My mother has Alzheimer's, diabetes, is legally blind, deaf and is 87. She has been a mean-spirited, selfish, irrational, bad-tempered whiner all her life. My dad was the polar opposite, a sweeter, nicer guy you would never meet. How he put up with her for over 50 years is beyond me. Basically, he made it his job to keep her happy, which was only partially successful. By my 20's, I had been in counseling, was dealing with depression and short temper, and finally realized I could not fix her or save her, so I moved away, even though that meant not seeing my dad as much as I would like. I developed my own life, continued with counseling whenever I found a new snag in my personality that hindered happiness and/or relationships. I only visited my folks a couple times a year, and eventually got to the point where I just didn't really even think about her anymore.
Then came old age, illness, and my oldest sister who'd been their primary helper, moved out of town for her husband's new job. It quickly became apparent they couldn't live alone anymore, especially with my dad's dementia taking hold, so with my second sister, we persuaded them to move up by us to assisted living where we could help more, without being inundated, or giving up our own lives.
Dad passed away several years ago, and Mother has steadily gotten worse. Not a day has gone by in the past 10 years whenever we've been together that she hasn't complained about not being able to see. I realize she's got a tough life, and have felt compassion for her and done my best to be kind. I know her constant repetition of all her ills and disappointments and everything that has been "taken away from her" (i.e. sight, husband, house, etc.) is now part of the Alzheimer's looping. But, I can hardly stand it anymore. I'm not a saint. My sister and brother-in-law and I take turns every day going over there to check on her and take care of her cat. I see her twice a week. Her caregivers take very good care of her. My life hasn't been a picnic either. I've had cancer 3 times and my beloved boyfriend dropped dead of a heart attack 9 years ago when he was only 46. I am now working 2 jobs to attempt to save up some money for my retirement, and to be able to help out my nieces and nephews some. But I like being happy and tend to let go of the bad stuff and concentrate on the good. I'm like my dad, not Little Miss Sunshine, but usually able to "let go and let God". However, I am getting more and more depressed and finding it harder and harder to keep my happy going. I have indigestion and anxiety attacks when I have to go over there. She is now making up stories about my father taking his own life and complaining that he didn't take her with him. My sister and I were with him when he died. He didn't commit suicide. He slipped away peacefully in his sleep. She also makes up other stories about people in my family that are hurtful and untrue. I know she's unhappy, crazy, demented and not feeling well. I feel compassion. I do my best for her. But these things she says about my close, loving family, really upset me. Also, she refuses all attempts to do anything else but whine, won't go on any outings or get to know any people at her residence, and constantly belches loudly, especially when you are in front of her, and she loses or hides her hearing aids constantly, cries, carries on, God! It's so hard to take! She is on antidepressants, anxiety relievers, and her neurologist has her on a patch that's supposed to help her maintain what mental function she still has. And the crap goes on. How am I supposed to go on being a knd, compassionate daughter when I just don't want to be there anymore? She's toxic and I want to get away fom her, but I can't leave my sister and her husband to do the daily's. They are sick of it too! Am I selfish to want to put her in a nursing home, even though that means she has to give up her cat? Then I wouldn't have to go over there twice a week and could maybe get my equilibrium back. What do you think?