On page 129 of the book, Boundaries: When to Say Yes and When to Say No To Take Control of Your Life, Drs. Cloud and Townsend discuss the difficulty some of us have with elderly parents who may not be really in need, but are irresponsible, demanding or acting like martyrs. or when they are in need lack the clear boundaries of what one can or cannot give. Poor boundaries can ruin marriages and hurt children.

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Now that mom is in the nursing home she has become fed up with being restricted, it has made her all the more determined to fight to get out of there, now stating that she never needed care in the first place. In one sentence she gets all mushy-gooey and thanks me for the five years I spent helping her, then in the next sentence she rejects any help from me or anyone else, at the same time she is wincing in pain from trigeminal neuralgia in her face and her back hurting from trying to stand up. She is in denial about needing to have someone help her and in denial about not having any more money to spend with it all going to the nursing home.

Their lack of planning or their declining state is not what I am talking about. Their irresponsibility and lack of planning as in the case of my step-dad compared to my mother is forgiveable. Her and his decline is part of life's journey.

What I'm talking about is the demanding parent who really is not in need or not as needy as they want others to believe. My elderly grandmother told my mother a few years before she died, "It's time for you to leave ___ and come live with me." That is one place where you as my mother did gracefully say no.

My sister in law and my wife are dealing with an impossible mother who has an incredible amount of money, alienates all in her path, demands that my sister in law be her slave for she lives a few houses down, has always run down my snl's husband, and tells people in town what a selfish daughter she has. Her daughter has been fighting uterine cancer since 2009 and she often calls me up angry and in tears about this for her mother makes her feel very guilty. That calls for a graceful but firm boundary. It needs to be forgiven but my snl has been abused enough.

So we love, forgive, and give. Right?

I've transitioning from mad at their irresponsibility and lack of planning, to compassion for their consequences and declining state. Grace. Grace. Grace. Gentleness and letting go of the past. What else is there?

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