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My mother, myself.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

You may regret pushing your mother out of your life when you realise later in life, that she was just a human being with faults, like you.  I don't know any perfect mothers, though I do know a few who think they are. The bottom line is, does your mother love you?  Is she the person you first think of when you're in real trouble?  Is she the one you turn to when you need help and support, then drop, when things get better for you?  Do you find she's still there, next time you need a shoulder to cry on or support?  Is she the one person you know will always be there when you need help - and I don't mean constantly asking for financial support.

Then she loves you.  She may not love you in the way you would like her to, but it's the only way she knows. She may not always approve of your friends, lovers, jobs, but how many times do you disapprove of things she does?

 

I know some mothers can be a real handful.  Mine was.  Very dependent, more like my child than my mother. Split my family and caused so much mistrust among us, that we can never be really close to each other as siblings.  No matter how much you did for her, it was never enough.  One drama after another created in a very covert manner resulting in her appearing to be the victim.  It was draining, frustrating and maddening.  I moved thousands of miles away to enable me to get a life of my own and I did.

 

As I move into my later year, I do regret staying away for so long, as I came to understand that, my mother could only do what she knew how to do.  She did care for us to the best of her ability.  I don't kid myself that had I lived closer, I would have been visiting her every week, I wouldn't.  But I would have visited her at least once a month and tolerated her behaviour, after all she had to tolerate my bad behaviour as a child and teenager.  I would certainly have made sure that she had the comforts she needed, to repay her for the times she worked to provide me with food, clothing etc.,  It is cruel to abandon a parent as they age, unless of course they're physically abusive. 

 

I hope any adult child reading this post will give some thought to being a lot more understanding and tolerant of the people who provided for them, it's doubtful that anyone else in your life will ever make the sacrifices that your parents made for you and if you can't appreciate that, then you may find you become a selfish and intolerant person and turn into a far worse version of your mother.   Once your mother is gone, you can't turn back the clock.

post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by katslondon View Post

You may regret pushing your mother out of your life when you realise later in life, that she was just a human being with faults, like you.  I don't know any perfect mothers, though I do know a few who think they are. The bottom line is, does your mother love you?  Is she the person you first think of when you're in real trouble?  Is she the one you turn to when you need help and support, then drop, when things get better for you?  Do you find she's still there, next time you need a shoulder to cry on or support?  Is she the one person you know will always be there when you need help - and I don't mean constantly asking for financial support.

Then she loves you.  She may not love you in the way you would like her to, but it's the only way she knows. She may not always approve of your friends, lovers, jobs, but how many times do you disapprove of things she does?

 

I know some mothers can be a real handful.  Mine was.  Very dependent, more like my child than my mother. Split my family and caused so much mistrust among us, that we can never be really close to each other as siblings.  No matter how much you did for her, it was never enough.  One drama after another created in a very covert manner resulting in her appearing to be the victim.  It was draining, frustrating and maddening.  I moved thousands of miles away to enable me to get a life of my own and I did.

 

As I move into my later year, I do regret staying away for so long, as I came to understand that, my mother could only do what she knew how to do.  She did care for us to the best of her ability.  I don't kid myself that had I lived closer, I would have been visiting her every week, I wouldn't.  But I would have visited her at least once a month and tolerated her behaviour, after all she had to tolerate my bad behaviour as a child and teenager.  I would certainly have made sure that she had the comforts she needed, to repay her for the times she worked to provide me with food, clothing etc.,  It is cruel to abandon a parent as they age, unless of course they're physically abusive. 

 

I hope any adult child reading this post will give some thought to being a lot more understanding and tolerant of the people who provided for them, it's doubtful that anyone else in your life will ever make the sacrifices that your parents made for you and if you can't appreciate that, then you may find you become a selfish and intolerant person and turn into a far worse version of your mother.   Once your mother is gone, you can't turn back the clock.

