My mother’s heath has been on the decline for the past few years. I don’t even like to say she’s sick because no one knows what is wrong with her. They throw around some phrases like “toxic neuropathy” but really they don’t know what happened or what’s going on or what’s going to fix it or even if they can. She’s been tested for everything several times (and I mean everything, she still gets a Lyme’s test every three months as well as lupus). It started with a pain in her hip, and now, nearly a year and a half later she’s completely disabled unable to work in any capacity, no longer able to drive, her independece completely stripped. She spends the majority of her days in bed or sitting in her recliner wrapped up in a heating blanket.
I’ve said before that I can’t do this, I’ve told everyone, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to deal with this. I want to stomp my feet and throw a fit and just say, “No”. Not happening. If I ,think too much about what is going on the fear paralyzes me. Today she has a rash and can’t walk very well. What will happen tomorrow? What new symptom will be added to the mix? Her heart rate hasn’t been below 100 in a week, that medication is not working, more phone tag with the doctors. Stay on task, don’t over think it: Laundry, dishes, cooking, take care of the kids, move through it and keep going.
If I stop to take a breath I get overwhelmed, and just end up crying. I’m afraid that I’m going to lose her. I think about how scared she must be, and how frustrated, and how very alone she must feel. I think about the fact that since we all live together my kids are seeing this all happen in front of them. My nine year old has caught my mother mid fall. My five year old draws her pictures and tapes them on the wall above the bed, while my two year old brings in piles of books and squeaks “Grammy, Read me!”.
I know that my youngest has no memory of my mother as the woman she once was, she only knows this version of her. We don’t talk about that, it’s like the life she had before the illness never happened, and so we keep moving, sticking to the routines of what works now. It will change; we will adapt to the new situation and keep going, keep praying, and keep hoping. It hurts more than I could ever imagine.
In 2011 my goal is to "be brave" which means talking about things I normally wouldn't talk about and owning my story. This was very hard for write. I cried through it, but I had to get it out. Find me at my blog or on twitter @josneiderer
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