Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day with Rose in Background

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Time to Write Again?

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Pre-Christmas Travel Writing

I jump from one app to another. Jigsaw puzzle to reading to writing. Back and forth, writing and jigsaw. Uneasy. Jittery.

Uneasy. Not at ease. Tense. Guilty. Dramatic, yes, but so fucking what. That’s who I am. I have no desire to change that about myself. Besides, honestly, I keep most of my drama inside.


Back Home Organizing My Thoughts

Haven’t been writing much over this past holiday season. Left my time and energy for family and myself. Since my post-Thanksgiving chest cold, I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles and not engaging in as many verbal activities.

Kind of like my mother. She nods yes, shakes her head no, or stares blankly not seeming to understand. She no longer reads the newspaper. Just turns the pages, pulls out the ads, and organizes the paper by section. Reassuring daily routine, even if she can no longer read.

Although I visited both my parents before both Thanksgiving and Christmas, I felt guilty leaving them behind when I visited my sister and in-laws. Broke my heart. So much guilt, even though I know after trial and error that we are giving our parents the best of care. Just can’t be in two places at once.

Last year around Christmas time, my Mom was psychiatrically hospitalized. More to the point, I had her psychiatrically hospitalized. Heart breaking decision, but I tried to do the right thing every step of the way.

We had hoped to have them living together back then. Our mother went from stroke rehab to the psychiatric hospital, then to another stroke rehab before moving into a board and care with my father. They did not do well in the board and care, so we ended up moving them into a high-quality memory care community.

Since that time, we’ve found that they do better apart in separate communities. I feel terrible that I’ve had her in so many places, but she’s stable now and my father’s health has improved. They both seem to be happy, even though they miss each other. Their memory communities arrange a weekly Skype session so they can “see” each other.


Visited My Parents This Week

The new year begins. I visited my parents before and after the holidays. When visiting my mother on Sunday, I took her out shopping. We terrorized fellow shoppers as we tried to navigate using an automated cart.

Once I got back home I debated whether I could bring her home to live with me. Our house, though, is not well suited for a stroke survivor. Bedrooms are upstairs. Our flooring is tile and hardwood. Our stairs steep and without a landing.

Just thinking about moving my mother in, I started to ramp up, to get mildly hypomanic. I found myself unable to sleep. Instead of sleeping, I researched stair treads, hand rails, stair elevators, and purchasing a single-level home.

The fact remains that my own mental health is stable because I avoid stressors that trigger symptoms and cycling. I give myself time to recover. If I was a full-time caregiver of my mother, I would not be well.

Yesterday I visited my father and brought my teen son along. My son continues to miss far too much school due to illness and migraines, which frustrates me. I try. I really do. But, I can’t carry a sixteen-year-old adolescent to school when he has a fever, is vomiting, or is coughing. I’m at my wit’s end.

My sister and I decided to give our parents’ living situation a year. They are both doing well. The quality care they receive is why.

I’m at a Loss…

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My son has missed WAY too much school this year. He’s attending a private school where he gets one-on-one attention and learns at his own pace, so he simply falls behind and the charges for missed classes just keep adding up.

He had gastroenteritis earlier this year (which we all had and which we all still have lingering GI symptoms from). This morning he complained that he had a migraine. I do not know whether he truly has a migraine, for his symptoms are not as severe as they were before he took preventive medication.

Our psychiatrist has told me that I should stop taking Matthew to health care specialists, that he needs to learn to live with migraines, and that I am enabling him. Hard to have your child live with chronic, cyclic pain and vomiting. Those in the mental health profession tend to pathologize physical symptoms as “somatic” and dismiss very real suffering and pain. I, too, have been guilty of doing so in the past with both my son and my husband.

Yes, I’m at a loss as to what to do, as to how best to care for my son and myself.

Nothering, Too Good, or Good Enough Mother?

Feminine Collective published Good Enough Mothering, a poem of mine about mothering a migraineur.

Check it out: femininecollective.com/good-enough-mother/

Wave the White Flag

white-flag

Need to write out the pain and exhaustion in my heart
Pain and grieving my parents’ dementias
Pain and exhaustion caring for my son
Must back off both
Must take care of myself
Must
Must
Must
Must take care of myself
Ready to throw in the towel
To admit defeat
To wave a white flag
To say I give up
I give up
I cannot control the chaos that is my life
I cannot heal others
They must help themselves
They must accept or seek help from others
Not just me
I need a break
I am exhausted
I cannot take it anymore
I am not strong
I am broken
I am ready to break
The burden is too great
The weight on my back too heavy
Please take it off me
Please stop
Please give me a break
Please
Please
Please
Stop
Stop
Stop
Please stand up on your own
Please stop asking me to fix you
Please accept that you, too, are broken
Please stop looking to me for help
Please
Please
Please
I cannot do this anymore
I cannot
I cannot
I cannot
It’s too much for me
Too much
Too much
Too much
I’m breaking
Under the burden
Fuck this shit


P.S. When I free-wrote this I vented. Yes, I’m exhausted, but hanging in there. Just fed up. This is theatrical – I know – but, I wrote how I felt at the time.

P.P.S. My husband made me tea with honey and brought it to me. On his days off, he brings me coffee and Cheerios with banana. I love eating breakfast in bed. Not a morning person. Last night he bought me a box of Entenmann’s chocolate frosted donuts, which I’ve polished off (one of my favorite indulgences). My 16-year old son popped in and told me he loved me and gave me a hug. I’m appreciated.