 

I'm sure my mother loves me, probably in a fashion very similar to how she loves her cats, and her houseplants.  I have not turned to my mother when I'm hurt, or scared, or in trouble since I was a very young girl.  My mother had been cut out of my private life well before my teen years because I simply could not trust her.  She was of no help to me, and didn't try to be.  I was meant to fulfill her, to validate her choices, to make her life happier, and when I didn't, I was out of luck.  I moved on at a younger age, and it's become clear to everyone, I think, as the years go on, that it was my family, my parents that made me miserable, unhappy, unhealthy and depressed.  As an adult I am leading an obviously happy and fulfilling life;  certainly there are challenges, but I am a cheerful, outgoing person with a satisfying social life, a stable marriage and home life and a firm foothold on a bright future.  My parents, my mother, they see this.  When I needed her most desperately, she wasn't there.  If she couldn't, if she didn't know how, it doesn't matter any more.  Those years are long, long gone.  I think she feels herself on the verge of needing me.  I am her only daughter.  I don't know what I'll do.  I too put many, many miles between us;  for a reason.  Those miles exist to keep her and her husband, my father, from continuing to hurt and wound me.  I don't know that I'll close the gap as she ages.  I was raised to be filial, and some small mentions of the "mistakes" that were made during my childhood have been left out in conversation, but I find myself unable to ignore the fact that my mother and my family seem most interested in reestablishing a relationship now that I am in a position to enrich their situation, now that I am in a situation that would allow me to help them.  I've tolerated enough from both of them.  I've no desire to turn back the clock.  Honestly, I'll probably do what I need to in order to avoid shaming from my extended family and my own internal sense of responsibility, and no more. 
 

 

post #3 of 17


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by katslondon View Post

 

As I move into my later year, I do regret staying away for so long, as I came to understand that, my mother could only do what she knew how to do.  She did care for us to the best of her ability.


Perhaps - you - did care for your mother to the best of your ability as well?  Please forgive yourself for things you might construe as mistakes or regrets.  hug2.gif

 

Things don't always work out but all of us did our best, parents - and - children alike, given what we knew at the time.  Sometimes we should have known better ... but ... that's life - it's a long journey of learning.

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 17

My Mom (now age 91) and I were always very close.  We went on global vacations together and had wonderful times.

 

Both my parents were incredibly supportive of all four of us (I have two brothers and a sister, all older).  We never wanted for anything.  Our decisions were never questioned, but were discussed calmly.  Our methods of parenting were never criticised, always complimented and supported.  They never tried to be the parents of their grandchildren.  They taught be example and we all turned-out.  All of us are contributing members of society, never been in trouble and have had stable and happy marriages. 

 

Dad died in 2008.

 

Mom has had multiple strokes and broke her hip in 2010.  She is confined to a wheelchair.  The strokes have left her with dementia and 1-minute short-term memory.  She requires 24/7 skilled nursing care.  Happily, she is just 8 minutes away from our home.  I see her several times a week and every "special" day (holidays, birthdays, etc) are spent celebrating with her.  She doesn't always know who we are (me, dh and ds), but is always happy to see us.  Arthritis has crippled her hands and she cannot do the marvelous work in miniatures that she used to accomplish (her dollhouses are in museums).  She was an avid reader and the dementia doesn't allow her the attention-span to follow reading a cereal box.  She was always ready for an adventure and to explore the roads off the highway and, now, she has trouble managing her wheelchair in the hallway.  She always had perfect posture and age and injury has stooped her back.   

 

It's so hard, because Mom was (is) an amazing woman.  She broke her back and both knees in a hunting accident as a 12 year old child, spending months and months in body casts and with minimal therapy (this was in 1932).  She raised two young children as a single Mom during WWII (her husband walked out on her in 1942, while she was pregnant with their second child).  She faced being Catholic and being divorced in the 50's (she didn't date again until her ex-husband died in 1951, as the church didn't recognize divorce, and she could then call herself a widow).  She worked two jobs in order to send her children to Catholic schools for the best education and feed them healthy meals.  When she married Dad, she became a sahm and was wonderful.  They had 4 more children together (2 of them died at birth).  Her years as a single Mom stood her well as Dad was Air Force and was gone for so much of the time.  She was the ultimate room-mother (making cookies and costumes, almost always at the last moment when we remembered to tell her it was needed the next day!).  She always gave great advice, when asked, and kept quiet when she knew she should.  She was everything anyone could want in a Mom. 

 

Everything that happened in Mom's life made her a stronger person and she never complained about things.  She is the woman I admire the most.

 

And, now, she's here and she's not.  I miss my Mom so much and it is difficult to equate the woman I visit as being the same, vital, alive woman that raised me.

 

If I am anything like her, I am lucky. 

 

I love her so much.  I take care of her and watch out for her.  My siblings don't even bother to call and ask how she's doing. 

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

If I am anything like her, I am lucky. 

 

I love her so much.  I take care of her and watch out for her.  My siblings don't even bother to call and ask how she's doing. 

 

You're lucky to have her as your mom - and she's lucky to have you as her daughter.  Cherish those precious moments with her.
 

