On the Contrary, My Mom is an Angel

by Carol
(South Carolina)

I have read the stories and posted my own comments,the only difference is that my Mom is an angel. She's my best friend! The part that's killing me is that I'm losing her little by little to Alzheimer's.

Yes, I am angry at my siblings because they get to live their lives and don't think twice about it. I love my Mom with all my heart and would do anything for her. My problem is that I love my family as well.

I'm 55 years old and my husband has a strong history of cancer in his family. We just buried his uncle who survived less than 5 months after being diagnosed. We've been married almost 32 years,with most of that time caring for my Dad, my Mom and his Mom, who died of cancer.

I never thought I'd have to choose between my husband and my Mom.I know she wouldn't want that. I'm so tired and I can't think anymore. I cry all the time. I already do everything from doctors appointments, grocery shopping...I just don't think that I can be a 24/7 caregiver and take care of my family. I want to spend time with my husband because I'm so afraid something will happen. Life is so short. I've always been the one for all the family gatherings and everything. Now I feel so guilty . I feel like I'm in the darkest hole and no way out without losing!

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Been where You Are
by: Janet

Carol, I was in the same situation with my Dad.

Did not want to ignore my husband but also was taking care of Dad (from his home which is a 10 mile ride each way). Had no help from any siblings. My husband had heart surgery and was doing fine but I so wanted more time with him.

For the past 7 years if I have said it once I said it a 1,000 times: "one day when I am not taking care of Dad I can go places and do things with my husband." I was always putting my husband on the back burner and I hated it. He was very understanding and always encouraged me to continue with Dad.

I worked hard to arrange in-home help for Dad so I could have time off for my husband. Unfortunately in February, I took my Dad to his doctors appointment very early and when I returned home later that morning I found my husband passed away. I have learned a very valuable lesson in the most horrible way. "Never put off doing the things you want to do for anybody else." There is a way to have it both ways, unfortunately my time ran out.

I don't wish this experience on anyone but I have come a little ways in dealing with my situation but it will be a very long road to travel before I can (if possible) ever be happy again.

I miss my husband more than words can ever express but I know he is in heaven and is surrounded by love and I know one day I will see him again. It's just so hard to continue here on earth without him.

If I am grateful for anything from this experience it's that he did not suffer and that by him going first he will never have to suffer through this experience like I am.

So Carol, I can honestly say that you should find help for your mother at least one day a week so you can have your time with your family. Don't fall into the trap I did before it's too late.

I am still taking care of my Dad but it's a lot harder now because I know I really need time to myself to heal and I just don't have it. I never ever thought my 86 year old Dad would out live my 68 year old husband - so don't put it off - find the help you need now. You will not be sorry.

Good luck to you and I hope you find your way to make it work for you.

Take Care of You
by: Christine

Carol, the only thing that has helped me keep my sanity and to view things from a logical perspective is to take time entirely for myself.

For me, this is volunteering at our local animal shelter where I am a member of the Headstart Team, which helps frightened or aggressive dogs learn the right manners to allow them to be adopted. It's only a few hours a week, but I get outside and I know I am helping animals without a voice to somehow gain one.

That's my personal outlet; I couldn't do something else with people because I'm a caregiver to (stroke-survivor) Mom and I can't handle any more needy people right now. Maybe your outlet is just to take walks with your husband, or enjoy a meal together (alone!)

Give your relationship with him the kind of intensity it seems you give to your mother. In the end, it will be you and your husband facing the rest of your lives. Nurture him who loves you.

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