I'm ready to say good-bye to my mother.

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I'm ready to say good-bye to my mother. She lives on the east coast---me on the west. I have only one other sibling ---who is no help at all (and more of a threat to her). My parents and I have been close all of our lives. We've done alot for them over the years, trips, etc. and they've always appreciated it.My Dad passed away in '96. Since then, my mother asked my husband and I to have her house put in our name---"so the government wouldn't someday get it". We kept saying no---because in our business---we had to put all we owned on the line all the time. In 02, my mother had to be hospitalized, almost died, and discovered that she had emphysema. I, of course, flew back and was by her side through it all and left after 10 days and it was clear she would be okay. We took one of our children and their kids back to visit about 6 weeks later. We rented a camp--so as not to put her out and had her stay with us. We also decided to go ahead and put the house in our name and give her life lease and also credit for the value of the house. (value---very small--about 43,000.) We helped her buy a newer car with some of that, and updated the furnace, roof, stairs, and other items that needed tending. We began paying for the taxes, ins. etc. We have always done things for her---like buying her a new computer----spending hours and hours explaining over and over how to open her email.(I thought this would be good for her mind and we could send pictures often, etc.) We pay for her internet hook-up, I buy her vitamins all the time---as she won't see a Dr. (they are all evil and only after your money)and it's the only thing she will consider to do that might help her. I also have her on our cell phone plan---to take with her when she drives---in case of an emergency. I bought her the help line to wear around her neck.---- 3 years ago---we helped her update her will. She had been complaining that she never finished the simple one that she had done just after my Dad passed away. So---when we go back to visit, we have her write up a list with all the things that we can do to help her around the house and spend a few days doing it (then we try to go to a camp to enjoy one another and are able to have other family come to visit too. My husband and our kids love being on a lake). So, we decided this time---we'd help her take care of her will. I looked into the internet and saw that we could do one there for about 30.00. I sat her down beside me for every question------and got her answers. If she wasn't sure, I would suggest something simple--- she would say okay. Basically, she always wanted whatever was left to be divided up evenly with my brother and I, with me taking care of things. Very simple. (When we transferred the house, after her withdrawal amounts were paid back all would be divided up evenly---was written in that document.) Dealing with her over these past few years---has slowly become a living nightmare!!!! She says that was all my husbands idea to have the house transferred and that she wants the papers back to her original deed. She says it's her house. Then she will say--it be coming back to her anyway in '09. ??? What she repeatedly says makes no sense---like well, if you bought my house---where's my money? then we'll explain about the car, repairs, etc. and she'll say " all you ever talk about is money! I'll send you the d--- money". I could go on and on---with the craziness!!! The will----she knew nothing about and says we did that will how we wanted to and stole papers from her file!! My husband opened her small file box (because she had misplaced her keys)and handed it to her. She swears that he went through it and stole some papers!! As we say---why would we? and that of course we didn't ever take any papers! She is absolutely convinced that he did it! My mother knows that we have always been upright, honest people----but has turned her opinion around that we are thieves and liars! This is soooo hurtful! She contacted her original attorney for a copy of her old unfinished will after I gave her a copy of what she gave me. She first said how did you get my will---I never gave it to you (which she did) I told her maybe she would be convinced when the attorney sent her a copy of exactly what I gave her. When he did---she said that was not the will that she did and then called him (and accused him of I don't know what!!) and asked if he was on the internet. He said yes, his firm was. So---now she thinks that he and I were in cahoots and forged her signature on the old will! I'm not sure why we would even do that! It is all so crazy!!!! I have developed severe stomach attacks from the stress of all of this --that puts me down for a couple of weeks at a time! My husband and I have been planning to go back again this fall and help her out---and try to do some enjoyable things with her. She says no----that she's not comfortable with us. She seems to be okay for part of our conversation---but it always comes back to her wanting her papers back that we stole. About 6 months ago---she called to say she found some of the papers she had accused us of taking. I said---so Mom, you realize that we never took them, right? she said --oh, well you put them back in the box. I said when? we live 3000 miles away! she said---oh when you were here last. None of it lines up or makes any sense. We have been called money-hungry, lovers of and controlled by Satan! I really am finished! (I can't begin to tell you the hurtful things she says to me. I think that's how she gets back at me---by trying to say something to hurt me.) My question---after all of that... Do we just transfer the house back in her name and let what will happen ---happen? I don't think that will make her happy either. She seems to find fault with any way that we try to help her. She actually complains about everything....like "not one soul called me today---nobody cares about me. Or---so and so called and talked for over an hour! I couldn't wait to get them off of the phone! They are such greedy, proud people!" (Always something negative)I have overlooked things and forgiven her time and time again---but don't think I can take it anymore. I typically call her every few days and tell her to call me if she ever needs anything! (She has a lot of confusion with things) I want to help my mother and help make her last years happier---but I don't think it's possible. Her health is not very good. Since she refuses to see a Dr., we're not sure about some things. We know she has emphysema---but her oxygen level is above the point needing oxygen (I bought her an at-home oxometer) She has no feeling in her feet, and is exhausted and out of breath from doing very simple things. She does still have her license and gets out 2 or 3 times a week (except during the winter).(At night---she says she's okay as long as she can follow someones tail-lights!! scary!)She's only 78---and could probably live much longer if she would see a Dr. It may be her circulation clogged or her heart. But who know? We've gone round and round about Drs. to the point where I've given up. Totally exasperated---I hung up the phone today telling her I never want to be in touch again......I feel I've lost my mother. She brings me (basically a very patient person)---to the point of craziness and it's taken its toll! I don't think I can handle things with her anymore. Any help or suggestions???
PS. I have her all lined up to get help (housework,etc) with a state organization---but again---she just won't do it or let me make the call! (She'd rather complain!)I don't think she wants anything to be my idea...Perhaps, if I'm out of her life---she'll have to rely on these other organizations----even if it takes her being admitted to the emergency room.