 

post #6 of 17

MamaMunchkin, thanks.  I do cherish the moments!

 

I know, when Mom's time comes and she dies, I will sleep easily that night.  Not because I'm heartless (I'm not!), but because I know I have done everything possible to make her elderlife happy and comfortable.  There are, and will be, no regrets of things not done or words not said. 

 

My siblings will not have such easy resting (I hope).  My wish is that they realize how shitty they have treated our parents in their elder years and that they fear their own children of doing the same to them.  Evil, I know, but it gets me through the dark days with Mom.

 

These siblings have dropped the ball and never done a thing to help Mom (or, Dad, in his final years).  I honestly don't mind taking care of everything regarding her care.  Simple geography makes me the most logical.  My parents, years ago, took care of their wishes, in their legal documents, that they wanted ME in overseeing their lives, if they could no longer do so for themselves.  I was honored by this and have never taken advantage of it (there is a LOT of money invovled).

 

But, my siblings, whom Mom & Dad worked hard to provide for and and loved, so much, have been total washouts regarding our parent's eldercare years.  My siblings haven't contacted me in well over a year about Mom.  No calls or letters or emails asking how she is.  So, I lie to Mom (The only lies I've ever told to my parent), because it makes her happy to hear a lie, rather than to hurt her with the truth.  It is hard to tell Mom that they called and asked about her and this or that, lying to her all the way, as I would never want to see her hurting at their lack of contact.  I buy her gifts and wrap them, saying that x, y or z sent it and hoped she likes it.  Birthday and holiday cards are purchased by me, and they are signed, to Mom, from my siblings, by me. 

 

The only positive in this is that I don't have anyone second-guessing Mom's life and being a pain in the ass about her care.  Any medical and end-of-life decisions are clearly spelled-out, in Mom's legal documents, and my siblings cannot do anything counter to what Mom has put down.  Multiple good attorneys have check and double-checked this.  If a plug is to be pulled, Mom will go without any legal wrangling by the siblings.

 

So, yes, I DO cherish the moments with Mom, and the memories that I have of all our adventures, joys and love we have shared, as well.  Not a day goes by that I don't tell her I love her, and mean it 100%.

post #7 of 17

That's heartbreaking, Graham'smama.  Do you know why they are that way?  I'm happy that she's got you.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

That's heartbreaking, Graham'smama.  Do you know why they are that way?  I'm happy that she's got you.



Yeah, 'cause they're jerks.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.......

 

They are just too wrapped-up in their own lives to bother about Mom.  They aren't bad people, just ignoring what, I think, they don't want to face:  their own mortality. 

 

My sister will be 71 this year, one brother just turned 69 and the other will be 58 soon.  I am almost 53.

 

They haven't seen our parents for years.  One brother and my sister visited Mom and Dad in 2004 (the other brother has been estranged from our parents and me for almost 20 years), but only because I told them to (Mom had just had her second, bad, stroke).  They didn't come for over two weeks as they said they had to arrange things before they could travel (my sister worked as a vet assistant and the brother had his own company, not good reasons, imo).  Neither of their spouses came, so it wasn't like life back at their homes would have suffered their absence.  I think they didn't want to waste money on a trip when they thought she might die and they'd have to fly, again, for a funeral (though, in our family, we don't do any type of services).  They stayed 2 days and saw Mom for a total of 2 hours.  My sister was angry that Mom didn't recognise her (sister had gained a lot of weight and didn't look like herself anymore).  Hello, Mom had a massive stroke in the memory section of her brain, of course she didn't recognise her.  Blah.......  They had dinner with Dad once (he didn't recognise her, either!).  That was it. 

 

They are all highly educated, have good-paying jobs or are retired with good pensions, families of their own (all grown children and grandchildren) & no major health problems or debts.  I guess it is easier for me to try to imagine their lack of involvement with these reasons, instead of the real one above (being jerks, that is).

 

Like I said, they are the ones that will have guilt on their shoulders (I hope), not me.

 

 

post #9 of 17

nevermind


Edited by Mittsy - 2/25/12 at 8:25am
post #10 of 17

Mittsy, the OP was not aiming at you, directly.  There was nothing demeaning or offensive in it.  It was a generic post and one, I suspect, coming from someone that just lost her Mom and is now reflecting on their lives, together and apart.  She needed a place to put down her words and feelings.  Please don't attack her.

