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Adult Daughter Support Group Most Liked Hot Conversation

( Flickr photo, "Crazy," by KT Lindsay)

“Hello, my name is Linda, and I am the adult daughter of an elderly mother who is making me nuts.”

That would be my first admission to a group titled 4MN, if there was such a group. At 4MN, we would all have the same complaint, though different evidences of our claim: “My Mother Makes Me Nuts!”

There are women out there whose mothers have passed away, and they miss them terribly. My heart goes out to these women, as it does to those who never knew a mother’s love at all. When I think of these, I hurt for them deeply. I realize my complaints are petty, and I should be counting my blessings. And I do, I really do. Mom is a sweet and wonderful person, and I’m so fortunate to have her still with me. But–and there’s always a but–she’s making me nuts!

I want to be able to make that claim without feeling the guilt the motherless can heap upon me; however well-intentioned their motives, those who say, “Be grateful for every day you have with her,” make me feel guilty and defensive. I am grateful, but that doesn’t change the fact she makes me nuts. I want to vent to people who know I’m just venting. I want to get angry in front of folks who realize anger doesn’t mean I hate my mother. I want to cry, and stop being strong, and hand all the decisions over to someone else for a while.

I want to be the kid again!

It’s like this: I’ve been living at her house since the end of March. She’s been ill–nothing life-threatening, but some painful problems, some irritating problems, a couple of new problems. In other words, it’s been one thing after another for her, and we can’t seem to get her body out of its rebellion.

Most recently, her red blood cell count dropped to 7.8 per whatever-unit-it’s-measured-in. That’s 7.8 out of 12, which is considered normal. Mom won’t ever be “normal” again because of some physical problems, but 7.8 is low, even for her. In the not-too-distant past, the doctor has given her a blood transfusion when she’s as low as 8.4, but this time, the doctor didn’t. I don’t know why–she tried to explain it to us, but we were so rushed for some reason, no explanation seemed to stick in my head. Mom got an iron-drip IV just before the office closed, and another later in the week.

But over the weekend, the one time I get to see my husband, she was dizzy-headed, weak, lethargic–all the signs of anemia–and her home health nurse wanted to send her to the ER for a blood transfusion. Since I was out on a rare date, Mom talked her into waiting to see what I said about it. What I said–me. The one who wanted her to have a transfusion in the first place.

This was Saturday night. I heard both sides:

“She needs a transfusion,” the nurse said.

“I don’t want to go to the emergency room,” Mom whined.

So we didn’t. Since she wasn’t going to do anything all weekend but watch TV, we waited until Monday when she endures her scheduled blood draw anyway. We could decide then.

The nurse came early the next morning, and took her blood with intentions to have it tested STAT, and talk the doctor into giving Mom a blood transfusion.

“But that’ll be another needle,” Mom whined. And I understand. She gets three shots a week plus the blood draw, and I know she feels like a pin cushion, but–

“Don’t you want to get better?”

“I’ll miss my allergy shot.”

“No you won’t,” the nurse says. “I’ll bring it to you in the hospital if I have to.”

“What about my hair appointment?”

Okay, just to interject here: this is what I’m talking about. Her hair??? She makes me nuts.

“Your hair appointment is tomorrow, Mom. We’re going to try to get you in today.”

“Oh.” She looks up at me with sad sulky eyes, and I just hurt for her. I know what it’s like to believe that getting well is an impossibility. And when the very treatment being offered as the avenue to health involves a needle, I know how it feels to dread being stuck again. Been there, done that.

But at some point, I want her well enough I can go home for awhile. Is that asking too much?

The results come in, the nurse from the doctor’s office calls. “Her count is 8.4. Up five points. Do you still want her to have a transfusion?”

I tell Mom what the man says. “What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. What do you think we should do?”

And this is where it really starts to hurt. She is showing improvement after the IV even though she’s at the exact same count she was the last time they threw her in for a transfusion. She doesn’t want to go to the hospital, doesn’t want a needle in her arm for hours on end, and I understand.

But she’ll feel so much better with the transfusion. The dizziness and lethargy will end, she’ll be able to do more without tiring so easily, her heart will benefit.

And I’ll get to go home. Which is the rub. I want her to have the transfusion, but am I being selfish? Shouldn’t I wait and see if her count continues to climb?

Letting her count climb on its own can take weeks–even months. I’m so homesick, I get teary-eyed at the very thought of having to stay here a minute longer.

The decision is on my shoulders. It’s up to me to decide the best course of action.

And I want to be three years old, and hide in Mama’s lap, and let someone else figure out the hard stuff.

Her eyes are so sad, her little arms bruised from needle-pricks. She’s so weak, but seems better than the day before. Maybe tomorrow will be even better. Maybe.

After the mental battle to wrestle a decision from indecisiveness, I say no to the transfusion.

Thirty minutes later, after I’ve given myself a talking to and convinced myself I made the right decision, she says, “Maybe I should have that transfusion. It’ll make me feel better faster, won’t it?”

She makes me nuts. She makes me absolutely nuts!

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Posted in 777 Peppermint Place, family & relationships, other topics, Our Blog Circle.

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57 Responses

  1. Debi Drecksler Debi Drecksler says

    As a woman who lost my Mother when I was 41 (after a 14 year illness) I say this with love and compassion…Try to look at each experience with your Mother as a memory in the making because …When you look back, you will remember the good times faster than the bad times…I promise! Hugs, Debi

    6 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      I know you’re right, Debi. And I do cherish my time with Mom. So sorry about yours.

      1 like

      • Generic Image GrannyNanny says

        I think you are incredibly selfish and un-appreciative of what a mother sacrifices for their children. Its time for you to give back, be respectful and perhaps you should stop driving your mother nuts.

