Don't EVER feel guilty for wanting and enjoying
a break!!! NOBODY can go 24/7 without wanting to scream sometimes!
I mean, I have been dealing with my elderly parents for 5 years now. First, with Mom having one stroke and them separating because of it (she had
to move out of their house and Dad refused to move with her). It wasn't nasty or anything, just weird. Then, Mom had a second, more severe stroke that hit her memory big time.I
had to drive 90 miles and take her to the hospital. SHe was there for a week. Then, she was moved to a rehabilitation facility for a month. Ds and I moved into her apartment so that we could drive to see her twice a day (the rehabilitation clinic was 15 miles away, so x4= 60 miles a day). As it became clear she wouldn't be able to return to her totally independent life, I was told she was a wandering risk and would need a serious facility.
She was released into a dementia unit. It was so sad and I saw Mom going downhill fast, being the only one there that could communicate her needs easily, but giving up because she was losing the desire to care anymore.
After a year+ there, I was able to move her into a wonderful assisted living residence that is just 8 minutes from our front door! I talk to her every day on the phone and we see her, at least, every other day. She can go for independent walks (the staff knows where she goes and keep an eye on her, just in case).
All this time, Dad was getting more and more frail and we felt he wasn't going to see this Christmas (we were right
). I had to take over all the bill-paying and make sure all was as best it could be at his house (90 miles away).
She broke her foot the Nov. 6. Then, Dad died Nov. 7. More arrangements to be made for both. She has been staying with us until she gets the cast off (hopefully, Dec 4) as we fear she'll take a fall at her place and hurt herself more seriously. She doesn't like the walker and forgets about it, as well.
I am awaiting the arrival of the death certificates so that I can handle the insurance claims and all the other paperwork that must be done (I am Mom's POA and the executor of Dad's will). I'll have to write and re-write the details of Dad's death over and over on these papers, a task I am not looking forward to doing. There is Dad's house, as well, that will be empty all Winter and will need to be sold in the Spring-Summer.
My fil had a pacemaker put in in September and we have to dela with his health issues and the fact that he doesn't take care of himself the way he knows he should.
I've been dealing with elderly parents in one way or another for these several years with only the help and support of dh and ds. My two siblings (there are 3, but one is estranged from the family) are a selfish and worthless lot. They have not called me but once since Dad died. They haven't called to check on Mom. They make no mention of visiting. No questions as to what they should get Mom for Christmas. They have conveniently forgotten all that our parents have done for them. Ugh, my Christmas wish for them is a short trip to a very hot place (if you catch my drift
So, if I get any breaks, I relish them and feel no guilt at all!!! I was thinking that, for the first time in many years, we don't have to make arrangements to bring my Dad up here for Thanksgiving and then drive him home the next day. Or, that we don't have to worry about his smoking in the house (he got up at 3-4:00 AM and did crossword puzzles and chain-smoked everyday!). I never sleep well when Dad visits because I am waiting to smell those awful fumes and have to go out and ask him not to smoke and then spray toxic air "freshener" all around to mask the smell (it is currently 15 degrees outside, not too energy-effective to just open windows!).
Should I feel guilty that I am relieved that those concerns are a thing of the past?? Most certainly NOT! Do I miss Dad more than I can say? Most certainly YES.
Yesterday, Mom and I "did" her Christmas cards. She couldn't remember several of the people and we had quite a giggle about her signing cards "Love, Joanne" and not having a clue as to who they are!
It was a lovely "normal" afternoon and really refreshed my mind.
So, if you get ANY breaks, enjoy them and savor them. Even if it is just leaving your spouse or partner with the parent long enough for you to walk around the block or kill an hour at Wal-Mart, you need it. Take it. ASK FOR IT!
to everyone that is involved in doing the very real job
of caring for elderly relatives. It isn't easy. It's hard. We doi ti because we love them, even when they do things that make us want to
because we're tired. Or,
when they do somethng for the millionth time and realize it afterwards. Or, have to say
as if they were children. Or, feel like
(in our own minds, of course!). Or,
because we just can't take it one more minute. Or,
: for a little while, just to clear our own heads. Or, resisting the urge to
(or, maybe, giving in to it once in awhile). And, in the end
because we love them so much and know there IS an end to all this and we will miss them so very much when they are gone.