Alzheimer's disease · Caregiver · Caregiving

That’s that / April 2, 2006

Sundays are usually tough. Today I was battling a migraine, which means not only an aversion to light but also an awful lethargy. Every act seems protean. I knew that my mother likes me to take her out on the weekends but today I just couldn’t do it. And I’m reaching a point where That’s That. I am very gradually excising the unnecessary fretting about whether my mother sees me as a “good” daughter or what other people think of my caregiving.

I used to criticize others and I guess that’s come ’round. You can never know the whole story, nor are you entitled to know it. There are experts everywhere telling us what to do and what not to do in certain situations. And then when you’re in the thick of those very situations, and you find your human self very tired or angry or depressed, you have to come to the conclusion that only you know what to do and what not to do. I have some dear friends who tell me that I have to face facts and place my mother in assisted living. I know that day will come, but it isn’t now. I also have to realize that people look at what you’re doing and mentally put themselves in your place, which can make them vicariously uncomfortable. I think this may be where my friends are. I don’t know–sometimes it irritates me because I want to be able to vent to them about my situation without it being “solved” in this way. And I don’t want to look at what I’m doing as my own trip. It will be, whether I plan it or not, but it’s my mother’s life, first and foremost.

Having said all that, at the same time I’m worrying that the extremes this disease often pushes me to will harden me. Like today, having the migraine and putting my foot down, despite my mother’s disappointment and anger. I’ve always had trouble with people being angry at me, I do almost anything to avoid it. And now I’m being pushed to that place where I’m asking myself: So what if she’s mad at me? I’ll live through it. Which is quite liberating but also dulls a relationship. I can’t NOT care. I don’t want my mother to become disconnected from me in that way, I don’t want her illness to rob her of all the maternal pull she has on me. Is this unrealistic of me–to always want her to be my mother? I don’t mind doing the bills and the cooking and the driving, but I want to preserve the mother/daughter union, whatever that means.

I am rambling.

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