        4 like

      • LILDEE LILDEE says

        I know exactly what you are saying, but why are u living with her? I could not live with my parents at this stage of the game, it would make me nuts too. don’t feel guilty, I have both of my parents still. My dad still drinks and when he gets drunk, watch out! He’s mean and abusive, so I and one other brother keep our distance. My other brother, on the other hand, says we’re crazy, it’s not like that at all. It is a very crazy making situation.
        So yeah, ppl who have lost their parents, I feel for your loss. But not all parents are wonderful. My dad was a drunk when I was young and still is at 86. And my mom is an absolute control freak. I will never move in with them again!

        2 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Granny Nanny,
      If I were “incredibly selfish and un-appreciative of what a mother sacrifices for their children,” I wouldn’t be here with her. You may have misread my post. My mother and I are incredibly close–even if she does make me nuts. I will give you this, though: I probably make her nuts too. We have a give-and-take relationship that way.
      If your kids love you half as much as I love Mom, you’re a lucky woman.
      Linda
       

      13 like

      • Generic Image Buddy says

        Hi, Linda, I am so sorry to read of this extremely stressful situation you are in with your dear Mom.  Of course, you need to vent, and this can (generally) be a good forum in which to do so.  One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is the consideration of whether your Mom may be hospice eligible, although it doesn’t sound like it from what I’m reading here.  But, you will get a significant amount of addtl. help and support from hospice staff and volunteers, once that sad determination has been made, and Medicare picks up the tab.  I fully empathize with your dilemma, having taken care of my own beloved Mom for the larger part of the last ten years of her life.  I remember people saying to me then that I’d be happy I had been able to be such a help to her after she was gone.  I found those remarks singularly useless in those days, primarily because, when you’re in the thick of things, the inevitable conclusion of your elder care nightmare seems forever away–and if you can think of it at all (you really can’t), you almost imagine that your Mother’s death may come as a relief to you both.  It won’t, though.  Devoted daughters who are close to their Moms are often thrown into a complete abyss of mourning after their Moms have died–I certainly was (my Mom died three years ago), and it appears that other posters here had the same experience.  Not to say, however, that I wasn’t driven close to the brink of insanity during the worst of the caregiving years, but only to note that it does bring me some modicum of comfort now to know I did my best for my Mom when she needed me most, as my Mom had always done for me from the day I was born.   It’s a tough spot you’re in, but you are doing a great job; grab help where you can and vent as needed!!!

        7 like

    • nanafatma nanafatma says

      Hello Debi, I was there in your shoes for over 4 years.  I realte to your story.  My Mom is now in a long term facility.for a year and half.  It broke my heart when I had to admit her to a home.  It took her and me almost 7 months to adjust to this transition.  I was in what a call total darkness…or you may call total eclipse of the heart for 7months, not being able to lift the darkness.  Brother came from Egypt every second month to see Mom, and begged me to take a break and go with him to Cairo, where I was born.  Couldn’t even hear of it.  I was like a mule who worked so hard for over 21 years of being single mother for 4 daughters and then mothering my parents, while looking after grandchildren.  The mule just stopped its tracks and refused to budge for 7 months of total isolation, and going up and down emotionally with my Mom’s turbulant adjustment to her new home.  Finally she got the right combination of medication, after the Psychologist looking after her, agreed with me that she needed relaxing anti-depressant and taken off the Aricept memory pills.  Things improved for her and me.  I started reading again and enjoying music which I had turned off for I couldn’t even listen to any.  I read two books that helped me climb out of my bottomless pit, they were, Year by the Sea, and Eat Pray, Love.  I realted to the two women’s emotional torment, more than there healing path.  I chose my own healing path, through my faith and prayers to God to descend his light into my ecplpised heart…slowly but surley He did dscend it, so as not to blind me after the darkness.  Took a much needed 3 week break with extended family in Egypt, what a difference.  They filled my empty cup and I came back much loving and caring for her.  I was emptied out, but I am now full of compassion and love for my family.  Everything was a dreaded chore when I was operating over my stress limits as per a therapist’s diagnosis.  I burned out and now I am revived.

      It is not selfishness that we cry out for help, it is not selfiness taht we seek respite, it is in the best interest of those we care for.  PLEEEEAAAASSSSSEEE, those of you who call caregivers selfish, try and walk in their shoes at the time of the pain.  The emotional pain is harder than the phiysical pain, it drains one’s inside and hollows it out if we cannot talk about it, even if we sound selfish…we are not, it is selfish of us, not seek help and respite as we harm everyone around us who depend on us, when we are overwhelmed and burnt out.

      10 like

      • Laurabel Laurabel says

        There are caregiver support groups online that may interest you. One I subscribe to is the Caregiver Newsletter. You might also find you’re not alone if you watch this video with actual caregivers who ultimately found it necessary to put their family member in a nursing facility. Being a caregiver is very, very tough. I think some people underestimate just how tough. Best to you and all who look for support. My heart is with you.

        2 like

  2. Haralee Haralee says

    Get the blood. She has to get her energy and yes it is uncomfortable but you are the boss. With your own children or yourself some one had to be the boss and make the choices that are tough but good for everyone involved. I know, trust me, I know, it is hard to think of Mom more as a kid than an adult but we all will be there. Once an adult, twice a child. She is lucky to have you!

    5 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      We have a plan. Since the nurse said we can call back any time and schedule her for a transfusion, we’re going to give her Procrit shot a chance to work. If it doesn’t, we’re going to schedule the transfusion.
      It’s the best compromise I could come up with.

