While clearing out my parents' stuff, I am stirring up painful childhood memories.
My father died 3 1/2 years ago. My mother had a stroke and lived with me for about 2 years. We are now moving her to assisted living.
I am clearing out files and letters and things that we just boxed up when we moved Mom in with us. I'm coming across journals and letters and other things that are bringing up painful memories. My parents were narcissistic but more than that they were neglectful of my siblings and I. They were caught up in their schemes and plans and beliefs and their own unacknowledged mental health issues. They didn't do alcohol or drugs but their behavior created similar chaos.
Part of me wants to just toss everything and another part of me wants to keep looking at it all before I give or throw things away. I guess I felt bad about staying away, but the things I'm finding are reminding me of why I did and that I stayed away to keep from being damaged more by their actions.
Even though I lived through it, I sometimes can't believe how very screwed up they were. And the family is still having to cope with their chaos. I am doing for them what they didn't do for me. A friend told me "their intentions were good" but I'm having trouble seeing that.
Caregiving with a history of family dysfunction is so very difficult.