Feeling so Hopeless and ready to Crack

by Crystal
(Arnold, CA)

I have been always been close to my parents for years. I have always visited them and helped them with routine things as it gave me joy to be able to help them out.

Several of my siblings live in the same area and are not that close. Two of them live out of the state/area so visits aren't often. My father passed away after a three year bout of cancer and it was a real blow to my Mom to be alone for the first time in 35 years of being married to the man she so loved.

I am married, have children in school and we both work full time to make a decent living. We haven't afforded any vacation in years, just making it.

My family has been sacrificed for the past four and half years since my Mom really started needing help. Then my Aunt moved in with her due to financial woes and she now needs help with care.

My morning begins with multiple frantic phone calls from Mom needing me to come to her place and help her find something, her purse, eyeglasses, the TV remote, her medicines , you name it. She has early dementia. I rush over to find what's missing and fly back to take my kids to school, then drive as fast as my car can carry me and hope my boss is a little late to work like me.

It's mid-morning and Mom's on the phone saying Auntie needs her prescriptions filled and I need to pick them up and get them to her on my lunch hour a town away. I do this because my fellow sisters and brothers won't lift a finger to help saying they have their own lives to live and I can handle it.

I rush and get it done and back to work and finish out the day. The cell phone ringing off the wall again, I have to figure out a meal plan for my Mom, Auntie, and my
own family and I rush back to pick up my kids at aftercare program. It's six now, I rush to store picking up what I'm going prepare and head for Mom's to cook and serve a quick dinner before heading home to cook and serve my own family.

It's after 9 p.m. and I'm doing my own household chores and barely have time to check the kids homework, backpacks for info on school and pack their lunches for tomorrow. I stumble upstairs to take a load of laundry to be done before I can retire to bed. It's after 10 now and I put the washed/dried clothes away and get ready for bed.

My husband is already fast asleep and I have realized all we had in conversation was "hello" and "I'm going to bed". Lately he's been distant and making very critical comments about how old I look and how overweight he thinks I am now.

All he ever talks about is that I've really let myself go and that he couldn't possibly be happy with being that overweight (like I'm some Water Buffalo) and actually commented that my sister sure looks good for her age.

All I could think of is yeah, she doesn't have to work full time , take care any kids (she has none, just two little dogs) and she is at the beauty salon every week getting her hair bleached blonde and her fake nails put on.

I'm sorry, but I am so tired I can't believe I can't sleep right away. My mind is racing on the chores I need to get done tomorrow. I say a prayer for help from our Lord and try and get some sleep.

That's a day in the life of my life these days. I worry what will happen if my Mom needs round the clock care, who will be there for her and my Auntie who neither of them are in great health anymore? I'm so tired and I fear my marriage is crumbling..........

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Another WOW...I'm There Too
by: Anonymous

Another WOW from me. Just got a call from Mom saying her student is coming at 9:30am for lessons and Mom can't find their lesson book.

She says, "I guess we'll have to start all over." What does that mean? She really does have a student, but why can't she find their study material? She called earlier and said when she got up at 4am it was snowing and beautiful outside.

Pardon me, but I live close by and it was 40 degrees at 4am and about as much chance of snowfall here as a snowball in hell. She's starting not to make sense...and that's scary for her and me both. The scary part: I'm afraid her days of living alone are fast coming to a close.

And I have schizophrenia and cannot take the stress of living with her. (Believe me, I lived with her for 12 yrs not so long ago and have gotten so much better living on my own.) I go to see her 6 days a week, am her chauffeur, her companion, her best friend, her housekeeper, her laundress, etc.

It is already too much for me, and my siblings live nearby but have no idea how much care she takes. Their answer: ship her to a nursing home. We can't afford any outside caregivers -- that is not an option. She could get Medicaid, perhaps, to go to one of the cheaper nursing homes.

I love her. I don't want her to be "put away" somewhere. But I am at my wit's end with my own illness and cannot stand any more stress.

So, I feel for you. I understand.

