I actually live in the UK but I joined this group and am really grateful for all the help and support it offers, thanks!

My 78 year old Mother is now in a Nursing Home following two major strokes. I haven’t much in the way of family to turn to, and so I visit her every day.

I think I’ve been a good and dutiful daughter over the past 18 months and have done a lot for my Mother to make her happy and comfortable, fighting her corner. She is popular in the Home and well liked by staff / others as she smiles a lot, even though she can’t speak well due to the strokes.

Whenever I visit I’m always incredibly upbeat and keep conversation going and hug her and tell her I love her. She has been though so much.

I usually stay an hour or so with her in her room or the lounge; sometimes slightly longer.

She is lovely and engages well (and I can’t imagine life without her), but often when I come to say goodbye and leave to go home she refuses to look at or speak to me, turning her head away and clutching her cheek, as though in pain. If I go to kiss her, she says “No”. She sometimes induces a coughing fit too.
I panic and fuss around. I don’t want to leave on a sour note in case something befalls her.

There are other regular incidents / health worries and moods. Thursday’s was that she didn’t like the trousers she was wearing and today’s meltdown was because I showed her a photo of a man I like - and she clearly didn’t approve of him and angrily started shouting “Don’t” and refusing to speak to me. But at other times I don’t know why she is like this. It just comes on from nothing. I try to make exceptions because of course she has a brain injury, but things do get me down.

I frequently go away from visiting her in a state of real anxiety. I even keep a “list of apprehension”! I am wracked with guilt tonight. I just wish I hadn’t shown her the photo. And I just wish I could have some normal drama-free visits, but this seems too big an ask!

Thank you x

Forgive yourself for not knowing how to deal with your mom. People get no training for this. You are sharing perfectly acceptable information with your mom. Now your mom is becoming less able to deal with normality. You are doing your best. You cannot do more.
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Reply to inkandpaper

We react with guilt when there is no appropriate reason for the guilt, and of course there is none here, because our parents are CREATING the guilt in us. As children we learn to try to earn our parent's love; we need our parents quite desperately and the worst thing that can happen to a child is the withdrawal of their love, which is our only safety in life.
Parents who are particularly bad parents often have the children who express the most inappropriate feelings of "guilt". Guilt spells inadequacy. A feeling that we are not good enough. That we can never be good enough. That our being not good enough will earn us the judgement and withdrawal of our parents love and protection.
You are definitely expressing highly inappropriate levels of guilt and feelings of inadequacy. They do not check out with "reality" and I think you recognize that and cannot figure out why you are doing this to yourself. You think that there is some way you should be able the change the fact that the end of life is quite honestly very difficult for our elders. You think there should be a way that you could be powerful enough to make your Mom happy, even when she is in the throes of a long downward slide which ends in death. It is not a happy thing, and you cannot make it happy. Not only is it not your responsibility, unless you are a Saint, but it is impossible.
I would encourage you to see counseling, perhaps with a Licensed Social Worker who deals with life changes and life passages. You need to learn what you have power to change and what you do not. There needs to be some acceptance that not everything in life can be made happy. There needs to be some acceptance that you are not a Saint, but are, like every other person out there, a flawed and imperfect human being without a magic want, who suffers when you cannot cure the world of all that ails it.
You are bringing enormous pain upon yourself. How can this pain help anything? How can it hurt? Because it can hurt quite easily--it can hurt YOU. What have you done to deserve such punishment? What has your parent done to withdraw love and convince you that you deserve such punishment?
I hope you will seek help. Remember that in the end, only good and decent people feel guilt. People who are psychopaths, people who are narcissists--they do NOT feel guilt.
Wishing you help and health and hoping you will update us. Remember, your Mom, too, is a flawed human being.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

I agree with cutting your visits down . Your mother is not in her right mind. She must be frustrated not to be able to talk and frighten. She may not be able to control moods or emotions so cut yourself and her some slack. If she is negative during your visit and has a negative attitude just tell her you can see that she is tired and that you love her and you will see her next time. Just leave. Try telling her the things you love about her, stories that made a difference in your life because of her, things you share, You can't control how she is going to behave, she may not be able to control how she feels, You can control how you feel and leave on a positive note on your end. I know it is hard not to take things personally, but that is something you will have to do.
You sound like you love your mom. The best way to honor her is to have a happy life.
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Reply to llmusick

Guilt tells you that you're doing something wrong. What exactly are you doing wrong here? Nothing. So ditch the guilt and know that your mom cannot utilize 100% of her brainpower now, so that's at the root of the meltdowns. My motto with my own mother is Less Is More...meaning the less info I share with her, the less judgment she has to pass, the less chronic worry, the less drama and the least chatter in general. Stick to neutral subjects like the weather and things that won't likely fire her up. Since my mother has dementia and is prone to agitation, there is about one safe topic of conversation these days, and even that brings about arguments. Interestingly enough, no matter how long the visits are with my mother, she complains they're way too short. My son said maybe he should move in with her at the Memory Care but she'd STILL complain! Cut your visits down to a few times a week, that's my suggestion. For whatever reason, the visits often seem to CREATE more trouble than they cure.
Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1

My dad always started something when I was leaving, usually needed to tell me something important. It is their way of keeping us around longer.

I actually stopped visiting every day because he just wanted more time every day, letting him get along with out me helped him find his groove. He wasn't happy about it but he did get over it.

I am sure that she is worried that a love interest will keep you from being readily available for her. She may think that she will be coming home soon and need you 24/7.

Congratulations on finding a guy you like, I hope it works out for you. I wouldn't let her reaction spoil it for you.

I would stop going everyday, maybe start slow by cutting back on the amount of time you stay to just skipping a day.

She is cared for, she is safe, she is fed, she has interactions with others, she has more going on then you do. Take care of you for a change.

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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

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