39 Comments

Wow- it sounds to me that you have done everything humanly possible to help your Mom-it goes back to what a friend at church told me years ago about me and my husband-that people treat the ones they are most dependent on badly-and it is true in my case. I just-finally got tough and said it was not allright to treat me badly, and slowly it is getting through to him. I would sit down and write down all I have done for her over the years and when the time comes that she has an emergancy you will be able to be clear about all you have done-for your own peace of mind.
Wait a minute...it sounds like your mother has the start of Alzheimer's disease. I know from experience and the things your mother is doing is exactly what my mother did to me acouple years ago. She would hurt me and accuse me of stealing her money, I couldn't do anything right. She wouldn't go to a doctor either, and when she had a accident in her vehicle and totaled it, that was how we found out she was in the early stages of alzheimers. Get a doctor to go to her home, I found one who would. Also, my mother would talk to total strangers before she would tell me anything. My husband and I went crazy trying to figure out what to do. She wouldn't leave her home, she wouldn't give up driving. Finally a year ago, we told her we were going on vacation to Florida and she had to go with us because it was winter and she couldn't stay be alone. That she agreed to. So we had it planned to take her to Florida and when we returned have a room fixed up in our home for her to live with us. It worked, but not quite like we planned. Half way to Florida, she looked at me in a restaurant and said, "who are you?" I knew her mind was getting worst, but she always knew me. It was 2 months before she remembered who I was, and it lasted only a few hours. My Mom is 80 years old, and we figure she has had Alzheimers for at least 3 years. I am her caregiver, and sometimes she will call me by my name and remember me as her daughter for a few seconds but mainly I am a friend, or sometimes her sister. She is pleasant and able to take care of herself as far as bathroom needs. She can't cook anymore and I have to fix her food. She can't stand loud noise and won't watch the television. She trys to read, but I know she is having trouble with that too. She loves helping me with dishes and we spend alot of time this summer outside with our feet hanging in the small pool. She talks about her Mom
Wait a minute...it sounds like your mother has the start of Alzheimer's disease. I know from experience and the things your mother is doing is exactly what my mother did to me acouple years ago. She would hurt me and accuse me of stealing her money, I couldn't do anything right. She wouldn't go to a doctor either, and when she had a accident in her vehicle and totaled it, that was how we found out she was in the early stages of alzheimers. Get a doctor to go to her home, I found one who would. Also, my mother would talk to total strangers before she would tell me anything. My husband and I went crazy trying to figure out what to do. She wouldn't leave her home, she wouldn't give up driving. Finally a year ago, we told her we were going on vacation to Florida and she had to go with us because it was winter and she couldn't stay be alone. That she agreed to. So we had it planned to take her to Florida and when we returned have a room fixed up in our home for her to live with us. It worked, but not quite like we planned. Half way to Florida, she looked at me in a restaurant and said, "who are you?" I knew her mind was getting worst, but she always knew me. It was 2 months before she remembered who I was, and it lasted only a few hours. My Mom is 80 years old, and we figure she has had Alzheimers for at least 3 years. I am her caregiver, and sometimes she will call me by my name and remember me as her daughter for a few seconds but mainly I am a friend, or sometimes her sister. She is pleasant and able to take care of herself as far as bathroom needs. She can't cook anymore and I have to fix her food. She can't stand loud noise and won't watch the television. She trys to read, but I know she is having trouble with that too. She loves helping me with dishes and we spend alot of time this summer outside with our feet hanging in the small pool. She talks about her Mom & Dad and wonder why they don't come see her. She has forgotten the last 50-60 years. It's memories of her brothers and sisters. It's a terrible disease, the doctor told me to put her in a nursing home because she will eventually hurt herself or me. One day at a time..down the road, I'll have to put her in a home, but not yet. But so far, she is content, and I have acouple friends that come for acouple hours and sit with her so I can get away, I miss not having my time...I want to scream sometimes because I feel trapped, but then I look at this way...she can't help it. She can't help it that she can't remember my grandchildren or my sons when they come. I don't know why she go it, no one in my family ever had alzheimers, but it scares me, because they say if a parent has the disease, there is a 50% chance the child will get it too. What is the answer?
Get your mother on Alzheimers medicene, it will help delay it, even though there's no cure. Get a "Durable Power of Attorney" for your state and a "Durable Medical Power of Attorney"....your mother needs to understand how important these are before it's too late.
I have run into alot of problems, but it will work out. I lost my only brother 6 years ago to cancer, he was only 52 yrs old..and my Dad died 4 years ago from cancer. I am all my mother has. It just hurts when she looks at me and says, "where's your mother?"......and silently I cry inside, "I'm here Mom, I'm here".

