I've finally accepted Mom's desire to be miserable.

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I know that headline must sound strange! I have been "helping" my 88-year-old mom since my Dad passed away almost 4 years ago. I've been on the emotional roller coaster of looking to siblings for support and finding none, and finally accepted that the bulk of the work falls to me -- until Mom becomes unable to perform the tasks of daily living. Then there was the issue of my being reluctant to enjoy my own life. I am a widow as well, and have an active social life. I'd even like to meet someone to be a life partner. But I have allowed Mom to make me feel guilty for wanting to enjoy my life -- and by extension, not be there to spend time with her. I have encouraged her to make friends -- at the Y, the Senior Center, etc. But she seems to be miserably content to sit in the house all day surfing on the TV. I have finally realized that this is her life and I cannot live it for her. I can only live my own. I help her with chores and doctor appointments, but I can't make her enjoy her life without my Dad. It is sad, because she is a charming, energetic, intelligent woman. But she's also incredibly stubborn! I don't know if my sharing this is helpful to anyone out there, but I hope so!

10 Comments

Acceptance... isn't that a beautiful freedom.... to let others be who they are. Doesn't mean we always like it or even respect it... but owning we only have control over ourself is a beautiful freedom... thank you for sharing this.... I pray all those struggling with this issue will gain strength and courage to follow in your footsteps...thanks for sharing...hugs
Your comments are very helpful to me. My mother is pretty much the same way. In fact, she outright says she never chooses to be optimistic, because that way she is never disappointed. What a way to live a life! I try not to let her get me down, but some days it is very hard. Stay strong and enjoy your new attitude. We have to hold on to our freedom and joy of life any way we can get it! I say Bravo!
Before asking a question, I search keywords and usually discover that someone asked my question or was pondering the same issue. I searched for "acceptance" and this thread came up. My husband is struggling to accept that his parents are never going to be happy again regardless of both where they live and where we live. It's financial unsustainable for us to remain near them, and acceptance is once again on my mind. I hope others will comment.
I've accepted that my mother is never going to feel good or be happy again. It is a unilateral acceptance, however. She still feels if only someone (meaning me) would just do one more thing, then she would be happy. Of course, there is always one more thing, so the goal of happiness cannot be reached. avidreader said it so well. We can only live our own life and choose happiness for ourselves.
NY, is your husband struggling with acceptance because of pressure from his parents? Or is it something within himself making him feel he should do more?
AND you're continuing to set your mother a good example! :)

Good for you, you go to it. You should be living your life - we none of us have years to spare, surely - and if, as a bonus, your mother looks around her one day and thinks "why aren't I doing the same?" then so much the better. And if not, well, she still won't be any worse off and you will still have done your best for her.

Thank you so much for sharing this - it's a real restorative. Well done.
JessieBelle - he's struggling with his own feelings that he has failed them, even though nothing could be further from the truth. But my in-laws also dwell on their losses and tell my husband their woes, which makes my husband suffer more.
I understand. If they talk about losses and illnesses, it triggers the desire to fix things. Many of us are like that. Some things can't be fixed, though. Things that go with youth slip away too fast and no matter what we do, we can't get them back.

Wouldn't it be great if we had plastic surgery for the inside of us to make us feel good even when our skin is starting to sag and wrinkle.
NY my inlaws are the same way.. they try to guilt my hubs. They moved into a new house with the BIL and SIL, we were not informed until it was a done deal.. and now they want hubs over there doing things, etc. Why?? It's not our house.. BIL will likely get it ( they have stated they are not moving again) and BIL is retired and home.. why should hubs mow the lawn,, etc? Oh yes,, because BIL is already tired of them and wants hubs to take the pressure off him...LOL We already have our own home and the ILs vacation home to take care of, and hubs looks after my Mom who lives with us. No one at that house is happy and they want to drag others into the gloom!
I'm reading for the third or fourth time Roz Chast's "Can't we talk about something more pleasant?" because of the gloom and doom my FIL is prone to. The other day my husband said he feels his dad has become like a dark cloud hovering over the family. It's sad but true.

My wonderful neighbor talked to my husband the other day about his parents. They all knew each other and were neighborly before my inlaws moved to indy living. Neighbor said to my husband "Your parents are so lucky. They have everything they need at that place, and then some." It really is a fine building to grow old in. Hubby came back with a little bounce in his step because he realized even the neighbors recognized how much better off his parents are now.

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