      2 like

  3. Generic Image Violet says

    I do empathize with those who have lost their moms, but think we should look at this as a separate group of problems. I think it’s perfectly normal that you would love your mom very much but be driven crazy by the behaviors you are describing. I doubt she has any understanding of how difficult her indecisiveness is, she is likely afraid of her illness/es, too sick to think as clearly as she once did, etc. You are on the scene, so you would know best if this would help, but it seems to me that simple declarative sentences about your feelings, frustrations and needs might be of some benefit here. “Mom, I really want to do what is best for you and I know it is hard to decide but let’s make a decision and stick with it” or ” I care very much about your health but I also need to spend sometime with (whoever) tonight and I’ll be back at 10:00.” Also, I am worried about how homesick you are and really think you owe yourself a break. This is very tough work you are doing and you can’t be of much use to her if you are totally depleted emotionally, physically or whatever.  Are there other siblings that can help you? Can you get in a sitter of some sort – anyone who can give you a break? Take care of yourself, 
    Violet

    8 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Violet–thank you for recognizing that loss of a mom is different group of problems. Sometimes I wish those who have lost their moms would for a minute just remember how nuts they could make us. They know all the buttons to push, right? Acknowledging this doesn’t mean that losing her won’t hurt.
      Thanks for your practical advice. I do express my feelings occasionally as tenderly as I know how. And after she calmed down, we discussed this decision, too. But making snap decisions is impossible around here!
      As for my homesickness, I’m going home in early June for a while and hire someone to check in on her. I’m her only remaining child, so there isn’t anyone else to share this with, but I do get out periodically, and that helps.
      Thanks so much for your concern!

      6 like

  4. ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that your mother drives you nuts; mine does as well, in a totally different way.  That doesn’t mean we don’t love them, appreciate them, appreciate the fact that they’re still around or anything of the sort.  It just means that they can drive us nuts!
     
    The good side of it is that I know what not to do to my kids! ♥

    7 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      How funny! Mom said the same thing about her mom, and it’s true–she doesn’t do the same things. She’s got a-whole-nother arsenal!

      3 like

  5. Ms. Elegance Ms. Elegance says

    I cared for both my parents and interestingly enough, of the 3 children, I bore the burden -willingly.  My father had abused me repeatedly as a child with severe beatings.  I even ran away from home at the age of 14.
    The wonderful part about all of this is that as he was dying,, my last words to him were “I love you, Daddy.  Sleep with the angels.” 
    I have never regretted the task I was given to help my parents when they needed me.  I actually wrote a book which is now an ebook.  It took me across the  country giving presentations and workshops to family and professional caregivers.

    1 like

    • ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

      Ms. E, you are an example of forgiveness and putting the past behind you.  Good for you!!  It’s probably the greatest gift you can give to yourself, as well as others. ♥

      0 like

    • Liane Liane says

      This post by Linda is about how SHE feels and how difficult she is finding it. I cannot see how it helps to have your saintliness, books and book tours brandished in her face. If you are indeed a caregiver, you will know that sometimes the caregiver needs caring for, which is why Linda wrote the post in the first place. Perhaps offering some empathy would have been more appropriate.

      10 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      How beautiful! I’m so happy for you! Forgiveness is so vital for all concerned, and I’m so glad you were able to.

      I was fortunate. Mom has always been a great mother and my best friend. Dad was always my hero. The troubles my family faced usually came from outside the family unit. We were blessed that way.

      Caring for elderly parents has its own set of frustrations, but it doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Thanks for sharing with me!

      5 like

  6. Robin Donovan, Menologues Robin Donovan, Menologues says

    Linda,

    Wow, do I understand what you’re going through. I am the good daughter – I would do anything for my Mother. She knows that and she loves and appreciates me. And then she traps me between a rock and a hard place – and they both start to move in to crush me.

    Some days she says “I think I need to move closer to where you live.” And I say “OK Mom we’ll start to identify some places for you too look at when you’re out here.” The next time we talk I say “We found a few places that would be really good for you to move into.” And she responds as though mortally wounded “My home is here, how could you possibly expect me to leave my home and friends. And besides, I couldn’t possibly think of doing anything until I sell my home.” This is a recurring theme – and I am always the villian!

    We have several of these scenarios – I play them differently each time – but I always seem to be the villian. A wise woman said – it’s because she sees you as the authority figure when it should be her – and she resents it because of what it means about her life stage. I get that – but I’m still tired of being the villain.

    I get that you make the choice that you feel is best for her and will make her happiest – and then you fret and doubt your decision.
    When she takes your advice and it doesn’t work out – she doesn’t openly blame you – but she does remind you that her knee doesn’t feel any better after the surgery, therapy, fish pills, etc. So you feel indicted.

    I love her and value every moment I have her. I tell her that as often as I can. I know it makes her very happy.

    I miss my Dad (who died 7 years ago) very very much. I miss our conversations. But I will never forget that there were frequently conversations when he drove me up the wall – and when I think of these instances I look up to the sky and say “Man Dad, you could sure be a pain in the ass.”

    It is absolutely possible to love and cherish someone who makes you completely crazy – why pretend – it is what it is!

    7 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Bless you for writing, Robin! You *do* understand!!! I was beginning to feel alone!

      Mom is the same way about moving, the same about reminding me of good decisions gone bad, and the same about loving me. There is no doubt about the love between us, but moms are notorious “button-pushers” and they know where all the buttons are.

      Thank you so much for writing. I feel like I’ve got a kindred spirit out there!!!

      1 like

  7. Generic Image Big Dog Mom says

    When my dear MIL was alive, Hubby and I had a saying . . . “We’re gonna miss her when she’s gone, but right now she’s making me crazy!”  And it’s so true.  She was ill for 13 years and the last two years were particularly rough with lots of hospital stays and lots of love and devotion.  Yes, she was stubborn and cranky and a pain in the neck.  Yes, she had to do it all her way and would never admit that there might be a better/easier/faster way to do things to make life easier for her or to help her feel better.  She lived life on her own terms and she held our feet to the fire to make sure she got exactly what she wanted when she wanted.  I’m proud to say that I was able to give her the kind of life and death that she wanted.  Towards the end she admitted that she was a pain in the neck and that Hubby and I worked very hard to help her . . . and that’s all that matters.  Rant and rave and vent all you want . . . those of us who have been there will understand . . . and we will be here for you whenever you need us!!