Barbara
I appreciate the comments from both of you. I have read about Alzheimer's and dementia quite a bit --trying to make some sense out of my mothers behavior. I thought she fit more into the category of regular dementia. I really have tried and tried to get her to a Dr. She has no use for them, although she does take albuterol and needs to go twice a year to get more. She likes that Dr. because she says he doesn't say anything except that she's doing fine. A couple of years ago---I was able to get my mother to sign some papers giving me authority to talk to the Drs. Then that Dr. moved to another office and they told me she would have to sign them again. We have had such battles these last couple of years---that I don't think she'll ever do that again. She was so terrible that one eye Dr. actually kicked her out of his office about 4 years ago. (She needed new glasses) Of course---he was that evil Dr.! So---I don't know if I'll ever get her to a Dr. unless she has ---like your Mom ---an accident or other health issue come up. And she is adamant about not taking any medicine! (Again---she does take the albuterol) Maybe if things get bad enough---she will.
So, it sounds like your mother went into not knowing who you were almost over night? Is that true? It's hard because I can be talking to my Mom about daily stuff and she seems fine. Although she does get quite confused about certain things and has not been able to reason for quite some time. She was even trying to defend herself last year---reading a simple Bible Scripture. (She's almost constantly argumentative) I could see that she just couldn't process the information---but thought she could---and just made it say what she wanted it to. But, whenever it comes to the house or the will--especially---it's all the crazy accusations again. She will call me a liar----and absolutely all my reasoning---do not do a bit of good. Then we end up in a fight and I know she's spends days crying. I feel so bad and then call her and try to act as though nothing ever was said.
It also sounds like your Mom quit being angry with you and accusing you of things. When did that happen? ----It IS a terrible disease (and all of its forms)----and I have been so concerned that I might ever do this to my children. That's wonderful that you are able to take care of your Mom. I have tried to move my Mom out west with us---but she won't hear of it. We have a little guest house that we actually remodeled for her. I have been checking into assisted living units though---just in case. That goes back to already having the house in my name and whether or not to put it back in her name. I would like to be able to sell it --when we need to---and put whatever we can get for it ---towards her care. If I put it back in her name and she goes into a state nursing home---I believe the state will just take it. I would like to get her the best care--if possible.
Power of attorney and medical power of attorney?---I've been trying to get her to do those for years. She is one stubborn woman.
I feel bad your Mom doesn't know who you are. I have thought that that might be better than the angry accusations---but maybe not. It is all very sad. Thank you for sharing....
Hi CNichols
Thank you for replying...my mother was the same as yours, very hurtfull and the neighbors kept telling me that she was having problems, sometimes didn't know them but when I would visit her once a week or more, she seemed fine and always knew me. I asked the doctor about her not knowing me, like her mind just snapped, and he said that's the way itis sometimes...Yes, since she doesn't know me as her daughter, she is very nice. We get along so much better, but that's so sad. It hurts when she asks me where her daughter is and why she doesn't visit her...I gave up long ago trying to make her understand who I am...she just can't understand anymore. I did have problems in June with her wondering down the street looking for her daughter, so the neighbors have been wonderful since I explained my situation. It is hard with her living in the same house, I considered a trailer but its too dangerous now. She gets very scared at night and many nights I have to sit up with her and just talk. That's another thing, she never was a talker before, now she loves to talk. I get comments all the time from family and friends how delightful and funny she is now. It's so strange. I don't know how long she will go on like this, the doctor said she was in stage 2. I guess I am lucky, I was able to sell her home and her car...she didn't remember either anymore. Just take one day at a time. Try to get a doctor, even a lawyer to go to her home, maybe without you, and gain her trust. My mother hates going to the doctor too and she refused the tests they wanted to do, but the doctor said it didn't matter, she had alzheimer's and there was no stopping it now. I do give her vitamin E and they said that helps. I think just telling her I love her more often and holding her hand has helped so much. That's another thing, she never wanted touched, was hard to give love to, now she thrives on it. Good luck, my prayers are with you. Barb128
