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I think I might be tempted to reach for my copy of L'Etranger and read it with an ostentatiously thoughtful expression on my face and the occasional sideways glance at her. 🤔

However. What to do about your belle-mère, mmm.

Not to beat about the bush: if you were to look ahead how much longer do you expect this to go on?

If it's any length of time, and you're not already doing it, you need to bump respite breaks for you and DH higher up the list of priorities. It really doesn't matter if MIL spends five days not talking to anyone in her native language, it won't do her any lasting harm; but it does matter if you and DH get no down time.

And seriously, now - were you ever expecting her to be grateful? Really?
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sorryselma Feb 15, 2019
Thanks Countrymouse,

Your posts always are the funniest and make me laugh. I'll definitely pull out my copy of Albert Camus' L'Etranger. Yes ironically belle-mère in French translates to mother-in-law but literally means 'beautiful mother."

MIL was just put on hospice after her neck fracture but you would never know because she is still Micromanager-in-Chief. She is one tough lady.

And we get 5 days of free respite in a fabulous state-of-the art care facility in town, but hubby thinks it's too long for her to handle there. I am pushing for it because we are both so drained.

And you're right, the gratitude part is unrealistic. Maybe my good deeds are for something though.
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You have so much on your plate. I can’t speak to the issue of ALZ because I am not educated enough on the topic but I can speak about what you and many other caregivers, including myself and husband feel. It is emotionally and physically exhausting at times. I know it doesn’t help you hearing me say that. I hope it is somewhat comforting to you to know that others in your shoes understand and truly care.

I love my mother (93 with Parkinson’s) but it’s hard all around. Hard for her, hard for us. I can tell by your writing that you and your husband care or she wouldn’t be in your home. It’s also clear to me that you get frustrated like the rest of us. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s completely normal to be frustrated and even annoyed under these circumstances.

Go ahead and vent! I’ve used this forum for that and it is terrific to hear other perspectives on a topic.

I don’t have magic answers. I finally figured out I don’t have the power to change other’s actions. I used to think it was my fault because I didn’t express myself clearly enough for others to understand, NOT TRUE! Sure, I say things that come out wrong sometimes, like anyone else but for the most part if people don’t want to understand they will make excuses and place the blame on others. With ALZ, I don’t know how it fits in.

Perhaps you could walk away for a bit. I’ve had to do that. Go make myself a cup of coffee or tea, call a friend on the phone, read, etc. Because if I stew about something I can quickly become my worst enemy. What I hate the most is when I take my frustration out on my hubby. He doesn’t deserve that but sometimes it happens. I’m not perfect and I try so hard not to do that. I always apologize afterwards and he does understand that I had a really rough day and knows I didn’t mean to snap at him.

My husband is better than I am with handling stressful conditions. He never brings his work home with him. It stays at the office. He’s never done that. He rarely makes comments about stressful times at work. Of course, I listen to him when he does and he appreciates it but he’s never made it a habit. I so admire that! I have to work hard at not over burdening him. Because some days I can’t help bu b****!

I hope things get better and others with ALZ experience can help you cope. Take care.
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 15, 2019
Sorry that I said ALZ, I see it’s dementia.
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Hi sorryselma

I remember your posts. You always sound like such a nice person. I can’t even imagine you saying something snarky.

I see your problem being your husband. He is the one who places your MIL above you. I don’t think you would mind so much if he made it clear to her by his actions that you were the lady of the house. At the same time, he is dealing with a very old culture that is ingrained. So I’m sure it’s not easy for either of you.
Ask him to ride in the back and tell him you’ll drive.
See if that makes you feel better.
Can’t see that happening? Then luxuriate in all the space in the back. Chat on your phone. Take along some magazines. Take a nap. Make it work for you.

You are probably asking too much of her to expect her to be empathetic to your situation, even in the best of times.

You hear people say, “don’t give your power away. Don’t allow her to diminish you.”
That’s good to remember but really, deciding to rise above it altogether so that it doesn’t touch you, might serve you even better.

