I have often said it is easier to do the right thing if what that right thing or path is clear, no matter how difficult it may be.

I have been doing my best for my 90-year-old mother for years, always trying to go with her wishes whenever possible, even if that makes it harder for me. After a decade of delays, she finally moved into a townhouse in town, and off the deteriorating, dangerous, isolated, farm. This let me get her internet, and with it more than three channels of television, a phone that works (rural landline phone service often does not work for weeks at a time), and the ability for me to be able to check on her daily via security cameras.

All that helped and made it possible for me to get help to her quickly a couple months ago when she fell and broke a hip. I spent the next month dealing with her problems and care full time, with my phone ringing non-stop. I actually was glad for the first time I was still unemployed, COVID having stopped down hiring in my field, after the company I had a good job with went out of business.

Her surgery and recovery were, of course, complicated by COVID, which had all hospitals in our area full at that time. I could not go in to see her, and her hearing is so bad it is hard to talk on the phone (she insists on taking her hearing aid out when using the phone). The top-of-the-line recovery/rehab place I found for her was akin to hell, she made it clear to me.

I am not young, myself. I have had two hip replacement surgeries within the past few years. The recovery/rehab place I got for my mother is the same one I was in after my surgeries!

But, I understood. She was isolated, lonely, and afraid. I could only visit via phone sitting outside her window. Even though it was winter, and it made *my* hip and back hurt terribly, I went often.

Amazingly, she went HOME after only a couple weeks. I stayed with her the first night, got family members to do a couple days of check-ins, and came back often myself. I live two hours away, and have a husband whose medical needs requires me to care for him, too. I got her daily in-home help, who have been wonderful. Everything is going splendidly, beyond all expectations.

So why did I finally cry? Remember the security cameras? I have been checking them more often since her fall. I saw someone I didn’t recognize, with no aides scheduled, on the camera yesterday. I turned the sound up, which I rarely do - I am checking on her, not spying. But with the sound up, I heard my mother going on at length complaining about me.

It was crushing. The person, a relative, it turned out, barely got a word in, but my mother went on and on about me. I shut off the camera, but when I popped in to check again half an hour later, first thing I heard was my name again.

All the difficulties didn’t do it, but that made me just sit down and cry.

Thank you for listening. This is my first post, but I have taken comfort from the posts and comments of others over the past year.

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There's not one single good thing to say about what happened to you. Not one single platitude comes to mind to excuse your mother's rancid behavior, not even dementia. I'm really sorry you had to hear what you heard, after doing all you've done, out of the goodness of your heart.

Sounds to me like it's time for your mother to go into Assisted Living at a minimum, Skilled Nursing at a maximum. Then when she complains, she'll have grounds for those complaints, since all elders in managed care make it their full time hobby to complain. And you can go see her on your schedule, and know that she's safe and cared for without driving 2 hours to check up on someone who shouldn't be living in a townhouse by herself at 90 anyway.

Know when to cry uncle and when to recognize when enough is truly enough.

Best of luck !

My mom is someone I will never understand, NEVER.

She's says she loves me, but then turns around and says the nastiest stuff about me.

I told her when I had cancer, May of 2019. What did she say "Oh, well, your daddy will be so glad to see you" (daddy had been gone 15 years.)

She never ONCE in the year I treated with chemo and all that goes along with that--ever acknowledged that I was so so sick. I went to see her after my hair began to grow in. She looked at me (yeah, I looked rough) and said "well, you WERE my prettiest child".

Did she mention to a SINGLE family member or friend that I had cancer? Nope, not once. What kind of mother DOES that?

I walked out that days in pre-hysteria tears and she calls after me "Well, you KNOW I love you, right?" I turned and said "You have a funny way of showing it, mother."

I do hear about how she complains about me behind my back--and all I have ever done is HELP her, often when my 4 other sibs are MIA.

No point in bringing this up with her, she's not got the memory to remember anything past what happened 10 minutes ago, but has total recall of something I did 50 years ago.

To self protect, I simply don't call or go see her. If I am doing nothing for her, then she can't complain.

Wow. I am so sorry that you had to hear that. You have done so much for your mother, and you have nothing to feel bad about. Some people are just never going to be happy or pleased with things, and are happy to complain to whoever will listen. Anyone that knows all you've done will take what she says and let it go in one ear and out the other. Are you planning on addressing this with her, or are you just going to pretend that you never heard her? I doubt it will make a difference either way, but it might make you feel better if it's addressed. Please take care of yourself. You are only one person and honestly your husband's care should be coming before your moms. Perhaps it's time to remove yourself from her care, or at least cutting it back to the minimal. Best wishes.