Thank you Barb, (I did respond earlier to your email---but don't think it got sent---sorry if I'm repeating myself). I appreciate your sharing more about your Mom and how the disease affected her. I will keep looking for signs for my Mom and keep working on her to get the right care. It is very hard for me---living so far away. I have asked for her to at least come and visit for a few weeks and get to see all her grandkids and great grandkids (as all but 1 grandchild live here) and let me take care of her. Said I would go back and come out on the plane and take her back, etc---but she won't hear of it. The last time she was here was 3 years ago. I know she finds comfort in the home she's been in for 50 + years and knows where everything is, etc.---but she is very lonely! (I think she drives most people off---with her bitter spirit) She also now has these thoughts about my husband and I, (being money hungry and thieves!!) that it is overshadowing all of the wonderful years and things that we've done together and for her and my Dad. She says she will spend hours thinking and thinking and talking to God. (I am so glad she loves the Lord) but then seems to only remember negative things and looks at so many things in a negative light (or even totally wrong). When she gets going about things---she will say how awful I was as a child---like how I didn't like an outfit she bought me when I was 8! and how that hurt her! I said well if that's the worse that I did ---you should be so grateful!! I guess I get defensive---because I really was a good kid --fairly shy and studious. She had all kinds of trouble with my brother (who has been major trouble all of his life!)---but now will put us in the same category at times. So---I fight these feeling of hurt, anger, frustration and deep love and compassion for a mother that I am losing. I make up my mind to overlook the accusations---once again----and say I will not react to them anymore---but lo and behold---I do. So---now we have a trip back east---in which we were going to help her out for a week, and she asked us not to. I have booked the tickets for the business aspect of it----but am now not planning to extend it to see her. I'm not sure I'm making the right decision. But maybe she's better off without my involvement. But she really doesn't have anyone else. She does have 2 older sisters and a sister-in-law--fairly close by---but they don't like to visit her---because of how she treats them. I don't know that they realize perhaps that Mom does have dementia of some sort and not able control herself. (Yet---my Mom thinks everyone else is at fault! She's very offensive!) I have confided in a few family members--for them to be aware. So---now I'm wishing we had planned the trip to go to visit her---no matter what she has said. It's a good opportunity since we will already be close by. Sorry, I've rambled on to you---when I really meant to thank you and to say how wonderful it is that you are taking such good care of your Mom. Perhaps-- bitter-sweet that you get along fine now ---but--- she doesn't know who you are. Makes me want to spend time with my Mom now--in case that's where she's headed too. Thank you again and God Bless.....
My moms cancer has made her similar with me. She did sign a durable power of attorney for me and i was able to transfer funds for home care, but every other day she wants to see a bank statement, and she thinks i am trying to take everything from her. I just pick my battles at this point. It takes so much energy to fight. I am grateful that at least her dx is short term if I had to do this for years i could not. It is really hard when you have been so close to your mom, like you have been best friends, and she just looks at you like she does not know you and accuses you of something you would never do, or all the things you know you are doing for her dont matter because they are not good enough. In my moms case I think its more because she has lost control of her life so fast. Its still hard and I still hate it and it sucks. Bought the shirt "cancersucks.com". The best part is her being on the phone at nite telling her friends how she is "forcing herself to eat" while i am out getting her pastries, steak, and whatever she wants......it makes me laugh so hard i want to pee.......people in our age group have no clue that when the sunset of our parents life comes it is not this dreamy gosh i love you mom time, it can quickly become a resentful hurtful, horribly draining time and I hope my kids remember the good things about her. I have done and seen parts of my mom i never should have......would i do this again? hmmmmm.......only because its her........i am gonna walk into a snow bank in alaska when its my turn.........hugs to all......it has helped me soooo much to know that I am not ALONE out there.....mary k.
When it's our time, my husband and I are going helicopter skiing! LOL Nope, you're not alone. Dementia is a confusing thing, but the more information one has about it, the better able we are to understand it, and how to respond to it. Asking God for grace and compassion, and praying for our failing loved ones is very important. And so is having a good support system for ourselves, and them.

