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I don’t know how to react anymore. At times I lose control of my emotions. It’s just been so long. Caregiver to mom since 2005! Full time! Just me!


Don’t sleep well because of

incontinence issues, having to change her, change sheets, put dry clothes on. Not to mention everything else I do for her all day and night!


Does she sleep in after being awake at 3:00 in the morning? Nope! I have to wake up, fix coffee, cook breakfast. I serve her good meals daily. This morning it was oatmeal.


Was just about to drink my coffee while hot and she asks for toast. Geeeeez! I am a freakin short order kitchen.


I can’t get to the store because I can’t leave her. Hubby forgot to pick up bread. I found raisin bread that I had and toasted that.


Went into her room, like a room service employee and told her that if anything was wrong l didn’t want to hear about it because I was going to drink my lukewarm coffee! Then I deal with my own guilt for snapping at her. How in the world can I remain pleasant? I just can’t.


As most of you know, I am a believer but I have never been a big ‘bible quoter’ like I am reciting out of a law book. There are scriptures that are meaningful to me and there are those that I just don’t get!


I am reminded of a scripture at this time though. Paul in Corinthians speaks of giving with a ‘cheerful heart.’ I realize this scripture refers to tithing, but shouldn’t any giving, service or monetary gifts be done in a cheerful manner? I just don’t have a cheerful manner anymore! I’m too exhausted to be ‘cheerful.’


Sometimes she tried these requests at the nursing home while doing skilled nursing rehab. It depended on which worker was on duty if she got anything extra. When I was in room she expected me to be just as I was at home, waiting on her hand and foot. I helped her but did not do something I found unreasonable! I enjoyed being able to walk away and go home to a peaceful house! I was able to say, “Bye, mom. Love you, see you tomorrow!” It was fantastic! I fully get that it is hard for them to give up their independence. I’m sure I would feel the same way. We have to reach a balance of harmony though. I’m not looking for perfection, just more cooperation is all. She’s not a witch. She shows appreciation but simply doesn’t realize how difficult this is for me and feels that I don’t understand her difficulties. I try so hard to show respect and empathy for her needs.


I purposely did not stay ‘all day’ at the NH! Gotta tell you even though I was concerned about her improving, having my house to myself for those three weeks was pure delight! When did hubby have a freakin business trip? You guessed it. So, I did not get to enjoy time with him.


My husband does travel, some are international trips and those are long trips away from home. Gosh, I wish that I could hop on a plane to China with him!


Okay, let me have it. Just try to show some mercy to me because I have been programmed like this for a very long time! Hahaha. Laugh or cry, right? Or numb, like a machine. These have been my range of emotions.


Also, I beg all of you to pull for me to get Aid and Attendance from veterans as a spouse. Dad did serve during war time in WW11 so please keep your fingers crossed, say prayers, send good wishes, whatever...I have started the process. They say they will expedite the process because of mom’s age. Going on 94 in November. I feel like I am going on 104! I hope things go smoothly. Not sure if mom will qualify financially or medically for assisted living but if not I could at least use the money to hire in home care. Won’t pay for a lot but better than nothing! The max for a spouse is $1209 a month.


Whew! Enough of my ramblings. I just have so much going on in my head and heart. I do love mom with all of my heart. I truly know that she does love me as well. This type of arrangement though, live in, caregiver/elderly parent intensely changes the dynamics of a relationship.


Thanks for listening.

You have been caregiving for 13 years? To be honest, I cannot even begin to imagine. I could not myself do this for one year, let alone for 13, and I am well aware of my limitations. As to the cheerful heart, yes, I donate money quite cheerfully. It is easy, really, isn't it, to write out a check?
Given that you have chosen to continue to do this for so long, I think there would be so little I could say to you to make any difference in what your daily life must be. Our elders often live to be 100 now; so as I said, I just cannot even begin to imagine. It wouldn't be my choice.
I wish you very good luck. I doubt very much you will make an intentional changes here, as you have no so far done. It will not get easier. Perhaps not a lot harder either.
You might at the LEAST consider respite care for Mom and one of those plane rides to China. Do you not deserve even that?
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Just take a deep breath and try to take ten minutes to do a minfulness exercise--it's basically just deep breathing and letting go of thoughts, emptying your mind. Keep herbal tea on hand
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Alva, I didn’t choose it because I wanted to. Mom was homeless due to Hurricane Katrina. Tough spot to be in. Hindsight is 20/20. Trust me, if I had known...no one does though. No one knows how long someone will live or what the caregiving will be like under their roof.