My Heart Goes Out To You
by: Amanda Frank

My thoughts are with you and anyone who has a parent or parents with dementia. My mother was diagnosed with dementia and although it wasn't a complete shock to us, because we knew something was wrong, it rocked our worlds.

Ever since her diagnosis my siblings, father and I have been trying to read all we can about it and how other people are dealing with it. I just finished a great book that I'd like to recommend to anyone else going through this same ordeal; it's called "I Will Never Forget" by Elaine C. Pereira. It was a really great read. I hope you are able to find comfort!

Don't Crack
by: Anonymous

I read your entry and my only comment at the end was "Wow!"

At first, I thought it's just like all the other letters. There's no money for outside help, the siblings are useless, there's no support in your own home, and you feel alone and desperate.

But your last paragraph reminded me of my brother's situation. He was married with five young children in school, when his wife had an accident and became a paraplegic. He had to do it all. He worked full time, took care of his wife, got the kids to school and all their events, and took care of all the household duties.

He did this for 10 years. One morning he woke up to go to work, had trouble breathing and passed out. They rushed him to the hospital, couldn't revive him, put him on respirator, but within 48 hours he was declared brain-dead from lack of oxygen. The family had to make the decision to let him go.

The point of the story is that, the Very. Next. Day. everything the family and his wife needed to carry on with their lives, was provided. Personal caretakers were hired for his wife. The church community flooded the house with meals for a year. The children, young as they were, all stepped to the plate to run the house. Nobody missed a beat.

If you died today, what would happen tomorrow? Do you think your mom and aunt would just shrivel up and die without you? Somebody, somewhere, would have to step in. Nobody is indispensable. People will only do what you allow them to do to you.

Save yourself, please, because nobody else will.

by: Leasa

Oh boy! I'm going to be harsh, not because I'm mean, but because you really need slapped into reality. Of course your husband is resentful and I'll bet your children feel the same way.

Your mother calls in the morning for non-emergency things and you risk your life speeding all over God's creation? What is wrong with you? Why can't your dear mother hear the word 'no'. No mom, I'm busy with the kids now, I'll stop by after work...would the world end if you said that?

A lot of pharmacies offer free delivery for seniors, have you looked for one in your area that does? Also, what about meals on wheels?

You have a young family at home. You are not there for them. You will never get this time back.

If your mother and aunt can't get by without all this attention, then they should not be living at home.

Your siblings are right. Your family deserves better. Dementia or not...your mother is being very selfish as she must know you have a family to look after.

You risk being left all alone when your mom passes because by them your husband will have moved on and your kids will have no sense of family because you never had time for them.

Wake up before it's too late. Take some time to fix your hair, put on some make up, look after your kids and be a wife and companion to your own husband.

Good luck.

Dear Ready to Crack
by: Anonymous

Dear Ms. Crystal,
My head was in my hands for a few minutes after reading your post. Wow, that is ALOT!

Do you need sympathy (empathy actually) or suggestions or just listening?

Well, as for listening I hope you felt a little better after writing all that out because all your fear, anger, frustration and exhaustion came through the computer. Also, how well you are taking care of your mom and auntie.
As to empathy: my own husband has been on the back burner a lot as I have spent every second I can taking care of mom and her needs for I can't remember how long.

Mom is now in a super loving assisted living home (just 5 women live there)and mom is really taking to the women who help care for her. My husband hung in there.

I learned in my once a month caregiver support group that my job wasn't over once mom would be in assisted living and that has been true but I am so much less stressed (I hope this for you one day soon).

Suggestion (if you want any): Many times prescriptions can be ordered and mailed to either you or your mom or aunt (best to you). Ask the doctor how he/she can help make that happen (that would be one thing less stressful). It is hard to keep track of all the pills!!

Ask for help, ask for help, ask for help from everyone you know that can direct you to where you can get some help. I found a free support group for caregivers and at least for that one hour a month I felt relieved and taken care of.
Please, let us know how it's going for you and your family.

Sending you love and strength!
m in santa rosa

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