Last night, while visiting FIL in the nursing home, he was trying to get an imaginary cat out from under his dresser. At least he isn't mean to us, though he does have difficulty with some of the other residents.

My mother, on the other hand, is a classic NPD-Dementia mix! And boy it that hard to deal with!!! I am learning, though. And God helps me get through the rough times. Mom's been seeing Doctors for years, for all kinds of symptoms, but only recently has she been diagnosed with a Severe Personality Disorder. In researching this, I'm guessing NPD. But sometimes the lines are fuzzy. The important thing is getting help for those who cannot help themselves. I am court-appointed legal Guardian. It is never easy, but sometimes necessary. And remember to get the help you need for you, as well.

As bad as things can be, God sends blessings to help us along the way. So, hang in there, Caregivers! Yes, it's hard, but God's mercies are new every morning. He will guide you along the way.
All:
My mother just passed a few days ago.

In one month she was gone. She lived with me a total of 8 months. I enjoyed every minute of it. We talked, cooked traditional receipts and generally hung out.

Sorry it was so unpleasant for the rest of you. I was blessed.

I am going to make my comment very brief.

If your parent is living with you, have a doctor write a script with the words: Home Health Care/Hospice.

Medicare pays for EVERYTHING, including durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, commodes and hospital beds, etc.

These people were angels on earth. Even to the point of providing a volunteer so I could have some free time to myself.

Please consider Hospice. It is not just for cancer patients and care can be provided in your home if the patient lives with you.

You do not have to place a patient in a facility in order to receive this care.

God Bless you all!
CNichols, you are not alone with your feelings of being ready to say goodbye. One of my dear friends has a sister who has been terminally ill for more than a year now. My friend takes a practical approach, which I respect, though still find it hard to ascribe to. My friend's practical view is that there is a point where close family is "simply waiting for the person to die." That was hard-hitting and heavy when she first said it among a group of us who happen to be friends. According to her, "most people are waiting for that to happen, but just would never admit to it." While that is not the feeling in my own heart, I understand and hear it as a statement of practical wisdom, just as I understand the title you have chosen for your post. Please hold your head high knowing that you have done your caregiving and individual best, and there is no guilt in being ready to move on with your life. You are only human, and you are exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Who could blame you? God bless you, always.

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