Where was that crystal ball when needed?

You’re absolutely correct, writing a check is easy! A gift of self is a supreme sacrifice, isn’t it? Some can do it easily, maybe, or they hide it well.

Even mother Teresa hid it well. It was discovered later that she lived with severe depression. I deeply respect her. Not because I am Catholic, because of her humanitarian values.

She spent 4 hours in chapel before she faced her very challenging day. That was her way of fueling up for the day. Who could blame her? A person couldn’t run on empty and do what she did.

She chose not to disclose her depression because she wanted the focus to be on Jesus. I totally understand that.

A part of me though, wishes she would have disclosed her depression to others so it could be seen that even a selfless person such as mother Teresa dealt with depression while caregiving to the poorest of the poor. I would not have thought any less of her.

So interesting how people are different. Mother Teresa was born into nobility and chose to live among the poor.

Mother Angelica that started the Catholic Network, EWTN, was born dirt poor. Her biography was written by a man originally from New Orleans, Raymond Arroyo. Great read. She was also the most compassionate woman but definitely a different temperament that mother Teresa.

She went up against bishops and cardinals that she felt were not in alignment with Christianity, integrity and morality. They attacked her back. It’s all in the book. She got her network in the end, good for her!

Anyway she was so poor, growing up in roach infested projects in an Italian neighborhood (she is Italian, she had roaches crawling on her as a baby in her crib.

Her father left when she was very young. Back then being from a divorced family was a disgrace and she speaks about being treated so shabbily by the nuns at her school.

She hated them and said she was the last person you would’ve thought of becoming a nun. She was sickly. Long story short, was healed, became a nun. Anyway...her opinion of any mistreatment by anyone is, “God does not call us to be doormats.” She’s equally amazing to mother Teresa, just in a different way.
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Mikkimball,

I had a therapist speak with me about just that. He noticed that I was so tense that I didn’t breathe, then would gasp for air. I do have to focus on breathing. Thanks for the reminder. I appreciate it.
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I do feel a responsibility for mom. But I realize that I absolutely have more than I care to handle. I just hope this VA assistance comes through for us. It will be a relief if it does.
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I agree about this being a very intense thing to be solely responsible for so long. I was hands on caregiver for my cousin (dementia) for a short time and it wrecked my health. It took a year for me to get back on track. Now, I'm helping with my parents, who are competent, but, have some health issues. I already see how intense it's going to be as they get older and I've had enough. I'm planning my departure. (On good terms of course.) It's very stressful to be a full time caregiver. I think we all know our saturation point. Mine is approaching, so, I'm making my plans for exit. I can help, but, not live with it full time.
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Sunny,

Good for you to realize it now. I wish you well.
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In sorry you’re feeling conflicted. It is not a good feeling to feel like a servant or a short order cook! Sometimes you need to just walk away. Could you walk around the block? If not, just go to another room and do some deep breathing. If you feel guilty for losing patience, or even for just feeling irritable, go ahead and confess it. You will be forgiven, and that is a good feeling! Do something nice for yourself. A cup of tea? Little piece of chocolate? Of course, accompanying your DH to China would be even better! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are here visiting this week. I got out today for Five. Whole. Hours. It was divine! Did wonders for my attitude. I had an appointment with a counselor (very helpful), a manicure (ahh!), and a dentist appointment. The latter was not divine, but a necessity, and at least I had a day out to take care of me. Can you make arrangements for someone to stay w Mom so you can have such a day? It’s not a cure all as your responsibility is still there when you get home, but it makes such s difference and is so restorative! Hoping your request for aid and assistance gets approved- and soon!
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How about faking a cold? Buy a surgical mask to cover your mouth and nose and hack horribly? Then, you could limit your time around Mom because you don't want to get her sick also.

I'm (mostly) kidding, but when I had a fever for three days and stayed in bed away from my MIL for her own good...ah, it was glorious!! And, I did feel more patient when I was back on duty.

Wish I could help more to help you.
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Mary,

I don’t leave the house. I do walk in the house some because I get so tired of just sitting or I hop on my exercise bike.

Your time away sounds fantastic! Good for you.

I do get eight hours a month from Council on Aging but I generally use it to run errands, not too fun running out to buy pull-ups or poise pads. Hahaha.

I do take coffee breaks but my coffee usually gets cold before I drink it 😞

Chocolate always makes me feel better. 😊
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Metoo,

Not a bad idea! Haha. Thanks for the laugh.
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