Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

So, the phone rang this was Mom...asking me to come out and help her. It was what I expected. She acted as if nothing bad happened last weekend. I have no idea if she has no memory of what happened or if she has conveniently gone into denial. I told her I would be out sometime this morning to take her shopping. We did our usual three hours of the drugstore and at Fred Meyer. She bought me a fleece vest and some socks for my birthday...and a lot of food. She has it in her mind that she must stock up before we leave for California on Oct. 7th. I told her that I would take her shopping again before we leave, but she still insisted on buying a lot of food. We had a pretty good time, but she seemed a little anxious in the car. After lugging everything upstairs, I fixed her lunch and then took off for my lunch appointment with my high school french teacher..which was totally fun.

After lunch, I went to a yearly memorial service for the families of people who were taken care of by Providence Hospice. It was a tiny bit new age, but it was still good to be in a room with others who have experienced major loss. I lite a candle for Dad and spoke about his experience with the hospice chaplain. I heard about it from the chaplain a week after Dad died. She called to ask if it would be ok to visit Dad again...and that is when I told her he had passed away. She was very sorry and apologized for not being informed of his death. Kate then told me about her experience with Dad. At first he was a little confused as to who she was and why she was visiting him. Once he understood that she was a visiting hospice chaplain, he opened up to her and talked about his concern for Mom. He prayed for our family with her and then he prayed for the whole world. Kate said that he was amazingly open and clear. As she was leaving he told her it was important to work things out with her co-workers. This amazed her as she had just come from a meeting that had been a bit upsetting to her at work, but had not mentioned it to my Dad. She was a little embarrassed that she had come to comfort Dad and he ended up comforting her. I think Dad was pretty empathic all his life and even more so as he neared death. As I told this story in front of a room full of strangers I cried and struggled to keep talking, but I needed to talk about Dad and how much I loved him.

I still love him and I still miss him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Complete silence from Mom. I have not spoken to her since she hung up on me Sunday morning. I am taking a break from her. I can't let myself be abused this way...and I cannot let her abuse my partner, Pamela.

More feelings have been coming up around what my aunt told me on Sunday evening. It makes me so sad and so angry to know that Mom was hitting Dad. If he had taken me into his confidence, I would have taken him out of that situation. I know he felt that it was his job to take care of Mom, but not at the risk of his own physical well being. It is so hard to deal with the knowledge that my own beloved Dad was being beaten by my Mom. I have seen her rages and I know that she can get pretty dangerous. The thought of her behavior and the damage she did makes me sick to my stomach.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 23, 2007

Just when I thought things were going well with Mom....everything goes south on us. She was in a very agitated and aggressive mood today when Pamela and I went out to take her shopping for my birthday. She slammed her purse into Pamela in the car on purpose. She thought I was taking her wallet and a check into the bank to cash a reimbursement check from their auto insurance company. All I was doing was getting out to see if the bank was open...which it wasn't. She was mad about that and then wasn't much better when we took her to her credit union..which was open. We let her go in by herself because neither one of us wanted to be around her. She came out spewing some hateful stuff about 'foreigners'. I guess there were non-white people in the credit union. She often falls into this kind of behavior when she is being irrational...I don't know if it is her personality disorder or she is eating too much sugar or what.

We told her we were not prepared to take her to the mall..but ended up taking her to Rite Aid and Bartell's to get get a few things and pick up her medicine. She apologized to Pamela but not to me when we got her home. This morning she tore into me for my duties around the collection plate at church. I told her in no uncertain terms that it was none of her which point she hung up on me. I am going to let her stew for a few days....there is nothing more I can do to make this situation better. She plays the old lady and uses her soft voice and then turns into a raving aggressive bitch ...all in the same day. I need a rest from this stuff.

I talked with my Dad's sister Josephine last night. She is really supportive of me especially as it pertains to my Mom's abusive behavior. She told me that my Dad called her last fall and told her that my Mom had been hitting him. I used to wonder about the bruises on his arms...I even asked him about them, but he always said he had bumped his arm. I am so sad and upset that he didn't tell me what was going on. I would have gotten him out of there in a heartbeat and taken him to live with us.

Last December right before Christmas Mom was hospitalized in a geriatric mental health unit because Dad couldn't handle her. She was so angry...but Dad actually missed her while she was gone. I don't understand it...but he still loved her despite all the crap she put him through. I wish he had taken me into his confidence....I wish I could have protected him.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mom is very appreciative of all that I help with and says it on a regular basis.

