My widowed mother has turned into Dad!
My mother, a farm girl from the depression era, was raised to be a servant to her man. For 60+ years she babied him (and her kids) and we all adored her because she was sweet. We were relieved he went first because she was so pleasant. Dad was a selfish, cranky, surly guy...not abusive, just stubborn, opinionated, judgmental, intolerant, sometimes comical, but always demanded his way. He passed away 5 years ago. I thought that would free up Mom to be herself. WRONG. It freed her up to be HIM!!! Oh my gosh! She was healthy and took physical care of him until the day he died. At that moment, she grabbed his walker, stooped over, and BECAME HIM! She is now in an assisted living, SHE insisted upon going), still healthy, and 92, impatient, picky, nasty, fault-finding, judgmental, filled with hate and negativism about everything. She hates everybody there but refuses to move. She says phrases Dad said and makes faces he made when disgusted with something. She throws her hands in the air and pouts. She's never happy with anything or anyone, family or help. She never mentions Dad and doesn't seem to miss him. She claims she doesn't want to "bother us kids", but she makes demands of us because she doesn't like the flavor of toothpaste we got her or her socks are getting stretched out. She doesn't like the way my brother looks at his wife (he loves his wife and they dutifully visit her and do favors for her), she gasps if the help brings her orange juice instead of cranberry, she refuses to eat if they have potatoes cooked one way and not the other. Yesterday, a visitor was supposed to come "sometime after 1:30 pm" so Mom refused to go to noon lunch because she might miss her. I said, "Mom, she said sometime AFTER 1:30. She has other appointments before you. It depends on how her other appointments go, and could be as late as 4:30." At 1:00 Mom was pouting and glaring at the door, saying her martyr thing, "Well, of course she's late. I'm not important. I might as well just die and quit bothering everybody." That was the first time in two years the stress dripped out of my eyes and down my cheeks all the way home. Every visit I make is an errand of some kind. She fills my visits with what she wants me to do and complaining about my sweet brother & sister in-law. And everything else. The way I handle it is praying all the way there, visiting NOT on a strict schedule but about 3 times a week when I can break away from life and have the stamina, and praying all the way home. And getting "release" by writing complaint letters to my girlfriend (who says I should also write a journal) and you.