Just Can't Do it Anymore

by Robert

I feel like I've almost come to the end of myself. My father passed in 2000. My father was the type A in the family.

My mother, though she had a personality of her own always seemed to be a second class citizen in life. She felt everything was always her fault.

Just the other night I ran into the corner of a coffee table. She immediately thought it must be her fault that I did that because she left the chair to her jigsaw puzzle table out a little bit. I suspect that this might have gone back to her upbringing and not just her marriage.

When my father passed she just seemed so alone and lost that I suggested that I move in with her. She was overjoyed when I made the offer and I have lived with her ever since. That will be 15 years this October.

She has been more that generous and will take nothing from me to live here. I try to pay for things as much as I can.I was 44 when I moved in with her and have been divorced since 1992 so I guess I thought I was the obvious candidate to take care of her.

In the beginning, we took trips together and she was independent and still drove. She went to her church and activities and I mine. She has always relied solely on me for advice and what she should do.

The TV always has to be just the right volume for ME and she doesn't take the initiative for any decisions. Then about 4 years ago she had a stroke.

She rebounded well, but uses a walker all the time, has lost about 40% of her speech and doesn't drive at all. My two older brothers have taken no interested in being involved in her life to any large degree. They talk to her
occasionally and rarely visit.

We live on about 5 acres with outbuildings and lots of yard. Since my divorce I have always been happiest in an apartment or condo. I really don't enjoy yard work or landscaping or anything to do with maintaining a home like this.

I know this was my choice to move in with her, but I guess I never thought it would be for a large part of my older life. I will be 60 in January and Mom will be 88 in December.

I do occasionally take an overnight away from home, but still know that I will have to return to the same situation. There lies the enormous guilt and sadness I feel everyday.

She is a sweet woman and asks nothing for herself. How can I feel this way? What kind of a monster am I to feel that I just want to load up a few clothes in my truck and run away.

I just feel like after 15 years I have done my duty as a son and it's time for someone else to take over and let me go. I see the announcement photos in the newspapers of the couples celebrating 50 or 60 years of marriage and my heart just breaks.

I go places and see older couples walking hand in hand and just want that so much. I know that Mom could pass tomorrow or 10 years from now. I love her with all my heart, but have just had enough.

There lies the selfishness, guilt, selfishness, guilt cycle that I live everyday. Well, that's all.

I know that this situation is not going to change so I just will continue to live with a smile on my face and a helping hand for my mother.

But it does feel nice to know that I am not the only person who has reached the brick wall.

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I'm with you
by: Lynne

I'm going through the same thing. I moved to NV to be closer to my family, them my mother fell, and needed help.

I somehow ended up being her sole caregiver. I'm 64, and on disability with a bad back, but I have managed. My mother is very set her her ways, wants things done a certain way, and had real anger issues. We've gotten into it more than once.

My life is no longer my own. I have been here for two years now, and have not anytime to myself. I have no friends here, no money anymore to do anything, and she needs care 25/7. She's does most things on her own, but still needs someone within 5 minutes of help.

I live in the apartment next to her. I do have a brother, but he refuses to help at all. Like you I want to just run away. I'm so darn depressed, that I barely sleep, eat, or function.

You're NOT a bad person!
by: BHolland

I'm in the same position as you - my 93 year old mother moved in with me 18 months ago, only a year after my husband died.

I wasn't even finished with my own grief, but figured this was the best place for her to come when she needed help. It was supposed to be temporary. That's what the nurses SWORE - "just till she recovers!" Don't believe nurses.

All they wanted was for her to leave the hospital when Medicare stopped paying them. The reality of all these situations is that we are seniors taking care of our senior parents and most of us are starting to have our own health issues now.

Taking care of a parent in the midst of needing to care for ourselves is damned hard. My feelings bounce between compassion and resentment to depression and guilt and pure anger. But I don't even have somewhere to direct the anger!

Calling in hired help doesn't always help either because, one way or another, your home ceases being your own home - furniture and decor and shelves and cupboards have to be arranged for the elderly person's ability to maneuver and/or reach for things.

I walk in the front door now and don't even recognize what used to be "my" house. My mother was always an extremely vain, controlling, judgmental and overly perfectionist type of person and she hasn't changed.

I learned to accept her as she was years ago, but all those things she does still trigger old feelings and its not fun when it happens. Considering I've developed my own serious health issues that need to be addressed, I KNOW she should move into a senior citizen complex and she can afford it.

The problem is my siblings and I feel guilty even thinking its time to do it because it took a lot of effort and time just making her feel comfortable enough here to begin with. It would be cruel to make her leave now. But how much cruelty are we kids expected to endure just to keep her happy?

If you think I am an angry bitter caretaker, you're thought right. I got into something I thought would be short term and easier to manage, but after 18 months I know I will NEVER do this again for any one.

The quality of my own life has gone so downhill that I wonder what will be left of me to enjoy once my mother is gone. I hate having such thoughts....

what about hiring care/taking a vacation?
by: Anonymous

Your story really touched me. I know you feel guilt and sadness, but you have needs as well and need to live your own life. You're still not a senior and don't want to be left alone if you get old and sick either.

I definitely think you should approach your siblings and tell them you need to move out to pursue other opportunities (i.e. career, personal development, whatever) and ask them to take care of her for a bit.

Alternatively, I would suggest getting part-time (or full time depending on her needs) nursing care for her or putting her in a home where people can assist. I'm not sure why people on here don't consider it but it seems to be the most realistic option in a lot of cases, and perhaps the government could help to subsidize the care.

I wish you all the best. At the very least, I think you should take a vacation! have you traveled at all?

That may give you a much needed boost and new perspective on things :)

The apple does not fall far from the tree...
by: Anonymous

Your mother sounds like a sweetheart and the apple does not fall far from the tree. I think we all feel the way you do, as our lives have taken a turn where there does not seem to be a hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I, in my heart know there is hope.... as His love is like a river flowing through the veins, a love so omnipresent it washes away the pains. I for one, would like to keep in touch with you.... Hey, we could be pen pals! You are doing good!

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