since I'm writing from my personal point of view and there is so much anxiety and guilt associated with sick and aging parents that it would not be right to exclude that from my various topics.   I've not added any posts since Mom's latest health scare because I've had little to share that's positive.  I've not wanted to whine, moan or complain.  This morning though, I was overwhelmed by such a deep sense of sadness that I must write about it.

For several years now I've wished so badly that I had the money to buy a big house, hire a staff of 4 to help with Mom and then just live, doing all the things that I enjoy and finding some way to make her a part of it - making jam, gardening, sewing - just those day to day things.  My mom is still curious - she wants to watch CNN and PBS, the history channel or animal planet but the set up in her room at the nursing home doesn't permit it.  I want to have her at home where she can have HER favorite chair, HER large screen TV, HER 4 walls around her - but she needs so much assistance, I just can't do it all.   I know she's not as happy as she could be; she longs for company from her family but my brothers never see her.  The saving grace is a neighbor who's tried to see her at least once a week and a cousin who's gone by now and then over the summer.   

My sobbing melt down came as I was reading news and watching Momma Mia on TV.  Meryl Streep was singing about loosing her daughter to adulthood.  The lyrics have her remembering sitting at the kitchen table with her little girl, spending simple times just eating or doing the day to day things.   It just hit me so hard to think of my mom enjoying those times with me, then watching me get my first car and taking off, leaving her in the house alone.  I remember leaving for college; she and my dad weren't getting along and I was in such a hurry to escape it.  I didn't think about her and that she might feel abandoned with no ability to drive herself (she had a stroke during my delivery which left her partially blind and with epilepsy), no job, no money of her own - she must have felt awful but that didn't occur to me.  I was happy to get the hell out of there, to be free to have fun.  I left and didn't look back to see her sad face.   To be fair to myself - I did visit often and called her every Sunday but it's not the same.

Now she's in the same boat - she's stuck there and I end up driving away. At least I always come back!  She has people around her but it's a string of different people and she can't do the things she enjoys. All she wants is to sit in her comfy chair with a remote to a TV she can easily see.   That's not too much to ask and I can't make it happen.   She's never asked for much of anyone yet she's done a lot for others just by creating a home where we could all feel welcome and supported.     I hate that I can't do that for her. Even taking her to her little house isn't possible - it needs so much repair and would require total remodeling to accommodate her wheelchair.  

As for me, I also miss my mom but the "mom" I miss doesn't show herself often due to pain, hearing loss and naps.  She has a good sense of humor; she's smart and witty.  She's done so many things and remembers how to do most of it - she's a wealth of information!!  She's also wise - which I miss, she always has good advice for me, though now I don't ask much because I don't want her to worry.  There's just so much I want to know about her, about my dad, my grandparents- I want so much for her to look forward to a good meal, to taste freshly picked berries, ice cream when she wants it not when it's on the menu; to sleeping in and eating when she wants not on someone else's schedule... to sit hear her roses and enjoy their color and scent in the warm sunshine..  this is how growing old should be not in some institution where she's a "client" not a person.  

Ah well, my crying won't help her and now I've got a head ache... all I can do is try to get there to love her and make her feel as loved as possible.   If anyone out there reads this - do me a favor - go love on your family.  Young or old, listen to their stories and ask them about the most important things in their life.   Talk WITH them and Listen; share things WITH them and you'll feel better about everything!