The End Is Uncomfortable Tonight
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.