Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How Could I Expect That It Wouldn't Get Ugly?

     Apparently there will be good days and bad days. Nothing new there. The good days are when I feel like mom might be settling in. The bad days are when she still believes this is a vacation and she is miserable here and wants to go home. She's convinced that she can live alone and take care of herself and she was doing just fine before I butted in.

"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know."     John Heywood

   The bad days are the days she argues and stares out the window and rocks in her rocking chair. I recall from my growing up years that if mom was rocking in the rocking chair, it wasn't good. That meant she was thinking too much and had a lot of nervous energy. She pretty much rocked all day today.
     She is in denial about how bad her living conditions and health had become while living alone. If given a chance, she would go back home in a heartbeat and live that way again. Her home would become her coffin. My heart breaks for her inner struggle and the sorrow she feels of missing her home. I understand. I pray in time that those feelings will wane and she might find a little comfort and even joy in her remaining days, weeks or years.
     I've been out of my mother's house for so many years that I forgot how my mom could be. On weekly visits over the past thirty eight years, I only saw the nice side of her. All the tumultuous years fell away and we began to get along very well. Unfortunately, she's still the same mom and I'm still the same daughter. Oil and water. I had forgotten how my sisters, dad and I devoted our lives in trying to make mom happy. We survived by walking on eggshells and trying ever so hard not to upset mom. It was an impossible task. (Daughters, please tell me this is not me! If I have ever parented like this, I apologize with my deepest regret!) My biggest challenge is this: How do I maintain my identity and my joy and not allow my mother to suck that away from me because of her own unhappiness? I had fully girded myself to care for a frail and elderly mom. But I had overlooked the possibility that a frail and elderly mom can still be manipulating and emotionally abusive. How did I miss that?
     Friends have been wonderful this week by inviting me out for coffee. Tess graciously stayed home with grandma so I could go. It felt good to drive down the road and be alone. I thought, "There you are! You've been lost and it's so good to find you again!" It's unusual for there to be dissension and arguing in our home. We went through a spell of that when our daughters were teens, but we outgrew that and our home is a peaceful haven now. There is never, ever any fighting or pointless arguing around here. My mom has changed that up a bit and it's difficult for me to adjust to the stress.
     As a friend said to me yesterday, this is about how I will change, not about expecting a ninety-three year old to change. One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is about the way I love my own daughters. Never, ever would I or will I go into their homes and be anything short of gracious. I appreciate my daughters fully and their lives are not, and should never, be about me.
     In the midst of struggle, here are Three Beautiful Things : )
1. I walked away from the house with Henri. We broke into a run, up the back hill. I turned to look back at the mountains. "See, nothing is changed", I told myself. "The world is still there."
2. As my heart raced and tears of frustration sprang forth, all I could do was recite Psalm 23. "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul..." and I feel my heartbeat calm.
3. Steve, Claire, Chelsea, Audrey, and Tess. (Daniel, Mari, Jack, Matthew, Jared, Simon, and January Baby)


  1. There's going to be a January Baby! How lovely.

    It must be that generation, because my family bent over backwards trying to please my mother all the time, too. Hang in there, my friend. You are doing the right thing by her. I'm sure she knows that in her heart.

  2. I thought of this passage for you when I read your post "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
    Sending big hugs your way

  3. I thought of this passage for you when I read your post "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15
    Sending big hugs your way