Sunday, February 17, 2008

how much can a heart break

my sister called me tonight, yes the one who is caring for my mother. she told me that she was taking our mother to the doctor tomorrow to see if he can put her in a nursing home for rehab for about 30 days. rehab? rehab for what?! there is no rehab for dementia!! i said what exactly do you think rehab will do for her? she said that my mother is not doing well. and i told her didnt i tell you to send her to me?? she said yes you did, but she will exhaust you.

exhaust me?

exhaust me?

didnt we all exhaust her when she gave birth to us? didnt we exhaust her as she got up with us during the night, cared for us when we were sick, took us to the doctor, when our father died didnt we really exhaust her? 7 children. 7 children she had..has.

we owned a grocery store. my father, god rest his soul, died without a penny of life insurance. his brothers and sisters took our grocery store from us. we were well off financially before they took our source of income.

but not after he died. no. she struggled with her businesses. there were times we had nothing in the refrigerator. there were times that i had no clothes for school and had to rummage through my sisters old clothes to find something to wear. and no they didnt fit either.

wasnt she exhausted?

with all that we put her through growing up........did she ever turn her back one single time? no

my sister said that she talked with "the others" and they said "do what you have to do" what the hell? i said, who? who did you talk to that said do what you have to do? well not everybody, just one of them. oh really?

i will come to get her. take her to the doctor tomorrow and see what he says. i told her that mother will never be cared for properly in a nursing home. ive worked in them off and on for 20 years dont you think i know what goes on?

i am not turning my back on her. she is so ...........................pitiful.

she is so frail.


cant remember how to cook eggs.

she just cant.

not anymore.

i love her.

i spoke to her after i talked to my sister.

she was laughing that laugh. my mothers laugh.

help me God. i dont know either.


  1. You just made me cry! May Allah reward you for your sentiments and may He help you take care of your mother and make He protect her. You don't know how vhemently I agree with you.... our parents do SO much for us and when they need us, we become aloof and uncaring. I hope others hear what you have said here...

  2. thank you marigold. i dont mean to make anyone else cry or sad. i wish i had answers and was superwoman i guess.

    i wish my mother was still my mother.

  3. Another novel Jana....

    I can empathize with you Jana.. as you know I am going through this situation (dementia) with my own mother for the last 3 years (and also with my father for 5 months prior to his passing). In my case I have to live with my mother in order to care for her and can only escape occassionally to a doctor's appointment or to get groceries. Once my mother can no longer take care of her own personal hygiene.. that is when I know that I have to bow out and someone else in my family will have to take over her care (fortunately my one sister is an EMT and a sister-in-law is an ex-nurse so they have indicated they will take over at that time.. or sooner if I mentally can't handle it anymore).

    I can also empathize with your sister. I don't know how long your sister has been caring for your mom or for how long.. or her other commitments (like working fulltime, raising children, etc).. or what else might be going on in her own life that might be contributing to her feelings of not being able to care for your mother anymore. But it sounds to me like she is getting tired.

    It is more mentally exhausting than physically exhausting caring for a parent on a daily basis.. moreso than it is to care for a child, because of the independance they once knew and can remember, their mobility factor, their moments of total lucidity interspersed with the dementia, and of course the role reversal aspect.. the child as the caregiver and the parent as the recipient of that care. Even if your sister is not living fulltime with your mother.. it is difficult. I remember prior to my moving south to help with my parents, how my sister used to tell me that they (my parents) sucked the life out of her.. and she was only stopping by their house for an hour or two each day.. mind you she was the recipient of numerous phone calls each day as well.

    Anyway my friend, try not to be angry with your sister over this.. everyone has their limits and even though you have taken your mom on occasion to give her a break.. it sounds to me like others in your family are not stepping up to the plate and would prefer to keep it that way. It is unfortunate.. but that's the way it is. And out of a sense of duty and love.. you are (like I was) willing to step in and take over her care. May Allah bless you for that.

    In my opinion you need to have a family meeting. If you are going to take on the care of your mother.. are you prepared to quit your job to do so.. because it will come to that and possibly sooner than later. What will you do for income assistance if that is necessary? Does your mother get a pension? Can you or another family member that you trust become her power of attorney so that you have access to her monies to allow you the ability to quit your job and provide fulltime care for her. Will your siblings fight you on any of that? Who will give you a 'day off' or a week or two off when you need a break (you will need back up so not just one person saying they will do that)? You need to make those arrangements with family and get everyone in agreement so that if one steps down when needed, another will step in.

    There are things to think about.. and obviously you can't ignore what is happening right now.

    I'm not sure about down there in the USA.. but up here in Canada it would take at least 6 months to be able to get a parent into a nursing home and even then that would be the first available spot and not necessarily one that would/could address her needs appropriately. Not that I'm saying you need to go that route.. I am meaning that if your sister is wanting to do this.. then you may have that length of time before you need to take over.. but if spots are commonly available.. you may have to react quickly. Can you do it?

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Jana. I'm here if you ever need to talk or to vent to.

  4. Oh, Jana, I am holding back tears here since other people are around me and I don't like to cry in front of people. I commend you for wanting to take care of your mother. For finding the courage and strength that SHE obviously gave to you--all in order to take care of the woman who spent her life taking care of you. You remind me so much of my own mother. My mother is in your position. Except my mother and her siblings cannot afford the proper care that my grandmother requires, therefore she is a nursing home even though they truly didn't want to put her there. But my mother and her sisters visit her daily to care for her. I know the day will come when I will have to care for my mother. I am very close to my mother. I hope when that day comes I will be strong and courageous like you and my mom and her sisters. I know for a fact that when that day does come, I will think of you. I will remember. You are doing a mighty thing and will certainly be rewarded.