MaryAnne1 Asked July 2010

How do I grieve and let go while my mom is still alive?

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Recently put my mother in Skilled Nursing with the thought of eventually going to Asst. Living. Getting good care - she insists she is going home - wrong. I was her POA and trying to tend to everything long distance. Without telling me she has changed her POA to a friend of hers age 88. I feel sad yet relieved - she has been difficult with me all my life I am 55 - I just want to get on with my life - whatever I have left to live.

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anne123 Dec 2013
Cruz, please please do not feel guilty for wanting to put your Mom in a nursing home. It is clear from what you write that now is the time to do just that. I have been down this road (caregiving journey) for about nine years now, and have adjusted to the feeling of having Guilt as my constant companion. You just have to realize that it is normal for caregivers to feel guilt.....literally all the time. And that's because there will always be something more you COULD do for your Mom. The excessive guilt we feel is not healthy or productive to our situations. We have to take care of ourselves. There are professional staff at a nursing home who can take better, more focused, care of your mother ......in a way that you cannot. You are tired (understandably)....and you are only one person. You are not trained, as nursing home staff are, to care for aging and ill patients. Once your mother is settled into the nursing home, you will be freed up to just be Daughter to her.....to visit her, love her, talk to her, bring her little gifts. Good Luck.
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Why do I feel so disloyal about putting Mom in nursing home?
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I'am having heart breaking emotions over letting my Mom.She is alive but physically hard to take care ,She rarely talks,has problems with IBS and UTI.sI feel like I have lst my friend ,companion we did everything together.since stroke in. 2006.it has been a roller coaster.and My siblings I have seen their true selfs.They do not care about my injuries or sicknesses.some claim to be Christian and that God is with them.But I need them now but,they cannot do anymore.I feel so sorry about thinking of putting Mom in a nursing home ,I just can't move her and change her.I do not want her to become a burden.I feel I can enjoy her in a nursing home.Iam a good person .but emotionally a wreck.Is this normal?
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rettajane Jul 2010
I see less &less of my Mom everytime I visit-as she descends into Alz.'s
...as I accept that she prob.-does have this disease...I feel an overwhelming grief of having already lost(some of)her.....My Dad struggles with caring for her&only tells me bits&pieces of his daily life..soon she be put into a nursing home....It'll be best for all.
It IS a sad,drawn out way of losing your loved-ones....I'm takin' it,one moment/day at a time.
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fiabanes Jul 2010
These comments are great, and so true, Mary anne, just let it go. You don't make decisions, you can just enjoy visits. Stop holding on to something you have no control over and that time will cure. just be sure you will not be financilly liable for anything.
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anne123 Jul 2010
Mary Ann, I could relate to your post because my mother ( now deceased) started to "lost her good mind", as I put it, once she got into her 80's. This was very sad for me to see because she had always been very mentally sharp, alert, and not the least bit "mentally ill." However, she started to say things to me which sounded childish and irrational. Again, this was very sad for me to see. She was the last person I ever expected to succumb to the ravages of mind-aging. But let's face it, it happens to the majority of elders ( if they live long enough) , and it'll happen to me ( if it hasn't started already!). Anyway, I remember my mother making certain statements like: "I don't need a daughter who's trying to run my life." for example. Hearing that hurt and wasn't at all helpful to me, as I was doing my level best to care for her and my father from another part of the country ( like you). Sometimes I would get the feeling that I was working at a thankless job.

So I say all this to you to offer you sympathy that your mother removed you from the POA role and put her 88 year old friend into it. Please do not take this personally. I honestly believe many of these elders , once they start getting up in years, aren't responsible for many of the things they say and do, and we need to take it with a grain of salt, and not personally. Now you just need to deal with the practicalities of your situation. Like.....do you want to talk to your mother and talk all this out and perhaps convince her to re-instate you as her POA? ( Could a third party, like a clergy person, help to talk to her along with you?) What would work best for your mother going forward? You know in your heart that your mother is where she needs to be for her safety and security, so now how do you keep yourself strong to maintain this workable situation for her? I agree with another poster here who mentioned praying to God. Some of these problems that come up, caring for our elderly parents, push us to the point of near-helplessness, where we go to God for help, sometimes with a desperate plea. He will get you through it. He will clear some kind of path. My husband and I have encountered all sorts of "roadblocks" along the way, caring for my parents, and every time we've asked God to help us manage, He was faithful and eventually brought resolution to the problem. And then relative peace and equilibrium was restored... for a while. This is not to say that this type of caregiving is not hard, because it is so so hard, and I have had many tears and pillow-soaked nights. ( as many or all of us here have, I would guess.)