In India they have a custom. Place the hands together in front of the heart chakra and bow to the other person and say “Namaste”.
“The spirit in me greets the spirit in you” is what I was taught that means. The divine spark in me recognizes the divine spark in you. I may not care for your nasty cigs or your haughty manner but I have a touch of the divine within me and that divine spirit in me acknowledges the same in you. The rest of you can go fly a kite. (that last part I made up.lol).
So Namaste sorryselma. Happy Valentines. ❤️
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sorryselma Feb 15, 2019
Namaste 97yroldmom,
I love, love, love the idea of bringing in the divine into our caregiving worlds. It feels like it takes away so much of the edge and emotion of caregiving to allow myself to rise above some of the territorial issues I feel. You are hilarious - maybe that should be the response in my head, "go fly a kite" when she has her hissy fit and I can chuckle and remember this post! You are wonderful - thank you so much for brightening my Valentine's Day. Have a happy one too.
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Aww, this is is so painful, Sorryselma. Obviously your MIL made what was actually the BEST decision of her life coming to live with and be cared for by her very loving son and daughter in law. How tragic that her illness prevents her from seeing this.

I'm not sure what to say in this situation and I certainly wish there was a better solution to her seemingly endless care, which sounds beyond exhausting.

Blessings to you and your husband for being so very kind to someone who can't respond at all appropriately to what you are giving her.
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sorryselma Feb 15, 2019
SnoopyLove,

Thanks for your lovely comments; your blessings and kind words mean so much. I'm not always convinced it was the best decision to move MIL into our home because we feel so in over our heads, but I can say that we are doing the best that we can possibly do given the challenges. And your post gave us the important validation every caregiver needs - so grateful to you for that!
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Big Hug Selma,
Many of us here are in your shoes. We often don't realize how uncomfortable those shoes are going to be until we put them on. I can understand your frustrations. When you move a Loved on in your home, in my case it was two(Dad and Mom), we never imagined how it would change our life. Nor the struggles we would face, individually and in our relationships. My DH and I have no privacy.
we have had no privacy for going on 5 years has really been a struggle. Even more difficult is sharing the house with another female, as a female. That is rough. I have had to step aside in my own home, and now I feel as if I am a kid living with my Mom at times. It is hard, but my situation varies from yours in that these are my parents, that is your MIL. That is harder. Because I love my Mom dearly and will do anything I can with God's help, to allow her a carefree and love filled life. I di d for my Dad til he passed and I will for my Mom. Even though I love her dearly and I have the utmost faith in our Lord Jesus, this is still hard.
I pray a lot, that is what helps me. I use to cry a lot, but that has lessened. However, I do have days.
My patience gets better with practice and prayer. But still does not help with these human feelings of feeling displaced. I understand why I feel this way, and I understand the situation, and therefore I can maintain and grow. So me personally, being somewhat in your shoes, I just do what I gotta do, and do it with love and just do my best. Realizing that this life is only temporary, that I will not always have my Mom. Losing my Dad really made me aware of what I want to accomplish in loving Mom, because I do not want regrets. I just get up each day and pray that I will do better than the day before. It is like physical fitness, when you keep at it, you get stronger, more muscles, lose the fat that weighs us down. Well caregiving is keeping at it, getting emotionally stronger, and losing those ill feelings, that weigh us down.
Best wishes to you, I hope that you find the answers you seek and that things get better for you or at least more manageable.
You are wise not to respond to the ill remarks.
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sorryselma Feb 15, 2019
This is so beautifully written, smeshque.

Your words come from a deep sense of doing the right thing and your obvious amazing inner strength. I love the idea that we can build emotional strength from caregiving akin to being at the gym. I have seen so much resilience in posters like yourself on this forum, it really is heartening. But I do want to add that we have to nurture ourselves, it feels for the last several years my needs have taken a far back seat to MIL's needs. And that doesn't always feel healthy or right.

The pureness of your kindness and generosity shine through in your comments. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and insights.
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