Mother, 88, struggling to accept husbands loss, BUT as he was ill with heart failure, she was often annoyed & intolerant & it was obvious. - AgingCare.com

Mother, 88, struggling to accept husbands loss, BUT as he was ill with heart failure, she was often annoyed & intolerant & it was obvious.

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My mother, relatively healthy at 88, except for A-Fib, under control, seems to be struggling with husband (our dads passing, of April2018.) While he was struggling with his declining congestive heart failure, she was openly annoyed and at times outwardly intolerant of his failing health. He was a large man, not overweight, at 230 lbs, and she at 120, was not able to assist him. Mother also was resistant to getting in any outside help, but eventually had to on a partial nature, but unhappy at doing so. Her frequent comment was,” I have been dealing with this my whole life, your father has always been a hypochondriac, etc.(perhaps that is easy to say? If one is basically healthy, her entire life, as my mom has been) The idea of any outside help entering her home was a no no. I also should mention that that would apply to perhaps her own 4 grown adult daughters as well, (all in our 50s & 60s) as being in her home. When she was not there (but Dad was) we all never had a key, even for an emerg.) Our father sought harmony, closeness and love, esp. in his last 2 yrs. All prior disagreements dad had seemed to be forgiven, as at the end he began to realize what valued most.


Our mother is not touchy freely per say, and that my dad so missed and often was in need of. One sibling commented, ”Dad has spoiled mom, during their 65 yrs of marriage.” They started out simple, & somewhat poor, but his entrepreneurial skills after decades of work changed that. All that was obtained they kept, as in general felt no one was quite deserving, nor is. (Sharing what they have earned, etc.is their choice, 100%, in the last 3 yrs Dad was rethinking their, his choices, but mom, was steadfast, as in our children do not deserve ...it often felt like any behaviors we had, or have were never worthy. My attitude is, and gift, any amt. any thing passed on is an indiv. choice,but it must be a “free choice”, and upon giving no expectations should be part of any gift, or $$, as then in truth, it was not a gift, but something that was passed on and had instructions, (I call conditions. Children are not possessions, nor should any parent have control or want to...a lifelong issue in our family, in the worthy dept. as quote “not one of us is worthy nor deserves what a parent has accumulated, as that is theirs to ....). What was/is theirs was not to be shared,by choice. (and when I heard the word “we should give it all to charity” often, I 100% supported that, but would hear in reply, ”if you give to a charity, that means strangers will get it and...”


Now my mother has all this stuff, and is financially secure and will be for life, thank goodness, as in housing her needs etc. But her sudden post loss, of “oh how I miss him,etc.” I am emphatic towards, but remain conflicted at within.....for, when he was sick, the last time, and in the local hospital, 4 days passed without a visit, or call from his wife, our mom. When he called 2 days before his passing and asked, mom, why she had not visited or called her terse reply was “well I am talking to you now.” As she repeated to me those exact words. His needs, were interrupting her life, a bit too much, and she her whole life had done enough. Ironically during my last visit, 5 days before he passed, he never looked better, wanted to come home very much, but also commented to me, emphatically (& this was a first,) ”I do not want to be around your mother” and “nowhere near her” quote. I understood his words, as it had gotten to the point, where she was getting annoyed at his needed care (which meant, preparing 3 small meals) but also limited her activity, leaving the home. Having to partially depend on others, professional & physically strong home health aide workers, was done with obvious resentment, and annoyance.


My father rarely if ever said no to my mother. If there was anything she ever needed or wanted, he would do it, suggest it, or make it happen. Now he is gone, and her aloneness puzzles me, (us) All the man ever sought, was love, a hug, compliments, physical affection (they had not slept in the same room for 30 years, and once were separated for 10) but a hug from mom, meant the world to him, and that he had come used to, but never gave up trying to somehow win her over get a bit of emotional time a hug or lets just talk, laugh, watch a funny movie, Etc. It saddens me, (us, 4 of 7 alive adult children) as to ponder what was it all for?? What is life about? And for any of us it is not about stuff, things, money, etc. We were 5 years ago all surprised via my fathers choice, our first new cars ever....and we were thrilled...but all I, and we have heard since from my mother is how she regrets he did that, and spent his money on children who are unappreciative, etc. and that saddens me. Our father had come to a consensus within, I believe asking, ”what’s this life about, and all these things and money if not shared”. My mother claims she has always been fiercely independent & strong, (quote) But is that not so hard, when you have never had a financial worry, & 100% unconditional luv. Uncond love, for me remains foreign? Help

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Sounds like your “loss overload” has made your Mom’s lifelong narcissism (even more) intolerable. I have no relevant advice, but my heart goes out to you.

