My father died when I was 11. Mom became a widow at 37 and due to her self imposed obligation to me, her only daughter's safety and well being... she never remarried.
At first it didn't seem to be an issue. In fact, it was 'normal' for my mom and I to be together. After dad died, I slept beside her... at first to keep her company... and then it became routine. When I got married at 21.... she came to live with us. Again, it all seemed 'normal' ... it's how our culture deals with aging or widowed parents.
In 1995 we moved to AZ... mom came with us. The cross country move, in addition to the already strained relationship with my husband proved to be too much for our marriage and we soon divorced. Mom, of course, stayed with me, and quite frankly was a huge help with caring for my two kids. She was home when they got out of school... she cooked and cleaned while I worked to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Needless to say... I was dealing with stress, depression... and something I hadn't really ever had.... freedom. Or so I thought.
I was single again, but this time I wasn't 21 and about to marry my first boy friend. Mom, however, still saw me as her child and didn't understand my need to want to begin a new life. The bickering began.
Her old world traditions clashed with my 'modern' views. I felt uncomfortable having guests over... and as my children got older, they preferred to go to their friend's houses instead of having them over to ours. Mom became the Alfa female... not because I was meek and timid... but
rather because I knew that there couldn't be two of us. In a perfect world, this arrangement may have worked out... however, in our world it became the perfect storm.
Mom and I butted heads at every turn. I resented her always wanting to be right. Always wanting the last word... always being there. The guilt I was raised with grew inside me and at times it manifested itself in the relationships with my children. I blamed my mother for this, knowing she wasn't truly to blame... just a victim of her parents..and in turn, they from theirs. But I blamed her nonetheless.
Years turned into decades. My children grew up and moved out to live their lives.... my mom and I remained. And so did the resentment. Mom had been a smoker for over 50 years. Our constant nagging for her to stop fell on deaf ears... up until 2 years ago. On May 13th, a Friday... my mom suffered a heart attack and a stroke.
Mom was lucky. The stroke left no paralyzation... but did take away most of her eyesight. At first, Mom seemed to have been transformed into this sweet, soft spoken, smiling silver haired grandma type... my kids and I couldn't believe it. Mom was very thankful to be alive. The transformation was short lived. She soon reverted back to the negative, grumpy and bossy woman she was pre HA/Stroke.
On a daily basis i deal with feelings of resentment and obligation. I resent having to deal with mom's ailments and fragile condition. For years I begged her to stop smoking and take care of her health... yet now, I'm the one who is dealing with it.
We all make choices how we'll live our lives... she made hers. And mine.