    4 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Bless you for understanding! I may have to vent occasionally. Mom’s more the passive-aggressive type, and I have to be careful sometimes with what I say and how I respond to her. She’s a funny, wonderful, sweet pain in the posterior!

      1 like

  8. Debbie823 Debbie823 says

    Linda, it sounds like you’re dealing with all of this alone. Do you have any siblings to help you? Don’t listen to any criticism and don’t try to defend yourself. If you were selfish, you wouldn’t have moved in with your mother to take care of her!!! I think you’re a wonderful daughter.
    I totally understand how you feel and what you’re going through. My mother drives me nuts too in a totally different way. (Although I did laugh about the hair appointment!) It doesn’t mean I don’t love her and it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate what mothers do for their children. You are incredibly brave about posting your thoughts and what you needed was a “support group” not criticism and lectures. I have recently become a yoga instructor (graduated at age 59!) and my yoga has helped me manage so many things in my life. BUT ~ my mother is one area that has become my biggest work. She still knows how to press my buttons and I become that child again, trying to be perfect. It has taught me a lot though, a lot about mothering. Two weeks ago my youngest son said to me, “I don’t understand, Mom. I don’t understand that at age 60 she can influence you so much!” That made me so happy. The fact that he didn’t understand let me know that I didn’t do the same thing to him. Before I get loads of criticism and all kinds of posts saying how lucky I am that she’s still with me ~ don’t you think I know that? Sometimes we need support from friends, not lectures.

    8 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Debbie, Out of the four kids Mom had, I’m the only one still living. That alone keeps me sympathetic to her–especially now. Between the time I wrote this piece and now, my stepson died suddenly. The fact that Mom survived the pain of three such losses amazes me.

      Your son really gave you the ultimate compliment, didn’t he?!

      Thanks for your understanding–and for defending me! I was really beginning to feel alone until I read the rest of the comments today!

      2 like

  9. Adrienne Marks Adrienne Marks says

    Linda you’re not bad, mad or dangerous to know; my mother died 5 years ago; suffered from dementia for 5 years before her death but before that she was definitely a wonderful funny p-in-the-a!! for hyears she was deaf and when we moved her to a new apartment rather than the large house i grew up in she accused me of throwing all her stuff out (only the rubbish she’d accumulated over the years!)putting stuff away where she couldnt’d find it, etc etc.  10 years on and she was happy there but still drove me mad; getting more and more deaf as the years went on i bought her a ‘loop’ which was connected to the television so she could have it on loud and not disturb the neighbours; she would tell me it didnt work and I would find it thrown under a chair, and I’d get phone calls from her upstairs neighbours complaining that her radio was on so loudly on a sunday morning when the poor man was having his lie in! if I confronted her about it she’d accuse me of siding with him… she also suffered with aneamia and on one occasion I was told at the hospital that they couldn’t give her a transfusion because the blood was £90 a bottle! I asked them if that meant that as she was old she didnt deserve it.  She did get it eventually.   My cousin (female and an only child) went through the same with her mother – except she’d go round in the morning on her way to work and my aunt would have packed a suitcase because she was going away… eventually she went into a home and is there now.  a good friend of mine who’se mother lived in Scotland (we’re in London UK) had similar problems with her mother, who would accuse the neighbours of stealing from her and then saying no one ever comes in to see her!  Another friend is currently is Israel with her mother helping her to move house; her mother widowed less than a year ago cannot cope on her own and dispite the fact that her daughter lives in the UK, calls every night to rant at her about all sorts of things.
    So don’t feel bad Linda – they all do it.
    and it’s amazing how it’s always daughters that do the caring.  I have a brother who did nothing for my mother – my friends and cousin are only children so obviously it falls on them
    Keep up your strength, don’t feel bad – we know you love her but aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
    love hugs and kisses
    Adrienne

    1 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Oh goodness! I thought I had a hard time with Mom being 2-1/2 hours away! I can’t imagine having to travel from one country to another to care for her!

      Mom’s not deaf or senile either, so I truly do need to count my blessings. Nothing can make your problems feel more petty than discovering the ones others have faced.

      Thanks for writing, my soul sister!

      0 like

      • Generic Image cfish2 says

        Oh my dearest Linda,
        You are not alone! My 88 year old mom lives with me and has for the past 8 years. I had lived in the midwest for a long time, divorced and realized I should move back to Florida as Mom was getting older and Dad had been gone a few years. I have 2 siblings that come to visit weekly for a short while as they live close and a brother that lives next door and helps as much as possible. I would be locked up in a rubber room if it were not for him. My other 2 siblings know that she makes me crazy sometimes and they try to help, but let’s face it…she lives with me.
        My mother has been a great mom and I adore her. I appreciate the time I am getting to spend with her, so the people that think we are selfish brats should remember that. It is hard to become the parent and that is what we are. But there are days that I kick myself for ever moving back here. The neediness and guilt that is laid on me is unbelieveable. I am out of work right now and it is really taking a toll on me as I am here ALL the time. And when I try to get out of the house alone, I get the whiny, guilt making from her.
         I also go through the “you are such a terrible daughter” feelings that you are going through. I am so sorry you are going through this. I have so much empathy for you as I live it every day.
        I am going to follow this blog as I will have the days I need to “be a child” and I hope I can be here for others who need the same.
        We are not women who don’t love or care for our mothers. We are the ones that are taking care of them, so I believe we are entitled to “have a fit” once in a while.
        Bless you. I’ve got your back!!