In the not-too-distant past, my life was “informed by” (OK, hijacked by) my parents’ declining and dying. This 4-year H*LL also included: Emptying one insanely overstuffed house/garage/workshop. Overseeing rentals + tenants. Selling 3 properties.

During that slog, I learned so many things about my family that.....I wish I didn’t know. Wow. I was not prepared for that.

Occasionally, there was a heartwarming story or a good laugh. But mostly, I learned things that made me cringe, made me sigh, made me furious or made me sad.

I’m on the other side of all that now. And try as I may, I’m incapable of spouting off a succinct “elevator pitch” about love, legacy and memories.

My whole life, I’ve heard sound bites like that from people who have buried both parents. A wistful sigh, then a smile and a quick homily about....oh....Mom’s rabble-rousing politics or Dad’s soft-spot for stray dogs.

I assumed that the “making others comfortable” story-telling came naturally. Well — it doesn’t for me. And if it hasn’t happened by now, I’m not sure it ever will.

My upbringing and adult relationship with my parents wasn’t total “crazytown.” But personality disorders and dysfunction, oh yeah. All of which got worse with age.

For some of us, the rear-view mirror showcases some warped scenery. You can’t un-know what you know.

And sometimes it’s hard to find the sweet spot between denial and devastation.

Gavianna, be good to yourself. Find ways to make you feel like YOU — and not an extension of what someone else projects or expects.

This journey stinks. And you are the only person who is invested in Your. Own. Sanity. Even when you are not feeling up to the job. And therein lies the challenge!

((((big hugs)))) 🧡
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Gaviana, when I read your post about all the loss and sadness in your life, I truly wished you were sitting here next to me so I could give you a hug, hold your hand and tell you how much I wish you some peace. I have tears in my eyes right now. I very much hope and pray that soon, fate turns around for you and gives you what you are owed, happiness and content. I wish the counselor is the best and gives you the tools you need to survive until this happens. Please come back as often as you can and let us know how you are. I am holding you close in my heart.
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I took it as your venting. I think at 88 your are expecting too much from Mom. At this point, she is not going to change. Your Dad, being married to her for years, should not have expected anything more than she has ever given him. Your are not going to change her or your siblings. All you can do is work or yourself. It will be hard, but set boundries. What you are willing and not willing to do. If the will thing comes up, tell her until she is ready to change it you don't want to hear about again, nicely. Then, don't worry about it again. Usually between a husband and wife its what mine is yours and visa versa. Then there's a oart if both die, who gets the inheritance. I read ur profile post and this one. Seems like Mom has made her bed. There is a reason why her children and grands don't want to take time for her. At 88 I doubt if you are going to change anyones attitude.
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Gavianna, I can feel from your posts, that you are in a lot of pain in regards to your Mother, and how she has failed to be the sort of Mother and wife to your late Father, that you needed her to be. It's good that you are able to vent here, in hopes that others will understand your pain and give you ideas on how to go forth with suggestions on how to deal with your Mom in her old age.

Have you considered counseling to deal with your emotions? Have you considered that your Mom might just be a Narcissist, who has ruled her relationships with her children with (FOG) Fear Obligation and Guilt, and when she doesn't get her way, she just "writes" people off, as those who are out to get something from her? Those types of people are Very hard to deal with, but it does sound like she fits that bill. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that you can do, as these people Never change, but it is YOU who needs to change in the way in which you deal with her, as You will never be able to live up to her expectations.

I would suggest that you read up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and see where you might be able to put your feelings in check, and go forth in your relationship with her, with boundries in place, and in a way where she can no longer hurt you, but I know, easier said than done, this is where some counselling would help you, so as not to be so hurt by her past and current treatment of you and your siblings.

