The End Is Uncomfortable Tonight

by BH
(Northern CA)

I have no other place to express my thoughts at this moment than here, amongst other caregivers who are still where I was. So I'm writing this to let you know an end WILL come, but it may not be exactly what you thought it would be or feel like. After 4 years of my mother (now 95) living with me, we moved her into a beautiful retirement home today that looks and smells like a 5 star hotel.

It was a choice made by her, ultimately, on account of me having developed health issues which prevent me from continuing to care for her in my home 24/7. We would, therefore, need to hire someone full time to take over the caregiving duties. She decided, instead, to move into the retirement facility.

Lucky for us, she was genuinely excited about this move. Luckier still, except for disabling arthritis and a hearing problem, she does not suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's.

Although I know my mother could not be in a better place, I'm feeling really uncomfortable tonight, out of sorts and, I think, guilty. I know any major "change" can make one feel out of sorts. I also know I will put everything into the proper perspective eventually. But, tonight, I want to hide under a rock and sleep for a week.

Firstly, it was very frustrating organizing my mother's possessions for the move. It took way more time than my siblings and I ever expected to pack what little she needed to take and/or wanted.

She doesn't even have much any more. Whenever we tried to involve her in the process, she couldn't make up her mind about the simplest of things. We figured she felt overwhelmed, but we also discovered she no longer has the where with all to organize the thoughts that a major move requires.

We had to do it all for her, which is what we kids have been doing for 3 weeks almost non-stop. by the time we finished packing, alone, I was positively exhausted.

I don't know what happened, but midway
into moving things into her room today, it's like I hit a brick wall mentally and physically. I couldn't have lifted another finger if I had wanted to.

All I could do was sit in a chair and watch my sisters put things into her dresser and closet like it was a show on TV. I blanked out, for lack of a better term, and I was keenly aware of my resistance in helping - one more time - for this woman whom I'd been taking care of for 4 years. I was done, pure and simple.

I did leave a short time later and my sisters were fine with it. Yet I have this gnawing sense that I STILL have not "done enough" for my mother - even after everything I have done for her in the past 4 years at the expense of giving up everything about my own life and home in the process of meeting all her needs.

I'm at odds with myself. And her.

It was no picnic having her live here. She's always been a perfectionist, critical and judgmental kind of woman who is as self-centered as they come.

We think she invented the "vanity" trait. We all came to terms with her flaws years ago and learned to joke about them instead of taking her comments personally any more. We also learned from our own pains as children to never inflict such cruelties upon our own children. Hooray for us.

But, ultimately, nothing has ever been "good enough" for her. She's NEVER happy with anything for long. I suspect she will even find fault with this new retirement facility sooner rather than later.

I finally have my freedom and it unnerves me. Am I just so exhausted I can't make sense of it all?

Am I afraid of the aloneness I had learned to enjoy after losing my husband just before she moved in? I just don't know what these feelings are about and I want to sleep, and sleep, and sleep until I know, really know, what being "good enough" really is.

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Your Feelings are Understandable
by: Anonymous

Four years ago your mom moved into your house and changed your life. That move was based on her needs.

Now your mom has moved out and changed your life once again. And once again, it's based on her needs. It's understandable that you are lost and ungrounded. You've been living for her for so long.

You can probably guide yourself through this because you already did it before when you lost your husband. Plus you have such a keen insight into yourself. Sleep sounds like wonderful healer!
Give yourself time and start answering your need for a change.

Trading Places with Karen
by: BH

You are right. Reading your story, in fact, was a good heads up that I'm not where I was or where a lot of other people still are; I finally got my life back and need to move on gleefully. I can't do it all at once, though.

Today I began moving the rest of my mother's things out of the rooms in my house. It was like peeling the layers off an onion.

After I finished one room and put my own belongings where they were 4 years ago, I felt part of myself coming back into place and realized I had missed "me" more than I knew. It was a feeling I wish for all other caregivers!

It occurred to me while working that something as intense and unforgiving as caregiving settles so deeply into one's head that it's difficult coming out of that fog when it ends abruptly. It's an ending - like a death, divorce or loss of job.

The change, itself, is uncomfortable - even when we know it's going to produce what we want and need most. And even that awareness injects a certain amount of guilt into the mix.

Maybe it leaves us shell-shocked momentarily, too. That's what I think happened to me. As unsettling as it felt, though, it is what I wish for all caregivers yearning for their freedom.

Don't give up on yourself. You are doing what many others are incapable of or unwilling to do. Be proud of yourself, and pray for it to end.

Lets hypothetically trade places
by: Karen

I was a happy single woman in a beautiful apartment that I loved - had moved to FL to spend some quality time with my parents and 4 weeks after arrival my dad fell and broke his wrist and 3 days after that my mom had a massive heart attack. She lasted 9 days and then was gone.

They had been married 67 years. Three months later my dad asked me to move into HIS home because he was lonely. Feb 25 will be one year I am here and I'm ready to kill my self. I have one sibling who lives in NY and I'm handling everything alone 24/7.

I do the cleaning (2500 sq ft home) the shopping and cooking - he has 2 12 year old dogs that pee everywhere - not to mention the laundry, household bills, taking and bringing him to all of his dr appointments. Forcing him to take his medications - you feeling better yet?????

I'm 60 and feel 100. He's 90 and is going to live forever. Plus he gives all of his money away to any charity that sends hi. Mail it calls him. I try to explain that most of these are frauds but he says "it's my money" and okay it is.

I cry myself to sleep every night just wishing one of us would die. It can be me I'm okay with that at this point. So - wake up tomorrow and count your blessings. You have siblings willing to help you - you finally have your life back GO LIVE IT

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