I have posted before but I sit here tonight now filled with guilt because my mom grabbed her belongings to head to her house. This has happened multiple times after many arguments. She's been here since my dad passed July 14th and has stayed with my brother 10 days in all. She wants to be here at my house only surrounded by the noise and grandkids. It brings her comfort. However, any single time I approach the subject of her house and spending time there, we end up in a huge argument. Tonight, she told me she just never thought her daughter would be so bothered by her staying with her to heal. I probably dug the knife too deep and finally said I don't know any parent who would put their kids in this situation. I don't know why it has been so hard for me to show grace. Instead, I'm angry, I'm resentful...she is not stronger to try to spend time at her house or rely on others. She is traumatized by dads death at house. I get that. I guess I truly am a bad daughter for not embracing her with more love but I just cannot wrap my brain around her thinking it is ok to not take steps to at minimum not be at my house at least 1 night per week to start. That ask just explodes! She can't understand why I just can't give her time. I am so tired of this. Am I delusional to think its not normal for a 67 year old mom to never return to house after their spouse dies?

Mom 67
Me 41
Kids 13, 11

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How about you and mom (and maybe your whole family?) start going over to mom's house and hanging out there? Bring a meal or get takeout. Do it today! It's Sunday. Bring food and start getting her used to being back in her house. Although it's more work for you (of course!) it could help get her used to going there and getting over her big feelings. They just get bigger if she doesn't confront them and it's not like dad died a week ago. I'm glad she's in therapy.

Maybe spend some time there together EVERY day starting now. Then I would say next weekend, you do a sleepover with her there. Tell her in advance that you are only doing this for ONE night! You don't want to start any bad habits. But it's time to rip off that band-aid and get back to her life. SO you can get on with yours.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (7)

This may be on the ‘normal’ spectrum for M’s therapist, but it’s not working for you. Grieving for a year or even two is probably also ‘normal’, but it doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate it. A few ideas:

1) Go with her to her ‘grief therapist’. Assess how useful you think the therapist is – some just aren’t, they will agree with whatever the client says and are prepared to take many many sessions and dollars to move on. If you aren't impressed, push for a different therapist.

2) Tell the therapist that you cannot continue with this. Your own grief is not being respected, and you need your own time for that. You also need time for your family, who are your principal responsibilities. Ask the therapist to deal with M’s ability to deal with your needs and grief as well as her own.

3) Ask M if she feels uncomfortable in her house, and would she prefer to live somewhere different. It’s possible that its memories are overwhelming. Perhaps it’s the first time in her life she has lived alone, or spent a night on her own. Take her to see some particularly nice SL or AL places, and talk about plans for the future. It really is a good time for her to think about how she is going to live for the rest of her life. Get her to start packing up for the smaller home she is almost certain to need.

4) Send her away on a holiday. A tour for people of her age could give her new things to look at, think about, people to talk to. I know from my own experience that it can really really help. It doesn’t remove the problem, but it stops it overwhelming all your thoughts.

5) Let your husband be the one to make a stand. He can insist that she limits her stay, for his sake and for the sake of his children. Not negotiable. Not your fault. Your lines go like this: ‘I’ve never seen him so determined’. ‘I can’t keep going against his wishes’. ‘I’m not willing to break up my marriage over this, however unreasonable you or I think it is’.

Take a pin and shove it somewhere in the above list. Talk it through with your husband and your children. Each of these options is genuinely possible.

Love, Margaret
Helpful Answer (6)
Chris52 Dec 2022
Excellent response! And all of that can be done with compassion.
You are not delusional to think that mom is having an untoward reaction to her spouse dying. You are used to having privacy and living with just your own family. Mom is not seeing that having her there, even if she's not expecting any "care" is a burden on you. Your needs and her needs are not in alignment.

This is not about what she "should" want/need; it's about what YOU need. Mom seems to be in need of distraction and she wants to be away from the "scene of the crime".

You want your house back and the time and space to heal from your dad's death.

I would say the 4 months is a LONG time to be patient. It's time for mom to figure out somewhere else to go to avoid her house. And as I said earlier, this sounds more complicated than grief.
Helpful Answer (6)

Is this the kind of situation that would usually lead to you calling, apologizing, prostrating yourself in front of your mother in an "I'm so sorry mom"? If so, that's what she's waiting for.

My mom and I have had situations where ultimatums, extremes, and guilt-tripping were used as weapons in our history of interactions. Eventually I finally cut her out of my life with a nice verbose letter talking about all of the times she had stepped on me. My brothers were allowed to consistently kick her to the curb, leave her hanging, disrespect her, but me, ohohohohoh no.

"A son is a son until he gets a wife, a daughter's a daughter the rest of your life."

There are people who live and breathe this.

I will point out right now my tiny mommy is sleeping about 12' away from me right now, as I'm sitting on my PC here waiting for her next med dose so I can wake her up for it and she can get as many calm continuous hours of sleep as possible.

Putting my foot down did not, in fact, lead to the end of our relationship, or the end of my love to her, or hers to mine. What it did teach her is this amazing skill. She learned to say "I'm sorry" to ME for once. After her temper ran out and she whinged to me to everyone under the sun, she realized that in facet, yes, she was kind of being a selfish, over-asking, manipulative, ultimatum delivering *****. She learned to say "I'm sorry" and mean it.

Others mileage on this will vary. But, it required playing that game of "chicken" to the end.

You also lost your father and it's kind of absolutely ****ed of her to not think for half a moment about you.

You have done nothing wrong. It is not your job to be the volume dial on the sounds that blare out your mom's inner thoughts about her loss. YOU can't hear him either. YOU won't see him anymore either. This isn't all about HER. I'm sure you've prob said as much.

