Wednesday, October 26, 2011



     I went to the living room to bring her to see her nice new room.  I opened the door to show her our handiwork.  I said, “Here you are Mother, a nice, big room with your own bathroom.  How do you like it?”
     She looked around and answered, “It’s not big enough.  Where am I going to put my refrigerator and all the kitchen things?  Where am I going to cook?”
     At that point, I was so angry, frustrated, and just plain tired, that I wanted to hit her--so bad I could taste it.  I turned and left her and went into my little room and hit the bed instead, while big tears streamed down my cheeks.  Here I was squeezed into a small bedroom, with so much furniture and clothing that I could hardly move, while she had a big, beautiful bedroom that she didn’t seem to appreciate one little bit.
     We couldn’t jam our clothes into the small closet, so we split everything into two rooms.  We bought two more single beds, one for my husband and one for me.  this meant that we wouldn’t be able to sleep together, but there was nothing else to do.  It certainly wasn’t the best arrangement but we vowed to adjust.
     Having someone else living in your home is rough to handle, even for a short period of time, but this was a permanent arrangement.  It meant that we had no privacy, no time alone, and there was certainly no whoopee made in our house for a long while.  The problems seemed endless.  As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, she was also depressed and angry about her lot in life.  I realized her attitude stemmed from giving up her freedom and her home and relying on someone else for everything, but knowing that didn’t make dealing with her any easier.  We decided that this was the way it was going to be and we had to make the best of it.  We tried to make her as comfortable as we could.
     We moved as many of her personal belongings into her room as would fit, including her toaster oven, microwave, coffee pit and small refrigerator to keep her snacks and milk fresh.  The room was filled to capacity, but she could do a little cooking for herself.  Unfortunately, nothing really made her happy.  I realized that her pain was affecting her actions most of the time, but this knowledge didn’t make it any easier to swallow.  It seemed that the frustration of dealing with her was slowly dragging my husband and me down.
    It didn’t help that menopause was plaguing me with hot flashes and mood swings.  Tears came easily and I cried myself to sleep many nights.  Eight hours pent at my job followed by eight hours of caring for her was wearing me to a frazzle.  I knew that I needed an outlet for my anger and frustration, so I started keeping a journal.  Looking back, I realize that it saved my life!  The cathartic act of putting the words on paper somehow made it easier to forget my problem and get on with the work at hand,namely caring for her.  It seemed to me that once the words were written, they would leave my mind, giving me the opportunity to replace them with more positive thoughts.
     Before my mother-n-law moved into my home, I always thought of myself as a positive person.  I could usually turn negative thoughts or situations into positive outcomes with a little effort, but this predicament was a real challenge.
     When I talked to her doctor about her attitude, he suggested that I give her something to do.  He suggested that even little tasks like snapping beans, cutting up vegetable for a salad, or peeling potatoes would go a long way toward making her feel that she was needed. I tried his suggestions, she thought that I was making her work for her keep and became upset.  I tried to explain to her that I just wanted her to feel welcome and a part of the family.  I guess she didn’t see it that way.  But, I tried to ignore her attitude and just keep including her in everything we did.
     We did all the adjusting  from then on.  We tried to please her and give her the things that she wanted, or thought she needed, even when it strained our budget.  As her condition worsened she spent more time in her room, and she decided it was too dark in there.

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