I just feel sad for you right now, because you have been faithful to your mother and cared for her from afar, and have managed her transition into skilled nursing. And now this is the thanks you get? ----That she replaces you with someone else as her POA? Don't be angry, just move forward and deal with this. MaryAnn, good job! You are doing the best you can, and you are doing great. Just before my mother died, she thanked me for having gotten her and Dad to move into assisted living. It was a nice gift to hear that before she passed. I'll bet your mother , deep down, feels the same way----grateful to you for your care. Sometimes anger will make people do strange things ( like her "taking away" your POA status). She has dwindling strength and power in her life at this point, and manipulating POA status is one thing she can yet do. Hang in there, MaryAnn. You will make it.
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LynnPO Jul 2010
MaryAnne - My heart goes out to you. You sound a bit hurt yet relieved over the PoA situation. You must trust the social services staff at her nursing home to deal with decision making right now. They will do all they can to ensure your mom gets help based on her physical condition and her needs. They won't let her be discharged to assisted living or home if she's unable to meet certain criteria. I would be wary of an 88 yr old as PoA unless they are REALLY mentally sharp. If s/he is vulnerable then your mom's finances, etc are vulnerable as well!! I hope your mother understands that.

I moved my mom to assisted living last year and then a nursing home a few months ago. She still wishes to go home but I must tell her it's not safe anymore and her physical safety comes first. I am lucky that she found friends at the nursing home and is happier to have a roomate - something I never expected. I developed a sort of "mantra" - or positive affirmation - that I go through daily. I basically tell myself that i love her, respect her and want her safety and the best qualify of life possible for her. I remind myself that the Mom I had at age 20 wanted me to be educated, to travel to have a fulfilling life of my own. In my head I go through the things "wrong with her" that require she needs care all the time. Her physical limits are hearing and vision loss, she can't walk, has weak arms, no grip in hands, can't get on/off toilet alone or fix food for herself and her emotional needs (won't eat alone, won't take medications without prompting) really make it impossible for her to be home. This helps me feel less guilty about her not living in her own home. Each week I try to do things that support her quality of life - I send or deliver cookies and candy. I make sure she has a newspaper subscription, crossword puzzle books and plenty of pens. I often take coffee and pie from McDonalds and wheel her to a sunny location to share it with her. I try to get her to talk about things like her favorite childhood experiences, canning, baking - anything to help her relive good memories. I and my family also get her out when we can so that she has new experiences too.

I practice "compartmentalizing" my focus throughout the day. I push thoughts of her aside so that I can focus on my work or task at hand. It's not easy because, as women, we try to ensure everyone's tended to...it gets easier with time. ('ve also done a lot of reading about aging and realize that I am always waiting for the next "event" that signals a change or a decline. Keeping the list about mom's condition helps me to be rather clinical about her aging so that the next event is not a shock.

Sorry to blab on and on but this "letting go" is complex and our way of doing it depends on the individual and the situation. You'll be okay, just be aware that you must consider your own emotional needs and maintain the positive relationships that will survive your mom and help you heal after she's passed. Best of luck to you and her as well.
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Thank you so much for your kind statement. I was with Dad almost everyday and was holding his hand when he passed away. The time I spent with him was precious and I am grateful that he is no longer in pain. My husband and son have been a wonderful help, and I plan to create a relationship with my mother out of love for my Dad as well as love for Mom. I have learned that we often grieve for what should have been but have discovered that we can create our own special time with a difficult parent. I cannot fix the past but can allow the present to be much happier. Blessings to you..
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IsabelCares Jul 2010
RLP, I am sorry you lost your Dad.
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I understand your need to start grieving and letting go now. My father passed away 6 days ago after 7 months of illness. I also have a mother who is very contentious and unpredictable. I started the grief process the day of Dad's illness and it has helped me through the past 7 months. My mother sounds as if she shares some personality traits with your mother. I have worked hard to love her where she is at, respect her as my mother, remember some good memories, and I have started gently letting go except for when I am truly needed and allowed to help. We want to help our parents but cannot always do so when they do not want our help. Please go on with your life and help as you can without feeling guilty for what you think you should be doing but cannot. You will remain in my prayers. RLP
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