Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dad would have been 88 today....I woke up and decided to wear his shoes today as a way of keeping him close all day. I always wear his wedding ring which always make me think of him. Dad and I have the same basic physique..same size hands and feet. The more I look at myself, the more I see my Dad in my face. Most people would say I look like my Mom, but I am beginning to look more like my Dad as I age...especially the dimples that are turning into deeper facial lines.

I really missed Dad all day today. I am glad that we celebrated his last birthday here at the house. He wanted Pamela to make his favorite baked chicken dinner. It was kind of a low key birthday as I recall, but I was so happy to have him here in Seattle spending time with us.

Since Mom has been having a tough time all week and is feeling really alone, Pamela and I decided to get her out of the apartment and take her to dinner. She insisted on treating us, but the main objective was to keep her occupied for a few hours and having a little fun. At one point in the meal she even smiled and talked to another gentleman in the restaurant who was about her age. Imagine Mom kind of flirting ....

I called her this evening and she was back to being teary about Dad being gone. I think that this first year with all the markers....all the firsts is going to continue to be hard for all of us.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday, January 24, 2008

This has been an emotional week for Mom. Dad's birthday is on Sunday, January 27th and she has been pretty focused on that all week. She has cried several times and still doesn't understand why Dad never told her how sick he was near the end of his life. I have tried and tried and tried to explain to her that Dad wouldn't have wanted to worry her. What I don't tell her is that I think Dad knew something was wrong but may have been in denial about it himself.

I have been pretty focused on my job search but have managed to see Mom twice this week....Tuesday morning and Thursday evening. Pamela and I are going out to dinner with Mom on Sunday afternoon so that she can have something different to do, rather than be upset about Dad not being alive for his 88th birthday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Went out to Mom's for breakfast this morning and then took her grocery shopping. I brought her some homemade muffins as she likes baked goods so much.

She seemed to do pretty well in the store...convinced her to try a few new items...steamed vegetables that can be done in a microwave and a new sub sandwich. She liked the ride to the store..even though there was snow and ice one the ground, the sun was shining and felt warm.

After I got us back to her apartment, I unloaded all the groceries..put everything away, went down to load money on her laundry card and put in a load of rugs to wash. Mark, my brother was expected for lunch, so I started making the spaghetti. Mom got kind of emotional while I was cooking...almost in tears as she told me how proud Dad would be of me.

Mark arrived on time, was his usual barely verbal self, and we all ate lunch together. Mom is just starved for news of his life and his she asked him a bunch of questions about Josh, Danny and Lizzie. I asked a few questions myself at which point Mark got kind of miffed about all the questions. If he would just offer to be part of a conversation we wouldn't have to quiz him.

After he left, I cleaned up the kitchen, did the dishes and helped Mom retrieve a box to put all her Christmas decorations away in for the year. She got kind of emotional after Mark left....saying how much she hated it in she was going to go back to Arizona ...on and on and on. I finally told her that it was not possible for her to return to Arizona....that she was making a hard situation even harder for me. She said that she wasn't trying to make it harder....but that she was capable of being on her own. She then accused me of selling her car. I sold the car because we thought we would need the money to pay for Dad's care. I reminded her of this...and finally just told her that I thought she should spent some time relaxing and then put away her Christmas decorations.

After I left I just felt emotionally exhausted. I decided to go for a drive outside the city....just to get away for awhile. Tomorrow is a new day...I will check in with Mom in the morning.

God, grant me the patience, persistence and loving kindness to deal with this situation to the best of my ability.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I took a breather from Mom last Thursday. She called on Friday morning because she needed one of her medications ordered and picked up. She wanted to go to Bartell's to do that and too pick up some food items on sale. She acted as if nothing had happened on Wednesday. I picked her up and took her to Bartell's. I have noticed that she does better in smaller stores like that instead of the bigger grocery stores. I let her wander up and down the food aisles while I got her prescription and picked up other items such as hand soap in other parts of the store. Afterwards, I drove us back to her place. She wanted me to stay for dinner. I helped her get everything upstairs, unpacked everything and made our dinner. So far so good. As I was getting ready to leave she told me she was sorry for what happened the other day. She said she was used to saying what was on her mind. I reminded her that there are things that she could just keep in her mind and not say out loud as they hurt other people. I also told her that Pamela had been good to her for almost 12 years and that I would not tolerate anything bad being said about her period. So I set some boundaries and she has been a a little better ever since. She is always just a little difficult...but at the present moment she isn't being totally toxic. It is kind of like dealing with an elderly 2 year impulse control at all. I am not sure if this is a sign of senile dementia or not.

