I've struggled with whether or not to post about this. I've thought about it many times in the wee hours of the night when I can't sleep. I've been encouraged by some sweet blog friends to post about it. And, I've decided to go for it. There are probably a lot of people out there struggling with similar situations. Maybe, together, we can help each other out...even if it's just to know we're not alone.
I'm going to try to simplify as much as I can. Bear with me as I struggle to figure out how to put this all into words that make sense. It's hard to even figure out where to start. Here it goes...
I guess I'll start with saying how my mom has never seemed to like me. Throughout my entire life she's told me what 'she' thought was wrong with me. That includes a lot of things that have never been true. She's always been a negative person who looks for bad stuff. Even good things in life can somehow appear to be bad things to her. If she can't find a negative, she dreams it up. I guess that's how it works. I've never been able to understand.
Thankfully, I've always seen that as a way NOT to be and it has caused me to strive to see the good in life, people, and situations. She taught me a lot of things but I don't think she intended to teach me this. It's turned out to be the biggest lesson, the biggest gift, and the biggest impact on my life. And, even though I'll never have a mom that's proud of me (one of the things kids want most in life...to make their parents proud), I'm going to be ok...more than ok.
Lately, my mom's negativity towards me seems to be magnified. Really magnified! All she talks about is what a horrible person I am. She's making up stories about how she thinks I'm stealing money from her, that I'm an alcoholic, that I'm trying to ruin her life, that I was a terrible child, etc., etc. None of it is true!
Her mind is changing. And, it's not in a good way. We think there's something like dementia going on. But, we're not sure. My brother, our dad, and I took her to the doctor. She failed one of the tests and was referred to gerontology and for further tests. We lovingly explained that we care about her and that's why we brought it up and want her to be checked to see what's going on and what can be done. After all, we'd want someone to love us enough to do the same thing.
I understand that it must be SO hard for her. I want to be there for her. To talk with her and love her and hug her and walk by her side as she deals with it. But, she's become angry. Very angry! She got in the car a couple weeks ago to try to run away from the whole situation. I guess that's what she was doing. No one really knows where she was headed. I like my mother-in-law's theory that my mom was trying to go back to how things used to be. I know that's not a place but it makes perfect sense. But, she was angry and yelling and we already know she's become an unsafe driver (I've seen her run a red light, weave in and out of her lane, cut people off, change lanes without looking and cause someone to swerve....I've filed a driver safety form with the department of motor vehicles for her to be tested). So, we were scared! I asked my brother-in-law who's a sheriff what to do when that was happening and he told me to call 911 and file a "Silver Alert". I did. Luckily, she got home safely.
My brother and his family were heading over to visit as that was all happening. But, she locked the doors and told my brother to "GO AWAY!". After a while, she came out with her car keys and wanted to leave again. My brother wasn't about to let her drive in that condition. It wouldn't be safe! She could hurt or kill herself or another person! The situation became intense. My dad was crying and my brother was having chest pains from the stress of it all. Eventually my sister-in-law got her calmed down. My brother later took mom's car key and told my dad. He seemed supportive. I'm sure that angered her when she found out. But, it was the right thing to do.
Since then, we've become terrified of going over to our parent's house and the chance of that happening again. So, we all go over there together. But, sadly, even that backfires! We had a nice visit the next weekend. My dad enjoyed it very much and we enjoyed seeing him and my mom and that our time together went smoothly. But....she's complained ever since. She says that I "smiled and acted like nothing was wrong". What did she want me to do?! Bring it all up and provide the opportunity for her to escalate the situation again? NO WAY! That won't help anyone or anything! The conversation would have just gone in circles and upset everyone.
My brother and I talk a lot these days. Sometimes daily. It's SO hard knowing what to do. But, for right now, we're figuring that she is going through an anger and denial stage and that we're only going over there together....with my brother's sweet sons. Because, in front of them, she's less likely to cause a scene. We're hoping that in time she'll calm down and welcome our love and support
My poor dad. He calls me when she's not around and tells me how hard this is for him and that he doesn't know how much longer he can stand it. She's been repeating the same false and negative stories over and over and over. She's so angry! And, sometimes she cries. If only she'd allow us to love her through it! We've decided that all we can do right now is take it all a day at a time and deal with each thing as it comes up.
We're not sure what's wrong because she's refusing to go to the doctor. Although, we have another appointment scheduled....fingers crossed we can get her there. I've heard that a person with dementia can get mean, make up stories, and even pick one person that they take their frustration out on. I seem the one that gets that role. And, even though I've been told that she really does love me and that it's "mental illness" that's causing her to do and say these things, it's really hard. I'm having to work very hard at finding ways to try to let it go and relieve my stress. I'm so lucky to have such a supportive husband, daughter, brother, cousin, family, and friends!
Have you or do you know someone who's gone through something like this? I'd appreciate hearing from you and hearing your stories about how you've dealt with it or are dealing with it. I knew that the day would come that I'd need to help my aging parents but I never imagined something like this!