She seems to be doing a little better...I noticed today at the store that she
bought two things that my Dad used to cook...and is planning on starting to cook
again for herself. I gave her some hints on ways to prepare the food that she
seemed to hopefully she will give it a try. My Dad did all the cooking
for the last 20 years so she is at least trying to relearn a skill she once used
on a daily basis.

My biweekly therapy sessions seem to be gives me a place to talk
about what is going on and how I feel about it. We also discuss strategies for
handling my Mom when she is difficult.

I went to a centering prayer workshop at church last night...the three words I
mediated/prayed on were: grieving, acceptance and love. During the course of the prayer it became clear
to me that I could begin letting the word "grieving" go...not that I am done
with the entire process...but that acceptance and love would be more helpful in the long run.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pamela and I took Mom to the Puyallup Fair on Friday night. It took us almost two hours to get there through the freeway traffic, but it was definitely worth the trouble. We rented a wheelchair for Mom and off we went. First stop, food! We all had Earthquake burgers....huge burgers bursting with Vidalia onions, followed by ice cream covered with chocolate and nuts, fudge and caramel corn! We went a little overboard, but Mom was having such a good time....I didn't want to stop her from getting what she wanted to eat.

We watched some police dogs go through their paces, which was really cool. Also toured the goat barn, went to the fair museum where we saw a picture of my Great Uncle Harry Corliss, saw the beautiful flowers in the horticulture house and had a great time people watching. After about 3 hours Mom was fading so I went and got the car and picked her and Pamela up at the parking lot edge. She was sound asleep by the time we got to the highway.

Once we got her back home she said that would be her last fair. That troubled me a bit, but I have learned not to comment on everything Mom says is her feeling and her wish to express it.

Saturday, I stayed home and planted two trees and two bushes in the yard after clearing a whole section of saplings that keep growing back from the tree stumps we had cut earlier this year. It was hard work, but it felt good to get it done.

Sunday I was Worship leader at church and also had a Bingo Committee meeting. I am going to donate the store safe to the Bingo Committee. Afterwards, I drove out to have dinner with Mom. She had made a nice meatloaf. It was a good lunch and she was in a pretty good I am glad I went out.

Today I worked and then had a job interview with World Vision this afternoon. I think it went pretty well. I will know within two weeks if I will be invited back for a second interview.

I am going to take Mom to breakfast in the morning and then out to WalMart. I have therapy tomorrow afternoon at 1pm and then dinner with Cathy at 6:30pm. Overall, I think I am doing ok...still get tears coming when I think of Dad. I really wish I could talk to him....I miss his way of making everything ok...when I get stuck sometimes I just ask myself...What would Dad do? It seems to help.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More cars

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Today another milestone is reached. I took Dad's car on June 16 of this year to sell it to pay for his medical expenses. After three months, I am finally selling it today for $15,000. I had hoped to get more for it but am so exhausted with trying to sell it that I am glad to be getting this taken care of today. There have only been three people who expressed interest and of those, only the gentleman who is purchasing it today was serious enough to have it checked by his mechanic and do an online search with the VIN number.

I have mixed feelings about selling the car because it is the last car my father purchased for himself. He bought it for the drive up here from Arizona last summer. I have driven it just to keep it in good condition, but it makes me feel kind of sad. In one way it is another reminder that Dad has passed away and no longer needs a car. Mom is happy that this is being taken care of today and will deposit the funds in her account. She has been worrying about the sale of the car alot lately, so I am glad to have this task almost concluded today.

Dad always loved his cars....I have a photo of him with a Model A, another photo with a car from the late 1930's, and one with his 1959 Pontiac Star Chief. I trace my love of cars to my Dad.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I went over to pick up Mom this morning after dropping Pamela off at her jewelry making class. Mom wanted to go to the store and I wanted to take her to local Danish bakery for a treat and some coffee. We both made our selections...after looking over everything in the cases. We decided to get different things and then split them and share. Mom got a really moist nut muffin and I got a danish. Both were good. We sat and talked and had our snack before setting off for the store. Once we got to the store Mom found a cart that worked for her and off she went...she is getting pretty good at driving these battery powered carts. I think she likes it because it reminds her of the golf cart she once owned in Arizona ..."The Mean Jean". We zoomed around the store picking up various items that she wanted and then paid for everything, got the cart parked and then got everything into the car. Next stop...another store where grapes were on sale. Picked up the grapes and some Diet Coke for when my brother comes over...and then made it back to her apartment. I got everything upstairs, while making sure that Mom was walking ok. The water pills, the new support hose and the exercises all seem to be helping her quite a bit. Her ankles are so swollen and she says her legs feel better. I helped put everything away, told her I would be over again on Tuesday and then went to pick up Pamela.

