Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Am I Different?

I've read blogs written by strangers, blogs they have written about their loved one with alzheimers or dementia. Their writings talk of having more love, feeling more love, feeling that their loved one is their hero, a whole new admiration for their loved one with dementia. I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes because these writings move me. But mostly I get the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes because I DON'T feel that way about my mother. Why am I different than the strangers whose writings I read? I don't feel more love or that my mother is my hero (at least not in the way the 'strangers' write); what I feel is sadness, anger, frustration, resentment, guilt, hopelessness, dismay, annoyed. Everything I'm feeling is negative. I've gotten to a point where I don't want to talk to my mom on the phone and I don't want to see her very often. Why do I feel this way? I know it isn't because I don't love my mother any less than I ever have. I love my mother the same that I always have....I love her a lot.

This is upsetting to me. Before Mom's dementia got too bad I talked with her on the phone daily, saw her several times during the week, and we'd meet out for lunch regularly. I really enjoyed the time I spent with Mom and our talks on the phone. I truly considered Mom one of my very dear friends in addition to being my mother. I loved calling her for advise, she could always give the best. I really miss those times. This disease has made my mother an angry person, a person that I no longer know. Maybe I'm afraid of her, afraid to be around her?

Now when I talk to Mom her conversations always revolve around being sick; Dad being sick; Dad leaving her stranded somewhere unknown; Dad refusing to "take me home" (when she IS at home but she doesn't know it); being left with her father (who died in 1974); Dad leaving her with a strange man (who is actually my dad). There is rarely any conversation with her that is in the present day. Phone calls and visits feel very stressful to me.

I miss the relationship I had with Mom. I miss it terribly. I go to a support group for advise and to learn but they don't help me feel the "love" that I think I'm missing or the admiration I once had for her.

I have a family of my own. I'm married with two children. I love them more than my own life. But part of me feels hollow, I guess, because my mother is still 'here' physically but her 'real-self' is gone. That is the only way I can think of to define this situation. I do have some great female mentors in my life and I love them very mom's sister Margaret, my mother-in-law Rose. I lean on each of them a lot with different things but the bottom line is that they aren't Mom.

I AM around to help my parents, both of them, when they need help. I AM around to help take care of some of their 'business' when it's needed. But it's so difficult for me to go for a casual visit. It's almost more than I can bare. I am on edge because of the unknown with Mom, not knowing what she will say, what story will she "make up", will she be angry. Frankly, for me, it is exhausting.

Dad, if you read this I'm so sorry for feeling this way. I'm really struggling to work through this on top of everything else and still stay focused enough to raise my own kids and keep my relationship with my husband in tact.

Still, wondering why I'm so different than those strangers. I hope my feelings will change before it is too late. I love both of my parents so much. I am so confused.

This picture is Mom helping me down the slide in our backyard. I remember this moment, somehow, like it was yesterday. I wonder if Mom does? (circa 1969)


Cherie said...

Just wanted to let you know that I've been thinking of you and your fam! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

believe me, you are not alone. i've had some of the very same feelings about my mom. it's normal and ok