Possibly the best things about Thanksgiving are the leftovers and possibly the worst thing about Thanksgiving are the emotional leftovers. We had one of the best holidays on record. Wonderful gathering with family members, but one thing was missing…..my Mom. For the last week, she has been in the hospital with some unknown cause that made her quite ill. Today, she will hopefully be released. Here is where the emotional leftovers come into play.
My mother dislikes help. It was literally a cage match of myself and her fighting about just getting her help during the day. Her excuses were always, “I don’t like strangers in my house”. My reply was always, “it is this way or a nursing home”. In order for my 84 year old mother to maintain some sort of independence, we brought in a lovely lady from an agency who assists my mother in daily activities. Now, as we bring her home, I am confronted with the unpleasant task of possibly getting someone in for the nighttime rituals.
There is a lot of guilt that goes into being the caregiver of a parent. While I want to be in the position to care for her, it wouldn’t be good for her or for me. In fact, she is quite difficult and putting a pillow over her face might be too tempting (please know that I am partially kidding). Those who know me and my mother are very aware of her demeanor when she is fearful. In fact, I am empathetic to her feelings, however, I have to remember that caring for both us involves making some tough decisions.
There is never an easy or gentle way to proceed through this twisty, curvy path while taking care of elderly parents. It is imperative that I remember that the decisions made are out of love and concern. While she may have difficulty understanding or even agreeing, the end result is her happiness, safety, and vital quality of life.