I feel guilty. I can't go see my mother very often. What should I do?

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As I reported before, Mom was placed in a NH hundreds of miles away from me. I am disabled, poor, and so is my husband. He has a touch of dementia. Mom recently had a turn for the worse and wasn't eating or drinking liquids. They got her to eat a bit and drink a little. She was sleeping most of the time and has grown quite weak. She is going downhill. I am able to make it there about once a month, but its a stretch. We have perfectly good NHs in my town but the POA says no to them. So my cousin just lost her mother. So she says stuff to make me feel guilty about not going to see my mother. She doesn't say this to be mean, just says it b/c she, like me, knows the end is near or not too far away. But Mom could hang on for another year or so. Physically she is healthier than me. About how often should I go see Mom? POA is wealthy, healthy, and young. She goes there quite often but won't take me with her. Right now I am feeling like I "should" go there. But its a long drive, I am in pain all the time, have an older car, there is no public transportation, like busses out here in the boondocks, the wilderness. The traffic is bad where she is and I am not a city driver and neither is my husband. The highway to get there is narrow but lots of traffic. I am just overwhelmed with all this. I am afraid she will die before I get there again. She was a very good mother. I was really blessed to have such good parents. If I press the POA for a ride, she says no. If I press POA to bring Mom closer to our city, she says no. So far I have not been able to find anyone who going to that city so that I could catch a ride. So to sum it up, I feel badly about not seeing Mom very often. What should I do?

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The most important thing to remember is not the quantity of the visits, but the quality of the visits. If once a month is all that you are capable of doing, then make it it an enjoyable visit. As for the posting stating you will pay for the rest of your life if you limit your visits is full of crap. Good memories come from enjoyable visits not miserable numerous visits.
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You know what you should do. Do the right thing, visit your dying mother. There is always a thousand good reasons not to do the right thing, and only one vital inescapable reason for doing it. Because it is the right thing.

What is the value of a life spent protecting yourself from discomfort? This is a situation that defines what kind of person you are. You won't get a second chance at this. You blow this, and you will pay the rest of your life. Do this and you will reap the benefits. You will be a worthy person, full of strength, wisdom, and gratitude. Your choice.
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If have done nothing wrong, you shouldn't feel guilty. Do what you can do like write letters and cards. You are in a very similar situation that I am in, except I'm the POA. Over the years my health has greatly declined due to carrying for my mother and taking care of her affairs alone. Please try to look at your sister's situation and be thankful that she is caring for your mother. It is not an enviable job. I would hope that the POA placed your mother in the home she was in because it was the best one available, not because she was trying to take your mother away from you. Hang in there.
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branywine don't feel guilty. you mom doesn't know if you visit or not. go when you can and each time make sure you say goodbye and if it is the last time so be it. You have done the best you can. If you feel you must go often can you drive to somewhere there is public transportation and ride to your Mom's city from there. Your sister is just being mean but there is nothing you can do about that and a trip in her car to visit Mom probably would not be pleasant either
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Brandywine...I can see now why the letter writing may not work. At least with the dementia she won't know you aren't there most likely. Let me ask you... if you had dementia and were in a NH and you had a child (son or daughter) who lived a hundred+ miles away, would you want them to spend the considerable time and money to come and visit you on a regular basis, knowing that you wouldn't probably not even know who they were? I know that I'd not want them too. Maybe on Mother's day or my Birthday, but maybe not even them if I had no idea who they were or would even remember them being there. And I'd not want my child feeling guilty at all about not coming! If I was alert and in my right mind, it might be a different story, but certainly not if I had dementia. I'll bet your mom would have told you the same before she got sick. It's time to do as you would think your mom would want you to do, and to let go of your guilt.

As for your sister, remember, she has it easy being right there. It's no effort at all for her to visit with mom. Regardless how many times she visits, this isn't a competition. This is life and you are entitled to yours, guilt free. You'd only be doing what your mom would want I'd bet... and that's living your life as happily as you can.
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Brandywine, your mother's POA sounds lovely. (sarcasm)
I can tell by your write up you have such a dear and kind heart. Go when you can. Do what you can. God knows our intentions and our hearts.
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Dustien, I should have mentioned that she is not in her right mind. She has dementia. I don't know what level b/c POA won't tell me and the nurses won't tell me. She couldn't possibly write to me or remember a thing about her surroundings. I do write to her quite often and I wonder if she even reads the letters I write. She used to have a basket in which she had her mail and the old cards are there but not the new mail. I wonder if she is throwing her mail away w/o looking at it. She does have dementia after all. She sleeps most of the time and is not with it. Thanks for the suggestions.
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oops, cure cards should be cute cards... but cure cards works too...it's to cure your mom's depression about having to be in a NH, at least for a short time. You might also ask mom to write about about people she's met in the NH, the employees, any activities she's been involved with, the "drama", etc... Could give you guys something to discuss next time you call her or go to visit and could get your mom more involved in the going's on so she'll have something to share with you next time she writes. Who says you have to "be there" or have the internet to have an interactive relationship? After all, what do you think they did before internet and smart phones?
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You can't just think away the guilt I'm afraid, no matter what we would say. I like blannie's idea of handmade cards. Think of it this way... you're trapped in a nursing home with not much new going on day after day. How would you feel to get mail daily, or three to four times per week at lease, and they are darling little hand made cards with a letter from you sharing something that happened to you that week and ending with a hug and kiss and a big missing you mom and looking forward to seeing you on (pick a date you'll be visiting her in the future). If she can still write, you can include a self addressed stamped envelope with a few sheets of note paper so she could quickly send you back a reply.

This will let your mom know you are thinking of her often, and that you do want to visit but just can't often. A couple hours once a week and for very little money (use bits of nature, a variety of stamps bought off ebay second hand, color pencils and your imagination) you could have 4 cute handmade cards (check the internet for crafty ideas) and notes ready to go for the whole week.

It will be work, but it should also help alleviate the guilt you're feeling and also put smiles on your mom's face between visits. Maybe not at first, but surely as more and more cure cards arrive and people at the NH begin to notice and comment. How special do you think that's going to make your mom feel?

Remember though, if you start this, you'll be committed to keeping it up as long as she is in her right mind mentally. But what a wonderful way to say, hey, mom...I'm far away, I can't be with you, but I sure do love you. And what price feeling guilt free about not being able to visit as often as you'd like. Then, those times when actually do go to visit will be all the more special for not having to be filled with your guilt about not being able to visit so often. After all, through your special cards, you're visiting several times a week!
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Blannie, The POA is my sister but we are estranged. She doesn't like me. That would take all day and half the night to explain. I do write to Mom and call her. Mom wouldn't go for this video thing on the cell phone. She is cranky and doesn't like new things. I have a cell phone and in my mind I am quite with it, just the body is worn out. But I certainly like your concern.
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