 

But, reading through so many posts here on MDC, there are children cutting their parents out of their lives for things, that in the BIG picture, really are quite trivial ("She gives ds plastic toys when she knows we don't like plastic" or "They fed dd eggs when they know we're vegans" or "They don't approve of our not vaccinating").

 

Abuse, emotional or physical, is a very good reason to distance yourself from someone, as in your case.  Nobody would argue that and they would say you have become, hopefully, happier and stronger for doing so.  Nobody is saying you were wrong to eliminate them from your life.  To stay would be wrong and could be dangerous. 

 

I have now cut-off my siblings and feel all the better for it.  They didn't hurt me, personally, but they hurt our parents for no reasons whatsoever.  They ARE, as you called it, cruel/selfish/intolerant to people that caused them no hurt, but only provided love, support and caring, their entire lives.  And, at the latter end of their lives, they dropped them because they are selfish.

 

Family is whom you choose to be family, whether or not is by blood-relation. For me, a darling cousin, that has cared enough to always be in contact about her aunt and uncle, is now the person I consider my sister.  My best friend, whom has always been there to ask about my folks and listen to me cry, is the person I consider my sister. 

 

I understand where the OP is coming from.  With the loss of a parent, reflection is a natural reaction.  She is just throwing it out there, to air her thoughts.  She has that right.

 

And, yes, you have the right to be insulted by it.  But, only if you choose to do so.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

Yeah, 'cause they're jerks.

 

Sorry, couldn't resist.......

 

They are just too wrapped-up in their own lives to bother about Mom.  They aren't bad people, just ignoring what, I think, they don't want to face:  their own mortality. 

 

My sister will be 71 this year, one brother just turned 69 and the other will be 58 soon.  I am almost 53.

 

They haven't seen our parents for years.  One brother and my sister visited Mom and Dad in 2004 (the other brother has been estranged from our parents and me for almost 20 years), but only because I told them to (Mom had just had her second, bad, stroke).  They didn't come for over two weeks as they said they had to arrange things before they could travel (my sister worked as a vet assistant and the brother had his own company, not good reasons, imo).  Neither of their spouses came, so it wasn't like life back at their homes would have suffered their absence.  I think they didn't want to waste money on a trip when they thought she might die and they'd have to fly, again, for a funeral (though, in our family, we don't do any type of services).  They stayed 2 days and saw Mom for a total of 2 hours.  My sister was angry that Mom didn't recognise her (sister had gained a lot of weight and didn't look like herself anymore).  Hello, Mom had a massive stroke in the memory section of her brain, of course she didn't recognise her.  Blah.......  They had dinner with Dad once (he didn't recognise her, either!).  That was it. 

 

They are all highly educated, have good-paying jobs or are retired with good pensions, families of their own (all grown children and grandchildren) & no major health problems or debts.  I guess it is easier for me to try to imagine their lack of involvement with these reasons, instead of the real one above (being jerks, that is).

 

Like I said, they are the ones that will have guilt on their shoulders (I hope), not me.

 

 


If there is not more in terms of your parents' relationships with them, then yes, it sure sounds like they're jerks.  And it stinks that you aren't getting more support from them, too.  I'm sorry!

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post

Mittsy, the OP was not aiming at you, directly.  There was nothing demeaning or offensive in it.  It was a generic post and one, I suspect, coming from someone that just lost her Mom and is now reflecting on their lives, together and apart.  She needed a place to put down her words and feelings.  Please don't attack her.

 

But, reading through so many posts here on MDC, there are children cutting their parents out of their lives for things, that in the BIG picture, really are quite trivial ("She gives ds plastic toys when she knows we don't like plastic" or "They fed dd eggs when they know we're vegans" or "They don't approve of our not vaccinating").

 

Abuse, emotional or physical, is a very good reason to distance yourself from someone, as in your case.  Nobody would argue that and they would say you have become, hopefully, happier and stronger for doing so.  Nobody is saying you were wrong to eliminate them from your life.  To stay would be wrong and could be dangerous. 

 

I have now cut-off my siblings and feel all the better for it.  They didn't hurt me, personally, but they hurt our parents for no reasons whatsoever.  They ARE, as you called it, cruel/selfish/intolerant to people that caused them no hurt, but only provided love, support and caring, their entire lives.  And, at the latter end of their lives, they dropped them because they are selfish.

 

Family is whom you choose to be family, whether or not is by blood-relation. For me, a darling cousin, that has cared enough to always be in contact about her aunt and uncle, is now the person I consider my sister.  My best friend, whom has always been there to ask about my folks and listen to me cry, is the person I consider my sister. 