We had decided to go to a vintage car show in Edmonds....have lunch and stroll around. It was a beautiful day, sunny with a nice breeze. We saw some really nice restored favorite was a Ford Fairlane Skyliner. While Pamela was waiting for some kettlekorn, I walked around the farmer's market and found a flat of raspberries for only $5 since it was the end of the day. I thought Mom would enjoy some fresh berries, so we dropped by her place on the way home. She was pleased with the berries and our surprise visit. She was going through her paperwork again ....I have no idea what she is doing with the paperwork or what it is, but it seems to be a recurring activity for her. I guess it makes her feel that she is doing something to manage her own life.

She told me today that Dad was thrilled when I was born. He loved being a Dad. I saw a movie the other day that brought him so close to me. It was "Broken English' with Parker Posey. She was walking down the street in New York City and a palm reader comes out of her shop and tells her that her father, who has passed away, misses her. She also says that Parker's character Nora was his favorite person in the world...and that he knows that she is lonely and has sent the palm reader to help her. It caught me by surprise...but this scene really sums up how I feel about my he felt about me. I was his favorite person in the world..and he knows that I am missing him so much...and am lonely without him.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Yesterday was a super busy day. Took Mom to her eye specialist in the morning, then to her Internist in the afternoon. Wedged going to the pharmacy, the bank, the grocery store, Macy's for Mom and my own therapy appointment in between her two doctor appointments. She doesn't have to see her eye specialist for a year but will remain on the eye drops for the the foreseeable future. The laser surgery did improve her vision a bit and she did well on the eye test. After her appointment she went over to have her eyeglasses adjusted and new nose pieces put on them...she has been having trouble with some kind of allergic reaction to the old pieces. Luckily, the optometrist is right there in the eye specialist's office.

After that we went to the bank so Mom could get a print out of her statement. She is really struggling to understand what is happening with her bank account. I just reassure her and tell her to go home and work with her bank book and the printout. I have a feeling that this is going to be an ongoing struggle for her. After the bank and grocery store, I drove to Macy's to buy Mom a year's worth of her Elizabeth Arden deodorant. She needs this as she gets reactions from drug store deodorant. I also returned a watch that I got her last Christmas...she loved it but it was too large and the band couldn't be altered. After that we drove home and I made us some lunch.

I took off after lunch and went to see my own therapist. It was good to see has been about 4 years. We had a good discussion about grieving, the challenges my Mom has always presented, and the possibility of her helping me find a caretakers group. I am my Mom's full time caretaker....I am finally facing that reality. I need to get some support that is unique to this experience. I return in two weeks for my next session. I felt better having gone and talked with someone I trust.

I took Mom to her next appointment. Her leg swelling is not associated with heart failure. She got some exercises to strength her legs and a prescription for water pills. We are also going to look into getting her some support socks that she can wear at home. When the doctor mentioned this her first question was "What colors do they come in?" She always wants to look this is very important to made me laugh....she will be a diva to the end! After our appointment, I ran up the street to get Mom an ice has become our ritual. Hey, if it gives her a good association with going to the doctor, I am all for it!

We dropped her new prescription to join the one I left this morning, dropped by the store to get potassium laden food...per the doctor...and headed home. Mom was so exhausted after all this running around that I decided to stay and have dinner with her. We ate, talked and watched the news. As I was leaving Mom said that she appreciates all that I do and that she loves me. It was nice to hear that.

I see that she is really struggling with her new situation. She cries and talks about Dad every time I see her. All I can do is be there for her in ways that support her...while taking care of myself.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Up early...around 5:30a.m. Laid in bed thinking for awhile...finally just got up and let the dogs out. Did some dishes...made some tea. The usual morning rhythms...but nothing seems the same anymore. I am going back to the therapist that I have worked with off and on since 1984. She knows the whole family I think we can get to the heart of my depression a bit faster.

I look at the last five years...getting laid off from the library, opening and closing the store, Mom and Dad arriving....and Dad's death 10 months after their arrival and I see no bright spot except hanging out with Dad more over the last several months. Now that he is gone, there is such a void. I am also trying to find a job and not having much luck. My energy is so is easy for me to just lay down and give up. I have been struggling with why it is necessary to even go on. I know I have to be the one to look out for Mom....but most of the time I feel I am just going through the motions...on autopilot.

This morning I am th liturgist at church....reading the responsive readings, helping with communion...etc. I do find some relief at church...just being part of a community.

I am bringing Mom over to the house for dinner after church. She has requested fried chicken. Her knee is giving her a hard I am also going to take her back to the doctor on Tuesday afternoon. I worry about her circulation because of the diabetes.