Thursday 1 November 2012

End of Story

Shall we start with the nice bit? If you're in need of a cheer up, just read the next paragraph and look at the picture of the cute baby and then click away, after that it's fairly rantie auntie, you have been warned...

I have been home, my new nephew is beautiful and teeny tiny and was a bit yellow but grand now, look how weeny he is compared to my big heffalump of a boy

Okay, that's the good bit, from now on in, it's fairly grim, on your own head be it

I am so trying and failing to enjoy my visits home now, I could give you a list of my main reasons why but I just sound like a grumpy teenager and the world so doesn't need another one of them, my beautiful baby daughter is, in fact, the world's grumpiest teenager and I have no wish for you to see where she could have got that from.

I really struggled with my mother this visit, her need to have her own way at any cost and her refusal to compromise annoys the bejaysus out of me. Her anxieties and stresses about any tiny change in her routine of watching telly and watching telly exasperate me beyond words. This combined with her life long habit of not listening and not remembering make for a bumpy time.

My mother's memory is worsening. A few days of groundhog day conversations made me say that I was worried. Her vehement denial and her refusals to visit her GP over the last 6 months (for her usual BP checks etc) makes me think she knows her memory is worsening too. She is remaining in denial land, no matter how many times we tell her that things have improved hugely since her mother's dementia demise, she remains resolute. There is no problem, she is absolutely fine. End of story, those 3 words are my mothers final and much repeated end to any argument. I must have heard them hundreds of times in my life.

I can't help wondering if her inability to accept any change and her lack of doing anything are because of her mental state. Is it the chicken or the egg? Does she stay at home watching telly and not go out because she can't go wrong? does she not listen to us so she can blame that for not remembering? when did she start having the word finding difficulties?

My dad says he can't remember the last time she cooked a meal, or did some housework or even did the shopping. He has been doing it all. She either tells him things 5 times over ar not at all and then gets completely furious with him when he says she hasn't told him, saying he's the one with the memory problems. He has raised the subject about her memory but the ensuing arguments it caused made him not push the point.

My sister says my mother has stopped visiting, she used to drive the 14 miles a few times a week but she hasn't been for months. My sister has also noticed that mum listens less well and retains less but sees this as an ongoing problem, a gradual worsening, an inevitability.

I am not a good daughter to my mother, our relationship isn't the best or the closest or the easiest, I find it difficult to be with her. The parts of myself I particularly dislike are things I associate with my mother. I put a good face on it, I visit, we speak, I know she would help me if I needed it, I try but it doesn't come naturally to me, I don't have the ease with her I have with others.

I am not kind and patient like I am with others who suffer memory loss. I am not accomodating and cheerful and understanding, I am cross and tetchy and I find it incredibly tedious. I seem to lack genuine compassion for her, if she was your mother I would be much more understanding. And that is a huge shame, she must be so scared, she looked after my gran who had dementia, it must be like facing up to your own personal doom. This is a massive failing on my part, something I will have to really work on.

I don't understand why she won't go to her GP, I have an overwhelming need to know, no matter how bad I need to know what I am dealing with. I am an ex nurse, I believe in getting checked and seeing if any drug or therapy or lifestyle change can help. I believe in having the positive mental attitude, in matters medical I believe that early diagnosis is crucial. I sincerely hope she goes and gets checked out to see if there is anything that can be done to help.

But maybe I'm thinking about physical problems but it's not a physical problem, maybe if it was my mind I was scared of losing, I would be right where she is, in denial.


Ayak said...

OK. Stop beating yourself up. I can say this because my late mother and I had a very difficult the sound of it, pretty similar to yours. My mother had Parkinsons Disease for years, and I had all these guilt feelings because I wasn't patient enough. But you can't change the nature of the relationship because they are ill, or appear to be ill.

You cannot force her to get help, and getting frustrated about it won't help her, or make you feel any better about it all.

Does she have a better relationship with your sister even though you say she hasn't been to visit for a while? My mother got on far better with my 2 brothers, so I'm afraid they were the ones who had to be firm and deal with things.

I do feel for you though. I think I know exactly what you're going through. xxx

Expat mum said...

Oh dear. I think a lot of what she's doing is because of dementia onset, although all parents go through some of this as they get older. Many of them lose confidence in driving or just doing things that are outside their normal routine.
Is there a dementia society? (Like the Alzheimer's one?) Perhaps they have some material for families that you could flick through to understand why you are reacting the way you are.

Mac n' Janet said...

