Sunday, February 05, 2006

Running with sissors

(Lexington Cemetery)

I am home alone. Jumping up and down on the bed. Running with sissors. Drinking milk out of the jug. All that good stuff when no one is watching.

I made the four+ hour trip home yesterday because my Mom needed me. I could tell by the timbre in her voice Thursday. So I went. Watching my parents age is excruciating. My Mom spoke to me with her head down, not looking me in the eye, that she hoped she never became a burden to us children. That if her mind began to weaken, if her body failed her, she just hoped that she would not have to burden us children.

Bull hockey. Not about what she said, but that she should have to worry. It KILLS me. I know so many of us are there now, watching our parents fail, struggle to remain independent. I try to always make light of it. She will never be a burden to us. After all, there are six of us to spread take care of her if need be.

I'm babbling.

I kinda, sort of changed the subject and recalled one of the family legends. Aunt Pat and Grandma (my Mom's Mom) had a face off. Grandma had been staying with Pat because she had fallen. Grandma had wanted my other Aunt (Maura) to leave her husband in Texas and return to NYC to take care of her. Maura was the eldest girl, it was her duty. Maura refused. Pat was left with taking Grandma in. This is not a sob story. Grandma owned a home in the Bronx surrounded by extended family. She had fallen and was recovering. Grandpa had passed away several years prior.

Blah blah blah.

Grandma was...... how do I put this...not a sympathetic character. In every picture ever taken of her, she never smiled. She scared the Hell out of me. This is an evaluation held by every grandchild.

Everyone. All 15 of us.

Pat told her, "Mom, we are going to Ireland. You will be fine!"

And Grandma put the curse on her.


Of course she died. Pat had to come home from Ireland.

It really is not funny. It is actually scary. Grandma had the "gift". And other powers.

Anyway...I babble because it is Sunday night and it has snowed and I raced to the cemetary and tried to get a picture of The Wiggins girl catching snow flakes.

And Pittsburg is winning the Super Bowl. There is one hell of a party going on at Omega's house. (she is married to a great guy from Pittsburg).


Lisa :-] said...

I think it's awful how our parents' society formed in them that unshakeable independence (that becomes crankiness as they age) and the conviction that they will be a burden on us when they grow old. Why does our society not value old people? This is obviously something that is not recent, since our parents are so screwed up by it, as were their parents. Some of the problems with American society are very old and run very deep...

Paul said...

I would love to have seen your grandma and the Grammy in battle of wills.

Tess said...

Possibly the hardest avenue that we have to take in life is to give up our independence. I watch as the bevy of my elderly relatives one by one take that path at varying ages.
My own Mother, who has Parkinson's, lived with me until Katrina and her Aftermath hit. My Mom is now living with a grandchild that is a newlywed. Mom has an attendent that stays with her when everyone is at work. She accepts the help from the homecare worker more easily than she accepts care from her children. It is very frustrating for all of us.
In my home Mom became very passive aggressive, she had very selective hearing and would never commit to a decision even on what she would like for lunch. Mom was overly grateful for the first 6 mos, then as she realized the permanency of the situation she became depressed. I had an attendent to come in and help with her personal hygiene and enabling both of us to get a break.
Mom is doing the same pattern at my nephew's. Spreading out the care does not always work. Her next living arrangement will be with my brother. She will have a full time attendent except when he is home in the evenings. We are hoping that this works for her best mental state and gives her a sense of independence.
I apologize for the lengthy post. I think what I have learned over the last few years is that love and patience is absolutely necessary. What keeps them alive is the fighting spirit. I wish you the best!