        Cheryl

        6 like

  10. Generic Image Pamela1955 says

    Hi Linda,
    I understand all of your statements. My mom passed away one year ago on July 4 of this year. I do miss her terribly, as I have started to remember the good times. She gradually slipped into dementia over a seven year period. She spent the last 15 months of her life in a nursing home near me. Prior to placing her there, it was a battle to make her take her medicine and try to help her stay clean. She would have a mini-stroke, sleep a long time, then come back full force physically, losing something mentally each time. The last night in the hospital, which led to the nursing home I stayed in the room with her. During the night she kept trying to get up and take off. I would hold her legs down, getting a very nasty glare and comment from her. Honestly, I thought how easy it would be to hold a pillow over her head. Sounds terrible, but I really thought that. It does get that difficult. Let me add, my mother and I were incredibly close, we spent lots of time together for years and years. i know all of this doesn’t help you, but know that you are in the same position as a lot of people are now in, and have been in previously. I certainly don’t think you are selfish at all for wanting some time for yourself. I think you are doing a great job!!

    3 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Wow, Pamela, you really had a time of it! I appreciate your comments, and I know your good memories will soon replace the pain of the recent ones!
       

      0 like

  11. Generic Image nancybee says

    I guess I was lucky.  My mom took care of my Dad (who had ruined his health from drinking and smoking) until he died 15 years ago.  To be honest, I was totally relieved when he died.  He had had failing health the last 15 years of his life.  My mother lived another 8 years and died 7 years ago.  She was never a burden and although she also had emphesema and failing heart (also from smoking) she was never a whiner or complainer.  She lived with my brother.  And then quietly died while watching the Superbowl.  I was a working divorced single mother and I don’t think I could have stood having the burden of a sick parent although I certainly would have done it if I had to.

    My only suggestion to you is try to get other family members to help you.  Ask the nurse if there are any programs where a caregiver can come over and help.  ASK FOR HELP!  Don’t play the martyr out of guilt.  Alot of woman end up alone and taking care of themselves after many years of taking care of their children and husbands.  In the end, the husband usually dies before her and she has to pick up the pieces and take care of herself.

    1 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Nancy, I was fortunate to discover Mom’s home health nurse loves her tremendously. She’s trustworthy and conscientious, so I’ve been able to place Mom in her competent hands for a while.  Of course, Mom’s feeling better now, otherwise, I’d still be with her!

      0 like

  12. Generic Image Anonymous says

    Hi Linda,

    How old is your mom? Sorry, if I missed that somewhere. I ask because, IMHO, if she is younger in her 60-70′s and there’s a chance of her getting better, you should take charge and do whatever you can to help her become healthy again. But, if you know she’s not going to get any better and she has no quality of life left,  allow her to enjoy little pockets of things like fruit loops for breakfast or watching TV all weekend. In other words, give her comfort care.

    2 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      That’s terrific advice. Mom’s ailments aren’t fatal, so I push and prod to do what I can to help her get well. The blood transfusion thing just threw me. After six surgeries in three years, and several years worth of IV treatments, I knew exactly how she felt about getting another needle stuck in her arm. Since there was a chance she’d get better without the transfusion, I decided it was a safe choice. Fortunately, she’s well enough now I can be home for a while!

      0 like

  13. Generic Image Susan Avello says

    I hear these stories all the time, especially in my line of work. These feelings are so commonplace and you should be allowed to vent. Kudos to you, dear friend.

    2 like

  14. Generic Image majorsa says

    Oh my goodness!  This has been SO helpful to me, all these replies – my mother is positively making me physically ill with her nuttiness and I love and adore her.  She’s up North, I’m in Florida – my brother lives next door to her but I am the one she must hear from EVERY day by 6:30 or I get the call – “I didn’t hear from you.”  When I do talk to her, I never have to say anything, I just listen to her complain about everyone and everything – it just seems like she has become intolerant of everyone except me and my brother.  His one son and his grandson are the light of my Mom’s eye – they do NO wrong.  My five children and nine grandchildren are just like an afterthought to her.  She complains that she never sees them and they don’t know her but she will not attempt to come to Florida to see anyone.  I come home once a year for a week, only to listen to how wonderful my brother and his family are for the whole week.  When I am home, everything revolves around whether it is convenient for my brother and his family or not.  I know you hear jealousy in my voice and it is there – I haven’t lived at home for 42 years so I really do have my own life.  My brother has always lived near my Mom but has his own life and occasionally includes my Mom.  I get to hear ALL the bad things in my Mom’s life.  I try as best I can to help her long-distance – I won’t go into all the details because it is a long story.

    Right now I am wrestling with guilt because I am going to the beach for a week next month BEFORE I go home to see Mom because I need some mental R&R before I face this but she grills me daily about when I am coming home and did I buy my ticket yet. 

    Now the part where I hate myself – my Mom has always been there for me financially since the day I was born – she still is if I need her (I’m a widow and have had financial issues – my husband died suddenly and there was not much insurance).  She would give anything for me but I feel like I give nothing in return and I don’t even want to go home.  I would love to see her, I want to see her but I don’t want to go home.  What is wrong with me?  I should add that she is 85, in quite good health physically but has many mental/emotional issues with anxiety/depression/panic attacks/feelings of worthlessness, etc.  She has had these all her life.  She suggests constantly that I should just move up with her – it is no longer my home, I cannot leave all my children and grandchildren who are here in Florida – my husband and I loved back to Florida just for that purpose. 

    Thank you all for letting me “spill my guts” in print.  I feel like an ungrateful, 64-year-old brat – I don’t EVER want my Mom to die – I will feel like an orphan but not living close enough to deal with her is just killing me mentally.

    2 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      I think we all need an opportunity to vent without getting our heads chopped off. Glad you jumped at the chance. I wish you tons of luck and patience with your mom–and with yourself!