 

I understand where the OP is coming from.  With the loss of a parent, reflection is a natural reaction.  She is just throwing it out there, to air her thoughts.  She has that right.

 

And, yes, you have the right to be insulted by it.  But, only if you choose to do so.

 

I found it a little bit offensive, too, I must admit.  I haven't cut my own mother off at all, but for some reason I feel strongly that that needs to be an option for people, maybe because my grandparents were very damaged and damaging people or maybe because I have seen how friends have been hurt by their families but keep trying because they desperately want that familial connection with them.  So, to post that people shouldn't consider it an option really rubbed me wrong.  She has only had the experience of having her mother, so imo, she really can't speak to what one should do having grown up with a different mother.  

 

As for the threads about cutting the g'parents out because of plastic toys and eggs and such, I very much doubt that those were otherwise healthy relationships.  I mean, if g'ma is wonderful in every way except that she snuck in a couple of barbies, I don't think anyone would be thinking of cutting her off.  My guess is that, in those cases, the plastic toys or eggs or whatever are just examples of how the g'parents are disrespecting the parents' decisions.  And if they're disrespectful of their children's decisions, then I'm guessing the trouble goes back a ways, kwim?
 

 

post #12 of 17

grahamsmom98: I realize the OP's post was not aimed at me, that's why I put in the last sentence. Since my previous post was viewed as attacking I will take it down.

post #13 of 17

Judging from the age difference and you are the baby, who knows what really happend before you were born. I do know DH's older siblings have a different version of their life growing up than DH has (he was number 8 of 9 kids) as does my younger sister of our parents. Giving the brief reader's digest of what your mom went thru in her life, it may have been a hell of a difference in upbringing compared to when you entered the scene.

 

I am not saying she did anything wrong, but life as a single parent today is hard enough in this society, lord knows how terrible it was back in the 50s not just on mom, but your siblings as well. I am not excusing their behavior or saying they are right, but as an older sibling with some aging relatives, I can see where they are coming from. IME, I noticed when you get together with siblings esp ones that you were never close with, things get brought up that are ancient history or old behaviors resurface etc. Also, I am involved in my life with my kids, jobs etc as is my parents with their grandchildren. Its sometimes hard to pull away from what your created to make happiness in your life to go back to your dirty laundry even if its your parents no matter what age.

post #14 of 17

Even without a large age difference, the experience can be wildly different.  I have two siblings, one very close to me in age and one not.  While I don't think their relationship with our parents is ideal, it is clearly different than my relationship with our parents, and for good reason;  they were treated differently.  Both my siblings are male, and the youngest was raised in a manner completely different than the elder brother and I were raised.  I think it's fair to expect that each sibling has a different experience, and some siblings have wildly different experiences.  Which brings me back to the original post...  I wouldn't say I was offended, but I did feel the need to speak up and say that in my case, a lack of appreciation for my parents isn't, in my opinion, "the problem", and I won't be subject to the feelings of regret described or subjected to guilt due to my decision to protect myself from hurtful people.  I felt as though others in my position perhaps would need the "flip side" represented.  Some parents are just crappy parents.

 

 

post #15 of 17

What if you aren't sure if your own mother loves you or cares about you?  What if your mother was the one who decided to cut contact, or showed indifference every step of the way as you found your own path in life?

 

I haven't spoken to my mom in about a year and a half...maybe longer.  I miss her.  I do.  But every time I've put myself out there, she's hurt me.  I chose to just follow her lead.  She isn't in my life or my childrens lives.  She's never met her grandson.  I'm not sure she's even seen a picture of him.

 

It breaks my heart.  I'm at the point where I wish I could pick up the phone and mend fences, but will she care?  I'll just get pushed away again.  Then what??  I've opened a wound again.

post #16 of 17

Some people are truly not capable of love.  Whether it is from having their own traumatic experiences or a brain disorder, some parents cannot and will not love their own children. 

 

I decided at age five that both of my parents were incompetent and I was on my own.  My dad attempted to beat me with a wrench and my mom threw him out of the house, but she let him come home the next day.  That was it for me.  I stopped trusting.  I completely cut contact with them only a few years ago. 

post #17 of 17

Amys1st: I don't want to get into it too much, well more than I already did before. But, I have 2 older sisters and they told me they were both treated much the same as I was, I got the worst of it though as I was living at home when my dad died. And, from everything my mom told me it sounded like her parents literally responded to her every whim and spoiled her quite a bit.

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