Monday, May 6, 2019

The Good son?


 I remember once when I was about nineteen, I had this horrible dream, (very common for me). My family was on vacation and we were exploring around an old volcano. This was a ludicrous scenario, my parents would have never traveled anywhere near a volcano, let alone even traveled more than a day or two from home. However there we were, walking over scorched rocks, I was walking ahead of them when I suddenly herd, "Steve! Steve help us"! I looked back only to see that the earth had given way beneath them, they were hanging on the edge by their fingers and it was eroding away fast, boiling hot lava below. When I approached, I realized that I could only save one of them.

 This apparently was the torture my mind was trying to inflict on me, which one would I choose. There was no contest in my mind however, I could never live with myself if anything happened to my mom. We were always very close and my love for her was well beyond what I felt for my dad and sister. I was haunted by the looks on their faces as they fell to their deaths. Nice going subconscious, you psychotic "bleep" hole.

 I once read a question on Dr Spo's blog that asked, "what could you tell your eight year-old self that would make him/her cry". I didn't dare answer that question because it's too hard to say, but I will answer it near the end of this post, it carries a lot of guilt with the answer.

 There are many days when I'm leaving mom after a visit and I am still hit by the shock that this is actually happening. I'm often close to tears because the thing that I feared the most for her has happened. I did everything I could to keep her out of one of those cliche "homes". I relieved dad on weekends at first, I took care of her for eight years on my own after he died, I placed her in a lovely nursing home for almost three years until finally everything came into line to do the opposite of what I have been trying to do.

 One of the things I find ironic is that most of my friends have lost their parents now. Some much younger than mom and all were active and sharp until the very end, yet here is mom, still slogging along in a world of illness. It's horrible but some days I'm envious of my friends who have said their goodbyes to their parents and now are moving on with life. I sometimes worried that I see her as "the burden formally known as mom". After the last move however; the only good that has come out of my emotional reaction to it, is that I know how much I still love and see her as mom and not a shell of mom.

 That leaves me to answer the question above however. I hate seeing her like this, the illness, the confusion, she is humiliated daily by strange men helping her go to the washroom, take a bath, get dressed. The long goodbye as they say, the never ending crises, the not being able to complete simple tasks, not recognizing family and friends, the prison that she is in, mentally and physically. The thing that would make my eight year-old self cry, would be when I tell him that, "one day you will wish that your mother would die".

24 comments:

Richard said...

I wished my mother would die when she was at the end of her life. She was a miserable woman with no friends. She hated my father. She was in pain. I could see no joy in her life. I just wished she would die and end the suffering in the hope that she would be happier in the afterlife.

Leanna said...

I have the same feelings. My mother is still slogging along, barely there but a burden to the family. My brother lives in New Mexico and he sees our mom who now lives with my sister and her son. He gives me a report of her condition every two weeks. As far as I know, she is a heavy burden to all of us. She's 87 and has no idea who she is and she wanders off occasionally. I really do wish for the sake of all those involved that there was something in place that would end an elderly person's life if they became a burden to family as well as society. I know this sounds cruel but if there was some way to do it with dignity and with no shame involved it would be so much better for everyone.

Deedles said...

Okay, you're making my 63 year old self cry! I really can't relate. I believe I wished my mother would die from the moment my first sister was born. She had four more by the time I was 8. What would've made my 8 year old self cry is the knowledge that she would be around until I was 37, croaking at the ripe old age of 54. I envy you in that you have such a good relationship with your mother and I sorrow at the loss of that. You're a good man, Steve, and somebody was responsible for that. Deal with the present, but cherish the past. I'm really trying to not get all Hallmarky up in here. Hugs, sweetie.

Old Lurker said...

You are a good son -- just one who is stuck in a terrible situation. I'm really sorry that your mom is stuck in one of "those" nursing homes. I hope a space opens up in another home soon.

Tio Walter said...

Chin up, my friend. You're doing the best you can. Your love for you mom is evident in how much care you put into her care.

Jimmy said...

Perhaps you should do a little 'Face Time' with Spo. It wouldn't hurt.

Willym said...

This may sound odd, even cold, but it isn't meant that way. You are wishing for the best thing that could happen at this point to the person you love more than anyone else in the world. It is the most loving, caring and hardest wish that you can have for someone you love. It is putting them ahead of your own wants and feelings.

It is small consolation but many people of your generation and even mine are dealing with that now. Guilt should not be your feeling but the fact that your wish is centred on her and her quality of life not your own wishes and desires.

Gentle hugs.

mistress maddie said...

Hugs to you again. I agree with some above...you ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN.

And your last closing line got me but good. And I hardly EVER shed tears. And keep in touch if you ever need to email me.

Michael said...

Oh Steven, you are the good son. I hope that you see that. This post really touched me. Wish I could give you a hug.

~Michael

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh, dear.
You really love your mom, but you are more than entitled to feel bad about the whole situation. As you have seen, many people see themselves in a similar if not worst situation. The only thing is that she may not remember those moments you say may make her feel bad. The not remembering some things works in those cases.
You only wish the best for her. That’s all you need to remember.
Big, big hug.

XoXo

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Richard, that was one eye opener when I moved to the city, not everyone had a good mother.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Leanna, I often wonder about the same thing, keeping them alive but barely alive or having no life seems at times like a cruel scientific experiment.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Deedles, Hallmarky just means you care and there's nothing wrong with that.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Old Lurker, thank you, another home would solve some of the problem but the other problems are just going to keep getting worse.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Walter, that's what my sister keeps saying, "we're doing the best that we can".

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Jimmy, that's what this blog is for. I put my thoughts down it's like a cleansing.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Will, I didn't find your comment cold, more relieved actually that you understood what I meant.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Maddie, I hope you never have to experience this, I know how close you are to your mom.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Michael, sometimes I feel like a phony and that I'm selfish but then I realize that mom would have never wanted me to feel like this. She would have said to leave her and go live my life. She would have been so horrified if she knew this would be her final days.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Sixpence, actually you are correct, fortunately she is no longer aware of what is happening around her. The information load from the new place was too much and she has shut down mostly. She didn't recognize my sister the other day.

Ur-spo said...

Tut try not to be so hard on yourself. All of this is human matters we all go through to some degree. Always remember there is ambivalence in everything we do. At death we feel loss/sadness but we also feel relief/even happy the person has departed.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Dr Spo, yes actually I have come to terms with these feelings, I just wanted to put them out there and I didn't want people thinking I was a perfect little angel. I remember in the first seconds when I was told dad died, I thought to myself, "at least he won't suffer anymore" and that was a relief to me. Now it will be the same with mom, I will be sad but at least she will be at peace.

Bob said...

My mother died at home and I was in the room with her when she went. To say I could feel her leave is an understatement, but I did, and called to my dad who came in and found her.
I had asked her to leave the night before, telling her that we'd be fine and that she'd done the best she could and we'd go on.
I think if she had lingered, i might have felt that feeling even stronger.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

That's a touching story Bob. My dad died at home as well. The one time I go away and he died. My mom and sister knew he was going and kept saying "we love you" so that it would be the last thing he would hear. I was relieved that he died because he was suffering and because we were completely drained from taking care of him.