CallaLilly Asked September 2010

What do I do about a life that was never given the chance to happen now that my mom is in a nursing home?

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I made the decision to put mom in a nursing home and of course I have to deal with the guilt of not being able to and not wanting to care for her directly. But she was going to kill herself or I was going to die of stress and high blood preassure. I'm not sorry she is in the home. I think she is being taken care of better than at home. She has help and attention around the clock. I keep in touch with the home and visit her as often as I can. she has been there only 3 weeks, but 1 was spent in the hospital. And my sister and I always go and help her eat and bathe. But I was there alone with her today. I am so sad. Mom used to be such a strong, hard-headed woman, and now I see her as a frail old woman. It seems as if she is just waiting to die. Her pain is constant. Her mind is failing. I feel sadder for her life then her approaching death. I feel she never lived the life she wanted. She lived the life that was expected. She never studied, she never traveled, she never gave herself the chance and the permission to be truly happy. I think she was always looking for someone to saver her, or perhaps love her unconditionally. I wish I could turn back time for her and giver her the courage to be the woman she wanted to be. Though I was very angry before I put her in the home, in a way I am sorry she is not here with me. She was so stubborn; she never did was she was supposed to for her health. She didn't take her meds, she ate awfully, and was quite a mess with her persona. But I miss my mom. I feel she is leaving us and I don't know what to do. I am angry at life. I am angry at the human condition. I am no longer angry at my mother, or father. I just wish it had all been different for them and for us, their children. I cried for my childhood for so long and worked through all that pain. And now this pain is as strong as that, as sad as that, but I can't do anything about this pain. I can't work through this because I can't make it better for her. I made my life better despite all the pain of my early years. What do I do about a life that was never given the chance to happen? We cleaned out her room today; I know she isn't coming back and it is easier now then when it really has to be done. I guess I am sad that I was never closer to my mom; we are so different. I hope that what I feel and what I try to do for her makes a difference in her life at least now. Even if she doesn't know it.

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CallaLilly Sep 2010
Thank you all for your comments. This site is so great because one knows we are not alone. Sometimes family can't help because they are dealing with the same thing in their own way. thank you for the prayers; though I am not religious, I know the power of prayer. And I've been thinking of a letter to my for a long time, but always thought it would be useless because she would never know. I even thought of leaving it in her room that perhaps someone would read it to her and perhaps she would be more responsive. But I think you are right. Even if she does't know, I think it will be good. I believe we are energy and perhaps that energy that is released when I write it and read it in some way will comfort my mother. I did so much journaling when I was healing my past (my childhood and youth), but never thought of doing it for this. Thank you.
Lilly
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clj Sep 2010
Dear CallaLilly,
I am very sorry for the pain that both you and your Mom are suffering. I learned something that helped me a great deal and hopefully it will help you. Write a letter to your Mom; but it will be a letter that you never deliver to her.. Express all of your feelings and emotions. Express how you would like to change her past and any regrets. When I did this with a support group I was able to heal a tremendous amount. I had to read the letter over and over but I was finally able to let go of a lot of pain and emotion. I hope this helps you. It is definitely worth a try. Enjoy each moment with your Mom and relive whatever fond memories you can share. I wish you well. God Bless
Charlene
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Dear Lord Jesus, please comfort CallaLilly through all these difficult, painful days, and help her know that You care about her and her mother. Give them bright spots in their days and strength for this journey in life. Guide them to turn to You in their distress. Amen.
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toadballet1 Sep 2010
I am so sorry for all the things you have written above. It is natural at this point in life to reflect heavily on the past. You are losing your Mom as you say, "little by little." It almost seems crueler this way.
We all have to remember that life is not always "tidy." Even those who seem to have it easy very often do not. As you said, your mother made some unwise choices, but they were her choices and you cannot erase them.
Just do the best you can to be present. Visit often, even if she is not receptive. (It is always a good idea for the staff at any NH to see that relatives visit regularly).
Caregivers are naturally "fix-it" kind of people. I struggle with this daily. I can't seem to get it in my head that there is no "fix" for old age. It is the one thing that all of us will have in common.
As for the grief, I hope that it will dissipate with time. Try to do things that will cheer her up like surrounding her with familiar things, reading to her, or just visiting. Sometimes just being there while they sleep is comforting.
Sending you peace,
Lilli
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