Some love needs to be delivered as tough love. You are not asking something unreasonable. Let her have her temper tantrum. Slap your own hand when you get the urge to call her back. Hug your hubby and kids. She's a grown woman, not a child. Don't react to a tantrum.
Helpful Answer (5)
Pfamx5 Nov 2022
Thank you. It's just so hard because before all this she has been an amazing person, there for everyone. I'm just not like that least right now I'm not.
I am 67. I can’t imagine myself moving in with either of my daughters if I suddenly became a widow.

I am not a widow so I can’t address that issue. Grief is complicated and everyone deals with it in their own way.

I agree with Margaret’s advice to you.

I see from a previous post that you wrote that she is seeing a therapist. Therapy can take awhile to be effective. I hope that she is willing to invest enough time into it to reach healthy goals. Make sure the therapist is dealing with her issues pertaining to grief.

Has her therapist ever requested for other family members to be present during her sessions? I would definitely go with her if at all possible.

One on one therapy is wonderful but so is family therapy. It gives the therapist a better understanding of the situation.

Another thought is that her home holds too many memories for her to bear. She is having extreme difficulty processing her emotions.

I know a woman whose only son (age 17) was murdered. She ended up moving out of her home because every room in her house held so many memories and being there was torturous for her.

Her husband wasn’t severely affected by the house but he agreed to move to help his wife move forward. Sometimes it isn’t running away from something but rather moving towards something new.

She and her husband sold their home and bought another one. This is an extreme measure but she found peace after she relocated to a new house without any memories of her her son.

You are between a rock and a hard place with trying to balance your own life with your family and your mom’s life and her struggles with grief. That’s a tough spot to be in.

I wish you and your mom all the best.
Helpful Answer (5)

Does her therapist know she is living with a child. I agree, no one should rush anyone's grief but that does not mean that she lives with you until it subsides.

If Mom is serious about not moving back, then tell her to sell the house. Take the proceeds and buy a smaller one. As said, go into independent living. Get a nice apt. But she can't live with you until she feels her grief has gotten better or your brother. She has to learn to go on without him. Her children cannot be her option.

Maybe Mom leaving is good. This is not the first time you have expressed its time for her to go home. And its not fair to you that she guilts you. She needs to be alone. Staying with you she is not giving herself the ability to grieve completely. She likes the noise if your house because it keeps her from dealing with the grief.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance are 5 signs of grief. She needs to experience them all in her own home.

Like I said in your other post, have her work into it. Do not give in to her. Mom starting tomorrow you are spending the days in your house. No argument. You have to go back to living in your own home. You can't grieve properly in my house with everyone around. You can come back to my house for dinner and sleep over. She has to get back on the horse. She needs to scream, to cry, to hit something when no one is looking. Has she had a good cry? She needs a good cry where she gets hiccups, is exhausted and can't cry anymore. She needs to do this alone. You are disabling her by letting her impose on you.
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She's manipulative and selfish. Healing since July? Nah. Having a servant since July. Be firm, be strong, be polite. "Mom, I've had you here for six months. If you're not healed yet, you need to go to a rehab center. My first priority is my husband/wife and children. Not you. I've gone above and beyond, and that happy time is over now. I will visit you twice a week. You can be mad at me, or you can accept this, but my decision is firm."

You are so far from a bad daughter. Shame on her for guilt-tripping you.
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Your home should never have been an option without a plan. But it is not to late to move forward to create one. Plan must include: review/ creation of paperwork (POA) and preparation of suitable living quarters that match your mothers level of independence. The clearing out any clutter, downsizing of home furnishings, and/or sale of the house/property and move to suitable apartment should be a priority.

Do not get blinded by guilt. It makes it impossible to move forward. Your role is to navigate.
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Its been a week, has Mom returned?

Really, you are not wrong. Mom is just afraid but she needs to face it. Six months is fast approaching. She needs to deal with Dads death. My Dad died in my parents home. Mom did not leave her home. Never asked to stay with me. She had friends and her Church. Your Mom is 67, I know a lot of women her age that lost husbands of many years. They get up and brush themselves off and move forward. They have to. Life goes on.
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Well, the wonderful thing is that she finds comfort living with you. Bless you for your loving heart, and open home. Bless your family as well! Forgive yourself for getting frustrated. This is a huge change for all involved. AND you are grieving! Keep saying you are sorry and try again. Because you argue and say what you think, it tells me you are very close and you love each other. Those are all good things, but having your Mom there 24/7 is a little much. It does not sound like her going home to an empty house is a good thing for her. That is very understandable. Some people WANT to be there and some people simply CANNOT be there. My suggestion is that you start scheduling some breaks. Schedule your Mom to be at your brother's EVERY week 1-2 days per week. Time at senior centers. Time at Adult daycare centers. Maybe add in some grief counseling for your Mom. A group of widows she can vent to. And support for yourself, as well!! Maybe try going WITH her back home. Try a few hours a week or every other week. Help her get used to it in a new way. Help her find confort there, go through things. Go through memories, grieve together. If you want her to stay overnight, stay until you can tuck her in bed. Then be there in the morning or call her with a happy "good morning!" Maybe eventually she will go back. If she she simply can't, you might want to consider this the next phase of life, your Mom living with you. You will have to figure out something for her eventually. You can maybe at some point look into facilities, if long term with you will not work. Adult day cares will help her get used to that environment. Thrust into adjusting is amazingly difficult, and bless you that you made it this far!!!! God bless you in this endeavor. Taking care of my Mom was the hardest and most cherished time of my life.
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