I started a Growing with Grief group through a local hospice organization on Thursday. I like the people and the two women who facilitate the group. I made a breakthrough of sorts during the season. I was able to verbalize how scary and isolating it is to be the primary caregiver for my Mom...especially while I am still grieving Dad's death. I will return to the group this Thursday.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Today was an all time low point with Mom. Her racism and irrational behavior forced me to leave her apartment ...I felt like I had to leave or hit her. She told me that she thinks I have turned my back on my family because I live with a black person...meaning Pamela. I had already listened to her rail about the Mexicans and the Asians who have infiltrated the country according to her while I was driving her to the doctor. She even asked her doctor what nationality she was. She is on some kind of xenophobic racist tear lately and I just cannot bear it. She told me that her plan is to marry again, change the will(eliminating me) and move back to Arizona. Frankly, I don't care what she does anymore. There isn't going to be any money if she continues to live her hatred filled life. I told her that all her moving around over the years never helped her...because she never changed herself inside.

All she does is whine and moan and complain and say how ugly everything is in Seattle. I am just exhausted with all her abuse and negative behavior. I am not going to have any contact for awhile. If she wants to live on her own in Arizona, she might as well get used to being on her own her.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

I had dinner with Mom last night. I had made a lot of ham and bean soup, so I decided to take some out to her and have dinner together. She loves this kind of soup. She had made a salad and homemade dressing. We also had Rycrisp crackers with some really good soft cheese. For dessert, I microwaved a couple of Apple Blossoms. They are essentially little individual apple pies that I found at the market for her. She loves them...and they are easy for her to make.

She was in a pretty good mood all evening. I had arranged to have dinner and then go to a meeting at Providence Hospice offered for people dealing with a death and the holiday season. She was invited too, but doesn't want to mystery there. She doesn't approve of a Catholic sponsored organization. I don't care one way or the other. The other meeting I went too during this series was very helpful. I am also planning on registering for another class that begins next week on Growing with Grief. I actually think that going to these sessions and doing my own individual therapy is helping me work through my grief around Dad's death and all the conflicting feelings I experience caring for Mom.

She is going out today with my brother. He needs to sign something to be on her bank account like I am...I also called in a prescription for Mom's eye drops and left him a voicemail to go pick that up for her as well. Mom thought he shouldn't do it as he will be in his city car...but I told her that is was no big deal. I also told her that he just uses that as an excuse not to take her out to do things...which was kind of mean...but it is so true. He was complaining to her this week that seeing her every week is too much for him! Ha! He sees her for a half hour to an hour every her apartment....he makes lunch for himself...they talk ...he leaves. He is hardly doing anything to care for her and acts like it is a huge burden. I am there at least three times week..make her doctor's appointments, take her to her appointments....take her shopping, to the drug the mall....basically everywhere she needs to go...and he feels he is doing too much! I understand that her capacity to drive him crazy is very high....but I struggle with it too. I just blows my mind how little he has to bring to this situation with Mom. I try not to get upset but every once in awhile I just have to step back and breath a little to regain my composure.

I just talked to Mom on the phone. She is already to go once he arrives...she had a good breakfast, has cleaned up the kitchen, made her bed, and is dressed and ready to go. She will call me once she is home again. I think she kind of dreads being around Mark because he loses his temper with her on a pretty regular basis. I have too over the last several months...she can get on your last nerve pretty quickly...but I am trying to learn patience while sticking to my boundaries with her.

Lots of challenges ahead in 2008 with this situation. Luckily, I feel like I am doing all the right things to take care of myself. One interesting thing that was said last night at the grief group....grieving is heart work..and recovering from a death is like recovering from open heart surgery.