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  15. MrsB MrsB says

    Here’s my take on the situation. Your mother craves the attention she gets when is is “ill” and she wants you to dedicate your life to her. Look at it this way: a mother spends years raising a child and then the child grows up, goes off to college and or gets married and starts a life of her own. She feels abandoned at just the age when you are a functioning adult and all her hard work should show some kind of payback. It’s not exactly healthy but it is what it is. Perhaps you could get your mom into some kind of community focused group of women who get together and play cards, go for walks, kniw and bitch about life, etc. She has gotten herself enscounced in the “pity me” rut of never finding her own solutions but depending on you for her happiness. That will never work of course, because she has to be the source of her own happiness. And that is her responsibility. Maybe a therapist would benefit her, she could pay someone to listen to her problems. Under no circumstances are you required to be her enabler. Take her to the local library and stock up on some good, LARGE PRINT books. Take her to a yarn store and buy supplies. Does she like to knit, paint, corchet, do hand crafts? She is likely bored with sitting aroundthe house and needs outside stimulation, separate from you. She needs to keep herself active until the day she dies. My father was a teacher and a mason back in the older days. Until he took his last breath, he read, workied in the garden and scouted the newspaper ads for “deals”. When his arthritis got bad, he sat and read and then went for short walks or drove into town to go to the library. He and my mother were voracious readers.  I wonder how your mother would react to a weekly get-together of people her own age who shared a meal. Like a church group. One has to be inventive in planning out the last years they are blessed to be on this earth. Could she take up riding one of those adult tricycles? Exercise in good for the brain and emotional well-being. Meetings others her own age would be a good thing. Craft lessons at a senior center might be within her ability and budget. In the end, she needs to find her own source of happiness.

    1 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      So many of your suggestions would be wonderful if Mom were physically capable of doing them. With her macular degeneration, she’s limited even more as to what she can do.
      I don’t deny she wants me to stay with her, but I came across that ploy several years ago and put a stop to it. There’s simply no way I can. Not now. Maybe in the future . . . and she understands that.

      0 like

  16. sunnione sunnione says

    Hi Linda,
    I am in the exact same situation as you.  My mother even lived with us for 4 years.  She is now in an assisted living facility and she couldn’t be happier!  I strongly recommend that you reach out to A Place for Mom (aplaceformom.com).  It’s a great organization.  I reached out to them a little over a year ago, in a frazzled, exasperated state much like you appear to be.  They were kind, wonderful and understanding.  They helped me understand that what was best for my  mom was for me to take care of me (put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on others who can’t, right?).  They helped me find the perfect home for mom, in a community of people just like her.
    She absolutely thrived.  She has friends, she plays bingo, goes on trips, gets 3 meals a day, attends dances… it goes on and on.  I am no longer wracked with guilt, and now when I go see my mom we can actually spend quality, loving time together.
    At the point when I called them, I felt like my mom was incapable of making decisions about anything anymore… hair appointments, doctor appointments, what groceries to buy.  I was exhausted.  But the more dependent I allowed her to be on me, the fewer decisions she would make.  What I didn’t know is that my mom longed to be independent again, but felt like she was no longer capable of making even the smallest of decisions (and a lot of that was my fault. it’s the leader in me). Giving her back a part of her independence in a loving, nurturing environment is exactly what we both needed.  We are both at peace and both happy.
    I wish you the best Linda.  I know exactly where you are.

    1 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Thank you so much! That sounds like a wonderful resource. I’ll keep it in mind for the next time I approach Mom about assisted living.
      I’m so glad your mom is doing well. Makes life easier, doesn’t it?

      1 like

  17. Generic Image Margaret Fleming says

    I’m going to be 73 Saturday.  It sounds like your mom doesn’t have a support group where she can vent without it’s being labelled whining!  Doctors and nurses don’t always know what will work and when it will stop working and when you might get better on your own.  Very young adults also hate needles and emergency rooms–from experience! My daughters have been going through similar things with their grandmother, and it makes me wonder what my turn will be like!

    Perhaps it would be good to record some of your conversations and see if both parties are being sane and reasonable and logical.

    I wish you well.

    1 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Margaret, As someone who has endured six major surgeries in three years, and for several years afterward enduring IV treatments, I was well aware of what Mom was going through, which ultimately led to the decision not to put her through it. I do regret the use of the word “whine,” because ordinarily Mom doesn’t whine–she doesn’t even complain much. But that day, she did whine. And as torn as I was about the decision I had to make, it hurt me to hear it and I so wanted her to stop.
      I hope your 73rd birthday was wonderful, and I hope you have family members who love you as much as I love Mom. I also hope you can find the understanding in your heart to be forgiving when they get frustrated.

      0 like

  18. Gardenia Gardenia says

    I am sorry for the negative comments you have received but please let them roll off and realize that perhaps each person will handle THEIR OWN situation as it arises and should not perhaps stand in judgment of others.  A support group is a super idea, if it is confined to support not judgement.

    I have gone through much of the same with my grandmother who is now deceased AND my mother, and I am tomorrow getting on a plane to once again cross the country to attend to mother.

    My thoughts in regard to your post is that, yes, you need to let it out in a safe place without condemnation.  Why reason seems to leave some elderly when they become ill, I am not sure – as, like you, have been through all that including anemia, transfusions, pulmonary embolisms from transfusions, etc., in my sixties without requiring my daughters come live with me.  If I get to the point I can’t go it alone, I have assessed the fact that keeping a home may become beyond my abilities, and I may need to make arrangements for a different style of living as my children are raising children and have lives of their own.  

    My mother is NOT choosing that option, and makes herself absolutely miserable because “No one will take care of me.”  Which is not true – the truth is we can not put our houses on the market, move cross country into with our own ill health into her home and try to maintain her, a home, a yard, her pets in the manner she is used to living, when we can’t even maintain that satisfactorily for ourselves. We CAN assist her in finding find an alternative where she can live in comfort and have her needs met, not necessarily all her WANTS, but that is realism for all of us, that will work for all of us.   

