Sunday, June 15, 2008

loss of hope

i havent written about my mother for a while because i was really too irritated to write about her. she was completely unhappy here. her only thought throughout the day was "escape". i have to escape. how can i escape. who can i call to help me escape. she was worse on the days that i had to work...she would call eveyone she ever knew in her life plus my siblings telling them that she was a prisoner here. she had nothing to do, i wouldnt allow her to go outside alone (we have a flight of stairs that she would have to take alone).

i did everything i could to keep her safe here. her legs are unsteady so i always made sure someone was with her on the stairs. the very first week that she was here she fell on the FIRST step and hit her head. i was also afraid that if she went outside alone that she wouldnt remember which home was ours since the homes are all very similar and the address is not something that stays in her memory for very long.

i offered activities for her. seniors center. church. she didnt want to go to any of these places. she did want to go shopping usually. "to town". so i took her when she wanted to go. but i couldnt take her out in public places too often because she would wander around telling jokes to strangers and some of the ppl would laugh and some ppl would look at her like they were going to slug her.

but in the end, she wanted to go home. her home. not my home. and i understood this and was sorry for her for this.

but then she became mean. she began gossping about my family to others on the phone (i am an unbelievably private person-probably extremely so), she started speaking badly about my children to my oldest daughter (who is 16). the 16 year old would lament to me that she didnt like what her grandmother was saying about me and the other kids. i just got a kitty for my 5 year old and my mother fussed at her constantly about holding the cat. "leave the cat alone, leave the cat alone, leave the cat alone". that was a song i heard about 50 times a day. then one day my youngest daughter picked up her cat, which was sleeping. she wanted to let the kitty sleep beside her on the couch. but my mother slapped her arm and told her to leave the cat alone. well that was a bit much for me. i had begun to wish i hadnt gotten the cat. and i asked her to not hit my daughter especially over the cat.

then the toys, kylee would try to take her toys out to play and my mother would pick them up and tell her they were going in the trash while my daughter was playing with them. poor kylee, she had never known anything but a loving grandmother and was now completely puzzled and wanted her to leave.

she became angry with me constantly. very sarcastic, told me i was threatening her but when i asked what i had threatened, my mom couldnt think of anything. one day, she was really being hateful and i was at my limit and i asked her what i had done to her and she confessed that i had done nothing. she said she would go home to live but i told her she couldnt. she became increasingly angry towards me. and when i raised my voice she picked up a cup of hot coffee and aimed it toward my face. the very thought of her doing this was sobering enough.....she didnt actually have to splash it on me.

this week, my oldest brother called for her and i sent her willingly and happily.

im not sure what i will do now. she is not happy here, i am not happy with her being so mean, the kids find her new anger frightening.

i tried really hard to take care of her and keep her happy but she wont be happy anywhere except her home which is not happening.

so im at a loss. i feel sad and guilty that i dont want her to come back here. i talked this over with my sister who agreed that my children shouldnt have to suffer through this.

dont know..just dont know.


  1. Jana,
    Having elderly people move in is very hard for children to deal with. Suddenly what was acceptable behaviours for them prior, become unacceptable. They begin to feel like they are walking on eggshels and will end up resenting their grandparent where ideally they should have fond memories of that person after they eventually pass on. (My grandfather lived with us when I was 15 and as a result of seeing him lose his faculties and his behaviour towards my mother (his daughter) and our family, I swore I never wanted to live past the age of 70.. I've adjusted that number now that I'm much closer to it but I still hope that I never get to an age where my child is taking care of me and I'm losing it mentally and become verbally, emotionally or physically abusive towards them. If that ever happens I would hope that they put me in a home for the remainder of my time on earth.)

    Dementia can really change a person. I've recently lived through it with my father and am presently dealing with it with my mother. They start saying and doing hurtful things that were never in their nature before. Yes, we as caregivers understand that it is the dementia that is causing it but all the same it is hurtful to be on the receiving end of it and it is also heartbreaking to see them deteriorate.

    Please don't beat yourself up over not wanting her to come back Jana. You did what you could to help her and keep her safe. She just wasn't happy and was longing for her own community, her home, and her friends. Her frustration over not being able to care for herself as she had in the past combined with the dementia that is starting, unfortunately ended up being taken out on you and your family.

    I've read above to the more recent post on your mother. If she has indicated that she will be happy in the home with her brother and her male friend.. then you have to take her word for it and allow her to be there and try to be happy for her. You will be able to go visit her.. though maybe not as frequently as you'd like due to the distance. Hopefully your siblings will do the same.. and between the lot of you, you will be able to keep track of how she is being treated in the facility. InshaAllah it is a good one and she will be treated well and respectfully.

    You did your best girl and you did it out of love for your mother. Don't doubt yourself and screw what the others in your family think. You're absolutely right.. at least you tried.. that's a hell of a lot more than the majority of them did.

    Try to be at peace with it Jana.

    Big hugs.

  2. thanks karen. i dont remember if i mentioned her aiming a cup of hot coffee toward me and threatening to throw it. i froze and thought, with the dementia whats to stop her. that was a turning point for me. i dont want my kids, especially kylee, to have to spend their time in their home like this.

  3. Yes, best that she left now before someone did get physically hurt.. and believe me it could easily have come to that point. (Towards the end, my father tried stabbing both of my sisters. Once he missed but she had not even been aware that it was happening because her back was to him. I was across the table and saw it happening and was powerless to stop it. Thank God she was beyond his reach but I swear the hatred on his face and in his eyes I have no doubt that had his reflexes been quicker we would have been calling an ambulance that day. And the other time my other sister was facing him when he attempted and she was quick enough to grab his wrist and easily overpowered him for the steak knife. Obviously after this, he wasn't even given a butterknife with his meals.) It is horrible that we as adults have these memories as some of our last with our father.. imagine what could have happened if they were young children and he'd attempted this towards them or towards another family member and they were witness to that. Like I said, dementia can totally change them into doing things that are totally out of character.

    You can't afford to allow her back into your home on a full time or part time basis at this point. If it ever came to the point where she needed to be removed from the nursing home, one of your siblings without small children would have to step up to the plate Jana.. you just can't risk it. It's very sad, and my heart goes out to you, but you must as a mother protect your children and yourself (for your children's sake).