Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Is Where We Are

My mom had an accident on Thursday.  She's not hurt.  Her car is totaled.

This is her third accident in about 18 months.

The worst part is she didn't really know why she was where she was when the accident happened.  She was supposed to be driving home from D13's sixth grade graduation.  Somehow she ended up on the other side of town.

She gets lost several times a month and calls me for directions.

It's time to stop driving and she is fighting me.  She can't admit that she was lost and confused and was in the wrong place. She can't say why she was there.

Friday morning J48 and I went to the body shop and cleaned out her car.  Then we stopped by her house and told her about the car.

Even though I had told her several times Thursday that I didn't think she should drive anymore I still had to have the conversation with her again.  There was a bit of wailing and drama.  She cried "No!", covered her face with her hands,  flailed her body onto the couch and cried.

I just waited.  Over the past couple of years I've witnessed several of these outbursts.  To be completely honest with you, they make me mad.  It's so childish.

But that's what she's becoming.  A child.

She can't see it and that is possibly the most frustrating part.

She can't pay her bills.  She can't really find her way around town.  She doesn't remember conversations.  When I make a list it's very clear in which direction we are headed.

This is the accident you hear about.  The accident that pushes you into the next step of caregiving.  Taking the car.  Getting a referral to a neurologist.  Setting up appointments to visit assisted living.

She's not going down easy.  She is whiny and petulant and angry with me.

Every step needed in this process is not one she wants to take.  Everything is going to be my fault.

I feel very alone.  Her cousin in Michigan is telling her to "not give up without a fight."

Her cousin in Michigan has no idea.

Today I'll go to her house and we'll have the same conversations.  Will I let her get a car? She's not as bad as I say she is.  She doesn't want to move.  She can't live in that house without a car.  She has been independent for 40 years.  She can't depend on other people.

I will try very hard not to be impatient or mean.  I will try very hard not to reason with with her.  Because I can't.  There is no reasoning with her.

All my life she wanted me to be the adult and she the child.  She wanted me to make decisions for her and then would blame me for the decision -- even if I hadn't made it.

Now I am making the decisions and she is blaming me.  For her aging.  For the deterioration of her mind.  For trying to keep her safe.  For trying to keep others safe.

Am I doing the right thing?  Taking her car away?  I don't know.  Yes.  It doesn't seem possible, but yes.

This is where we are now. Whether she can see it or not.

This is where we are.


smalltownme said...

Such a difficult situation for all of you. I wish you the best.

(I went through this but at a much more gradual pace, and there seemed to be some gratitude when I took on the decision making. Hey, does that cousin want to take care of her? Didn't think so. Neither did my uncle, although he was full of advice and complaints.)

Common Household Mom said...

I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

I am very familiar with this behavior of blaming the very person who is trying his/her utmost to help. This was my husband (trying to help) and his mother (blaming him for all her troubles).

Trust yourself. Yes, you are making the right decisions.

See if you can find someone sympathetic to talk to about it. Post here about it.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Hugs to you. I cannot imagine how difficult this is for you. And shame on the know-it-alls encouraging her from afar. Ugh. What you need is MORE validation to help her get off the road and into a safer living situation.
You are a good grown-up.

jo(e) said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. That sounds really difficult.

Modesto Culbertson said...

I'm so sorry to hear about what your family is going through. I'm sure it's painful to see your mom in that condition, and staying patient is becoming such a feat. However, you're the one who is capable of making the decisions as to how she can be guided better. I trust that you are loving and clever enough to make the right ones. Thanks for sharing that! I wish you all the best!

Modesto Culbertson @ DZ Law Group