I'm so sorry about your Dad, as it sounds like he was aware of her personality disorder, and tried his best placate her, and make some changes towards the end of his life, that his children knew he loved them. Unfortunately, he would never be able to change her, no one could, and that's where you will need to acknowledge this, and move forward in life in a way that she doesn't continually hurt you.
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Gavianna, I’m sorry but with only commas for punctuation, I found your posts confusing and I’m not certain what your actual question is. Could you please repost with a more direct question? Thank you very much.
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Gavianna Aug 11, 2018
Thank you for your thoughts.I have used this site to vent,yes,safely without instant negative family criticism,and dismissal,a pattern I never broke.I need to begin to commit to counseling.and took that 1st step.I do believe for me it is a journey. The counselor I located,and one of only a few,who take my insurance,in Southern NJ,is connected to a large hospital,and health care system,where all and any medical providers,in their system can read it.I also lost a sister in Jan.and a brother at 46,who I felt did not have to die,but did.So much I have locked inside,and I do not easily trust.This site,was and is miraculous in many ways.I can wonderfully take care and others,but myself,?? No.I gave too much of myself to my parents,under the umbrella of love....but love I still see 100% as conditional,and that I hope to someday view different.Thank you.
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I was uncertain if I posted my lengthy story- question above under caregiver,was the correct forum.I now realize,&always have, that what I have,earn,possess,etc,is in truth just stuff,in the end,and yes money also.As I shared some time ago,based on my volunteer duties in a 3 rd world country,what we really need,vs want,can and does make all the diff in the world.I watched my father in his sudden,& quick fading months need,emotional support,and encouragement,so much esp.from my mother.His physical needs,yes were urgent,but his emotional needs were #1 to him.Unfortunatly unless that need was given to him by his wife, the care of others,emotionally and physically came second.Now my job,duties etc.are challenging to me within,for what I want to say I cannot,so I will here.....mom all dad wanted was your presence,your time,a hug,your heart,even at the end could you not just “ fake it”?
....also when does money and stuff and all the rest,ever be viewed as I can do what I want,but no one not one human being on this earth,in my family deserves it! Grandchildren,?.. a puzzle yes,and disappointing you have not seen anyone of them,but is it possible that you may consider to call one,or to tell one of them,any one of them,that you were thinking of them,and would like for them to stop by?Also I know you are 100% against grief groups counseling etc.as you said you cannot relate and that you could “ teach the counselors” but why not consider it for others,who share..and, is it ever possible that just one time,just once,to call any of your 4 daughters,even me and ask ,” how are you doing”,what is going on in your life,?etc.Everyone would be and is in some ways there,but if they do not proceed on your terms, in your time ,then they are erased..and finally when you continue to express displeasure or dis satisfaction with any of your family members,it would be more honest to tell that indiv.yourself,rather than to another family member( for no one can fix or acknowledge,what you never express to them directly),and finally,guess what ?? communication can actually be a good thing,if it is approached by saying,aloud “ I feel this or that or......” instead of “ you did this and he did that and so and so...and do begin with the words “you, did this”& “You made me feel this” & “you& you” etc. right off the bat! Others do feel also,& if asked? everyone has a chance to feel heard,& maybe learn...”listening is an art,”;judging is not”.If you feel anyway express it,& perhaps begin with,” I feel this”...Dad tried but failed,& May we all learn to ask for what we need,what we desire,etc,and not demand,or mis judge,and lastly,perhaps practice to “Stop Expecting,and Start Accepting”.....as often people do want to speak,help,share,be heard,etc,and the offer what they have,or are open to,or capable,etc,..we are all not bad,nor is the “world full of only greed,thieves,& dishonest people who do not care,& are out to “ steal,or rip others off”,kindness,goodness,generosity,& selflessness does exist,& often in unexpected places,as does LOVE,the real kind,the kind that asked nor warrants anything in return,....and lastly if all your possessions property,real estate ,stuff,money,solo decisions etc etc.are such a burden,an unbearable chore,then free yourself,& give it away to someone,anyone,instead of reminding those in your family that no one is worthy.Often Dad,time and time,over 40 yrs would always call us to tell us what we needed to do,or say,or how to act that would “ make mother happy,as she is your mother and she deserves that as a mother,and besides what did your mother ever do to hurt you,etc etc,” He always made those calls,for you,even though you did not ask,but always because you let him know of your issue,your thoughts,your feelings,your displeasure at this one or that one,....he was your #1,always ,”go to person”,24 -7your warrior,your voice,by your choice,,& often,an undesired & sressful chore for him,now you are solo,and no one is enough or acceptable.
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