Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pity Party

The hardest thing about visiting my mother every day is responding to her self-pity.

The wheel chair, the lack of memory, the incontinence I can deal with, cheerfully.

Today I brought her to my house; we ate pumpkin pie and played with the dog.

As I started to put the dishes away and prepared to take her back to the car, this was her comment:

"At least you came to see me. Maybe you'll come again some day."

"I come every day, Mom!" I said. "You don't believe that, do you?"

"I guess you do," she answered. "But it seems like such a long time before you come."

It's never enough.

Most days when I leave her, whether it has been an hour visit or a six-hour outing, she says, "You'll come back tonight and put me to bed, won't you?"

"No, I can't come back," I say. "I need to cook dinner for John." Or "I need to grade papers for my class."

"Oh, of course, you need to take care of John," she says, reluctantly recognizing that I have a few people in my life besides her.

I leave feeling miserable, unable to shake the feeling that no matter how much I do, it is not enough. She is voracious.


terri c said...

Oh, Anne!! How very painful for you. I would be willing to bet it is harder on you than on your Mom. I am sure you feel as if she spends every moment when you are not with her, missing you; but that may not be true at all. It may be possible for her to be involved with other caregivers and to take pleasure from her routines and their company as well. You could ask at the care facility? Try to take in that she enjoys being with you and wishes that the situation were such that she could always be with you; and know that you are doing the best you can to balance all that is needed in your life. And take care of YOU. This is just plain objectively difficult. I doubt she is deliberately yanking at your heartstrings; part of this is the dementia talking. It's awful.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Anne, Could it be that you're trying to do too much? You've been around so much that the caretakers there know you're concerned and apt to show up. Could you go every other day, or maybe even twice a week? It's just so hard to know that you're doing your best, and it isn't enough. And sometimes "less is more." --Loving you, =^..^= =^..^=