    My advice if any were asked for would be to:  Take care of yourself, you can’t help her if your health gives out, and that often happens to caregivers.  Call the local Council on Aging, or State Assistance office and find what services are available where she lives and ask for help. (Yes, I know she will probably refuse, but keep on trying!!! And don’t do for her what she can do for herself.)   It helps to have a professional objective overview from the outside and these services are there because in our society it is rare that a person is able to move into an elder’s life and keep that life going in the manner the elder had going on in their earlier life, while meeting the obligations toward the entire family unit and keeping one’s own health and sanity afloat.  And truth is, some elderlies become mean and very hard to deal with – some have already been that way – we do not have to let ourselves be abused if that is the case just because they are old and sick.  Even if they become legally incapacitated, very few of us are equipped to become the kind of caregivers some elderlies want or insist upon.  Sometimes it works for them to move in with us.  In my case it wouldn’t work at all, because this is my home, and nothing pleases my mother and she is an extremely negative person – my whole family would fall apart.  I have offered that we could take the money from the sale of her home, build her a quarters on the back of the house, and she would have meals, linen changes, etc, rides to doctor… in other words, “Mother, here is what I can do for you.”  She refuses as it is not her home, her yard, her domain to run.  I understand.  But I am realistic and realize if I moved into to become a full time caregiver, my health would decline to the point it would be life threatening to me (it has been there before) and therefore in the long run would do neither of us any good, only harm.  

    Also I recommend a little book called “Boundaries” – one of the authors is Peter Townsend, I believe, has been very helpful  to me and some whose elderly parents deliver a load of guilt and manipulation in order to press us into their wants which are not always possible for us to do.  It is not a sin to have limits and boundaries – taking care of our elderly parents does not have to mean that we stop our lives and devote everything to caring for them in the manner they want us to.

    So, all things considered, you have to find what is right for you and your elderly, what is possible for you, and don’t go it alone by any means!!!!!!  Find help  You are doing the right thing.  Even if the help needed is only a sounding board, find a good one, and much luck to you.

    4 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Your situation sounds so frustrating! I’m fortunate that Mom will be reasonably healthy again and able to live at home with a little help and the home nursing program. As for me, I have no natural children to take care of me when I reach her age, and I’m not sure I can count on my step children, so I’m looking into nursing home insurance *now* so I won’t be a burden on anyone later. Mom isn’t willing to go into assisted living, much less a nursing home, but right now, she doesn’t have to.

      0 like

  19. Generic Image Reneda Baer says

    I can certainly appreciate the fact that your mother is driving you crazy.  Mine has been doing that for years.  The one exception between them is that mine does it on purpose.  She has always been an attention seeker and extremely self centered person.  Now that she is older and her friends are drifting away and passing away, she gets less of that attention.  Suddenly she remembers that she has a daughter.  That didn’t really catch her eye the first 40 years I was alive.  The only time my mother paid the slightest bit of attention to me was if it directed attention and drama in her direction. 

    She makes up drama that you wouldn’t believe.  Since I’m also the only surviving child I’m the one who has to deal with it. 

    For those of you who have made the “you’re selfish” and “you’ll be sorry” comments… PUHLEEZE!!!!!

    All I can say is that you all must have had VERY different mothers than I had.  Don’t sit there in judgement of me [or anyone else] about how I feel about my mother.   I know what it’s like to have a wonderful parent.  I miss my daddy every single day.  But things are very different w/my mother. 

    People who meet my mother see her as this nice sweet woman.  WRONG!  That’s what she wants them to see.  They don’t get to see the manipulative side or the side coming up w/wild tales just to get attention. 

    Her mother did the same thing to her and she HATED it!!  She constantly complained about her.  But once she died, she became just like her, only worse.   She is the ultimate drama queen. 

    She has different voices for whoever she’s talking to.  There is this nice sweet oozy voice for when she meets new people she wants to impress and when she talks to her friends.  Then there is her ordinary day to day voice.  Then there is the whiny, nasally voice where she drags my name out into at least 5 syllables that she uses for me.   

    You know.. try as I might, I don’t see me EVER missing that voice!!!

    2 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      I feel for you. Your mother sounds like my grandmother. Mom swore not to be like her, and for the most part succeeded. I really hate that you got robbed in the “Have a Good Mom” category of life. I can’t imagine what it must be like!

      0 like

  20. Generic Image uberanne says

    I’m currently tending my mother, and tended my mother-in-law for four years until she went to an assisted living facility and passed at 90. As she aged I watched the advent of an attitude that said nothing is too good for the elderly, super-insured senior with deep pockets that came from the medical and insurance industry while our (uninsured) husbands, wives and friends are dying in their 50s and 60s. Life expectancy is down for the first time in generations and we feel like we’re sacrificing our golden years–maybe our only years– for our parents when we may die of cancer next year.

    With my mother-in-law I felt pressed between children who need me, grandchildren whom I need, and a woman who was constantly angry because her 80s weren’t the quality years she expected–and demanded. I read a doctor’s column where 86 -year-old men write in complaining because their sexual function is faulty. In the grand scheme of things, it makes me crazy, too! 

    We’ve gone from a time when elderly worked up to the time they died to an era when they expect to participate in all the civic and social events that they did when they could still drive, and it’s wearing the entire family out. No wonder everyone is getting testy. Between our kids needing rides and scheduling, and our over-scheduled elders, our own quality of life is zilch. Maybe the answer is to cut back.  

    That’s my mother’s feeling, and she’s a delight. She lives in the country and at 86 she doesn’t need to attend every luncheon on her calender.  She says “no” to half the tests, therapy and appointments the doctors suggest. And she’s a delight. She’s appreciate of what we do for her, but she doesn’t phone with a list of “must-do’s” for the week. And the quality of her life is better because she is happy with her garden, her birds and the family members who stop by to visit. She says it’s a state of mind, living in the daily, and I agree.

    2 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Wow, it seems like you’ve seen both extremes. I’m sure it does your heart good that your own mom is such a wonderful person. She sounds like a delight!