“And look what she's done to her HAIR would you?” How did you know I recently cut my own hair?! :-)

Thank you for your response.

I actually don’t even expect appreciation from her. Neither she, nor her parents, were warm huggy/lovey people. Doesn’t mean the love wasn’t there, it just wasn’t always expressed.

Doing one’s duty to a loved one is its own reward. I can live with myself and sleep at night because I know I didn’t shirk a responsibility. Doesn’t make it less exhausting or miserable at times, however.

But I can only do what I can do. She is more than willing to complain to me, and I try to make adjustments to deal with her complaints, and get things the way she is more comfortable having them be, within limits of safety and reality.

It must be so terribly frustrating to lose that control when one has been strong and independent, and taken care of so many others until the last few years. She knows she should be able to do things she used to do, and take care of everything, but the reality is, she can’t.

I suppose it’s telling that the relative did not contact me later. I keep the family updated on a private message system so they know what’s going on, and what I am doing for her care.

On the plus side, I have also gotten a wealth of stories and family history from her this past year, much that I had never heard before, as she steps further into the past in her mind.

Whether or not you ever had a great or troubled relationship with her...this would cause anyone to cry. But at 90-yrs old, I would not put much stock in it -- only that a relative had to be on the receiving end and that is upsetting for sure. It's possible this relative is wise enough to recognize the feverish imaginings of a declining brain. At 90 I doubt I'll be the same personality I am now. It's not her original self talking. Please take heart that YOU know YOU have been doing yeoman's work in caring for her. Please work on having peace in that FACT. If you can't, then maybe for your own sake you should choose to put up a boundary and back away from her caregiving, even for a while. Take a break. You are caring for 2 people and that's a lot.

We were writing at the same time. I like what you said.

Does Mom suffer from Dementia? This could be the reason. Making changes from what she was familiar with, hospital stay and then lockdown in rehab could make Dementia worse. There's a decline mentally as we age. By the way u talk, things have not always been easy with Mom. Doing what she wished even though it was hard for you. I am wondering if Mom has always been hard to please. Not a happy person. If so, no matter what you do, will never be enough.

You cried because with caring for a husband, doing all you did for her and then its not appreciated, was just too much. Look up Narcissist and see if Mom fits the description. If so, realize you will never please her. She lacks the ability to show empathy or love. She is selfcentered.

Its going to be hard, but u need to set boundries. Ur husband is #1 and everyone involved in Moms care needs to be made aware of that. If u have siblings close by Mom, they need to help her. You can't jump at every command if ur 2 hrs away. You have gotten everything set up. Just observe from a distance. If she calls you or you call her and she is snarky, tell her you will talk to her later and hang up. You don't have to pick up her calls.

This breaks my heart. I will tell you one lesson I learned a long time ago. I worked on a floor I loved, and I treasured my co-workers. I had a special relationship esp with two older CNAs I loved. Yet one day as I was in the medication room adjacent to the break room coffeemakers I heard them gossiping about me. And I actually listened to it. And yup. Tears for sure. For certain. And felt my entire work world caving in around me. What I had been so certain of was simply not what was true.
I went home and at the time my Sister in Law was living with us. I told her, weeping all the while, what I had heard. And the first thing she said to me was "Al, you know they were just TALKING. We just TALK and gossip. It is what we DO. We just do it and we don't even believe half what we say, and if we thought someone would post what we said to the person we are talking about????? Well, we would be devastated. If you take Nettie and Ingrid aside and say what you heard they would be devastated, because the honest TRUTH is that you DO all love one another".
I think of that often throughout life. We just TALK. And what/who does she have to gossip about. Well, YOU, of course. And she knows every little tic and quirt you have because she KNOWS you. I mean, what did she say that was awful. Cause I can kind of hear it NOW: "Oh, that Goddatter! She KNOWS how much I hate being bothered on Bingo day; so WHAT DAY does she come? Bingo day. And she is such a pest. Did you take this and did you take that and how are your bowels. And when I need her she isn't here. All the other times she is here! And look what she's done to her HAIR would you?"
And on and on. It's all just chatter. It's all to entertain the other person there.
I know the heartbreak. How thankless it must all feel. I would be honest with her: I really would. If she knows already about the camera, then do tell her. Gently. And how hurt you were. I think she should hear it. And then file this under "NEVER read other people's mail, look at their emails, listen to their phone messages, watch the camera in their room, listen outside their door. And oh my god, DIARIES. NEVER do another person's diary!" It almost always goes wrong. I am so sorry. I feel terrible for you.

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