Does anyone have a good relationship with their Mother, that relationship is so difficult. My Mother and I were not close, I use to blame that on the fact I lived so far away, but in fact I don't think my Mother was close to anyone, she held them away.
If you can't help your Mom help your Dad, how hard it must be for him.

auntiegwen said...

Ayak - yes she gets on better with my sister but very much sees my sister as still 12 and in need of help. Will wait for a bit to see how things go and then try again after my Xmas visit home. Thanks muchly xxx

Expat mum - yep will try and access the charity support, I do quite a lot of work with Age UK, and a lot of the neurological charities so am well placed to find help. I am just not very good with my mum becuase of the lifetime of stuff we have.

M & J - so true, will concentrate on suppporting my dad as he is the one dealing with it day in day out

libby said...

Oh ayak said, don't beat yourself up. I do feel for you. We are facing some of the same things and it ain't fun is it? Your folks are lucky to have you.
The baby is gorgeous...and your baby must have cut his hair since we saw him last...speak soon xxx

auntiegwen said...

Libs - hard work ain't it just. My baby indeed is now having his hair cut every 3 weeks!!! getting quite expensive... xxx

AGuidingLife said...

I have no patience with my mother. Part of me thinks it's because as soon as I accept her frailty by acknowledging it, instead of railing against it, I accept our relationship status has changed and I become the carer not her.Regardless of the difficult nature of the relationship, the point of change is still very hard indeed. I guess there are so many of us, our age, now having to face this kind of dilemma. I can't say anything to help but I do understand the rather familar situation. xxx

auntiegwen said...

K - so many of us facing this, good to know I'm in the company of good friends, gin? xxx

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Your nephew is gorgeous and that picture really put a smile on your face, but I am really sorry to read about your mum. My Mum had dementia, but reacted differently, but I can see why yours would be in denial, as you said, who wouldn't if they knew what might be ahead? But you can only do what you can do, she is an adult and has to live her own life. Hope your Dad is okay xx

Gigi said...

Oh Gwen; the mother/daughter relationship is a difficult one isn't it? Not even counting the issues you are facing, it's a tough one. Sending you lots and lots of hugs. x

auntiegwen said...

LFBS - he's a bonny wee boy isn't he? yep, going to try and help my dad as he will accept help xx

Gigi - toughest gig of the lot that one, thanks for the hugs, they and gin, always welcome x

Helena said...

Oh, Gwen - I'm sorry to here this. It's an awful condition - went through it with my aunt.

Don't be too tough on yourself - I was never close to my mother. It is hard to admit, but I never loved my mum as much as I did my dad. I'll be thinking of you.......

sandiart said...

I have the same sort of relationship with my mum. She either has 'selective' hearing or she needs to get her ears checked, which she hotly denies, tells me I talk too quietly (everyone else can hear me). She never asks how I am, just comes in the door with the same droopy shoulders and the same 'hello' then arms crossed launches into all the misery of her life and her ill health (she is full of good health) but if I start to talk she basically ignores me. I love her dearly however I really dislike some of her behaviour, and so do my kids. She is horrid to my dad who has Macular disease and cannot see very well, this upsets me and my kids no end as he has done just about everything for her and she has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on natural products and chiropractors and Naturopaths over the last 30 odd years, money that he worked hard to earn, but tells him off if he wants something for himself. I end up buying things for him so she cannot do anything about it. Oooh I could go on but I won't, so I get where you are coming from and I work at not being like her. When they are here, I enjoy a glass of wine hehe. Thank goodness the kids and I have a fantastic relationship. My 22 year old daughter actually thanked me a couple of weeks ago for being such a great mum and person, had a wee tear. Your nephew is so tiny and so sweet.
Take care Auntie
xoxo Sandi

Suburbia said...

Yep I think I would be in denial too if it was my mind. I do feel for you though, it must be very frustrating, relationships with mothers are difficult at the best of times - and having a lovely 16 year old sitting next to me now, I wish it was not the case.

Nota Bene said...

Love the wee bairn...beautiful.

As for your mum...well I saw my father live and die through Parkinsons...I remember when he tried to tell me after he was diagnosed...he couldn't find the words, and I was too young to appreciate and understand....he was terrified. Whatever may be wrong with your mum,it would be hard for her to perhaps it is best for her not to know. You are too far away from her geographically, so others closer will have to help. Big hug xxxx

auntiegwen said...

Lena - ta hen xxx

Sandi - ah the selective hearing top trump card, know it well. Your daughter sounds fab xxx

Suburbia - yep I am scared that my daughters will view me the way I view my mother

NB - yep, my sister will end up with most of it unfortunately. Life gets tricky sometimes, thanks for message and hug, gratefully received

Taz said...

Yaay congrats to sister :D