      0 like

  21. Leandra Leandra says

    I have to put my 2 cents in here since I can see both sides. It has been interesting to read the comments and shake my head in agreement. Yet, I am almost 60 and I have 2 sons who don’t even talk to me. I am also a widow. My mother died in Jan. and she only acknowledged having one daughter and that was my sister who ended up caring for her. My mom refused all help from me. She belittled and berated me all my life. Now my sons feel that they have a life and I need to butt out. I grit my teeth and think of all the sacrificing I did for them all those years and I feel like I DO deserve more than no contact with them or my grandkids. I sit and I wonder who is going to take all the things that are precious to me, why can’t I see my grandkids, why did I give up my life to spend all those years giving it all to kids who don’t want me now, who is even going to know I can’t take care of myself or I have died when no one wants to even call me. Since my mom died even my sister has cut me off.  I think our parents do deserve to be taken care of by their kids out of respect. No one told anyone to go make the most money you can, load yourself down with debt and work, fill you lives so full there’s no room for anything else. IMHO, everyone should leave room for the possibility of having to care for a parent that spent years caring for them. At the same time, you have the right to vent, too, and I sure do sympathize with the venting. I watched my sister go through hell to keep my mom happy. Mom was an attention seeker, vain and controlling yet she couldn’t use the TV remote without my sister’s help. 

    I guess it isn’t easy to be an elderly parent or an adult child. Hugs to all of you!

    0 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Oh, I just hurt for you!!! What a sad situation.
      When I look at my future, when I’m Mom’s age, I get depressed. As I said earlier, I have no natural children, very few people who care what happens to me, much less what happens to my stuff. I intend to be proactive: get nursing home insurance, give my things to those who would want them and toss the rest, and maintain some relationships of people who do care for me. Family isn’t limited to blood relatives.
      I wish you all the best. And “Hugs” back!

      1 like

  22. Generic Image Tropicgran says

    Linda, I can relate to your driving me nuts scenario.  Of course I love my 85 y.o. mother to no end and will do all that I can for her.  I have been her caregiver for several years now, first here at my home for 5 years, and now at her assisted living facility for the past 4 years.  I am an only child–sometimes that’s a blessing at this stage.  She has vascular dementia.  We were together for a few hours yesterday and she must have asked me at least 30 times–no I’m not exaggerating– how old I was.  Or how old my daughter was.  This is her focus every day, but yesterday was really a lot.  Sometimes barely 30 seconds had passed before she asked again.  I tried to move the “conversation” to the scenery we were driving past, where we were going, singing, dancing, etc., but it always came back to “how old are you now?”  I even told her that I was not going to answer that anymore because we had exhausted that conversation.  She said, “OK.”  LOL, one minute later she asked again!  And I answered–again.  Though my answer did vary a few times, LOL!

    We have to admit and accept our weaknesses with caregiving and have a sense of humor because we will go nuts.  It’s too bad that those who stand in judgement and think we should talk and act like saints all the time, don’t understand that.

    I wish you the best.

    1 like

  23. Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

    I hope I got to everyone’s comments. Sorry if I missed someone. Thank you all for your responses, your understanding, and your admonition.
     
    Everyone is aware of the fact that taking care of someone often comes with complete with frustration and reward. Regardless of the age range, parents complain about kids, kids about parents. Rarely does it mean that they don’t love each other.
     
    If you read my post and came away with the conclusion that I’m ungrateful, well, I’m sorry you feel that way. Not many women love their mothers as much as I love mine.
     
    But for everyone who used the opportunity to vent–God bless ya! Blowing some steam will help fortify you when you go back to being “caregiver” again.
     
    Thanks everyone.
     

    2 like

  24. Generic Image katmck1955 says

    My prayers are with you.  My mother who, at one time, seemed perfectly normal, is now being extremely difficult.  My sister and I, who both took care of terminally ill husbands, cannot believe her actions.  She wants to argue with us and is drinking again.  We ended up actually having to per her into a nursing home situation just to make sure she doesn’t hurt herself or others.  My mother has it made.  She was in assisted living with plenty of money and other resources to keep her busy, but chose to drink.  We had to evaluated by psychiatrists, etc, but of course, she felt they were stupid.

    Anyway, it has been extremely hard.  We were not raised this way and if we had acted like this when our husbands died, she would have put us in our place from the start.  I finally saw a psychologist (through my company) to get help with caregiver “stress”.  It has helped.  I can’t change my mother’s demeaner, but I have learned to realize we are taking excellent care of her and whether she wants to admit it or just pout,  well…….

    0 like

    • Linda Yezak Linda Yezak says

      Mom changed a lot after Daddy died. She’d say some of the meanest things, then not understand why someone’s feelings were hurt. Fortunately, that seems to be over for the most part, but she’s still not the same woman I grew up with.
      I’m glad you found help for the caregiver’s stress. It really can be overwhelming.
       

      1 like

  25. Generic Image Carolyn Clowt says

    I am 60 years old and my daughter just turned 22. For the past two years she has grown completely out of control.  She is selfish, disrespectful, and angry at me and her father when we try yo speak to her about her behavior.  She drinks and hangs out with 30 year old men who don’t mean her no good. Her friends who are her age don’t mean her any good either because they respect their parents and take care of business. She confides more in her friend’s parents who are in their 40′s and because she can pretty much say and do whatever around them.
    She also stays out til 4 AM, while I be up waiting because I can’t sleep knowing she’ out there; knowing the kind of crowd she runs with.

    She gets mad if you say anything to her ‘friends.’  Although she tells me she is moving out I know she doesn’t have the means to move out on her own.  She’s also ready to drop out of college. I hate the road my daughter is going down, and my husband and I can’t seem to stop it.  I pray so hard for her to find some Christian friends, yet she want to continue running with people who are not going nowhere. Please I need advise.

    0 like

    • ThurmanLady ThurmanLady says

      The main thing I am going to suggest is that you start a new post with this problem.  This particular post is older and only a few people will be notified that you’ve added to it.  I will watch for your new post and respond. ♥

      0 like

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