Thursday, June 19, 2014
Forever, Mother and Child
I regularly go back home to upstate New York to see my mom and my sister. There are people and places there that are precious to me and I will forever be drawn to my original home. But, (and herein lies the problem) I am emotionally exhausted when I return to Virginia. It takes me a day or two of foggy brained, head aching lethargy to recover from these trips. I'm in such a state today after returning home Wednesday night.
My mom is ninety-two and she lives alone these days. She's falling more often and the two most recent falls have landed her in the ER. About three years ago she broke five ribs after falling in her bedroom. She's fallen on and of since then with minor bumps and bruises. Two weeks ago she fell in another bedroom and broke her nose. Then, on my first day home last week, she fell again, right in front of me! This time on her front porch and hitting the same broken nose area. She required fourteen stitches to her forehead. It was pitifully sad.
We have begged and cajoled her to move in with us. We have plenty of room and it would alleviate her dread of a nursing home. I have offered to be her devoted caretaker; to cook for her, drive her places, keep her company, help her visit with her grandchildren and great grandchildren, to no avail. She can't bring herself to make the final decision to move.
SHE WON'T LEAVE HER HOUSE.
I understand, I really do. But at the same time I am so frustrated and weary of it all. It's getting old and it sounds like a broken record in my head.
The fallout from all of this also makes me sad. My dad and older sister are long deceased so, happy family reunions are no more. My mom is tottering around, beaten up and sad. I see the pain in her eyes when I tell her that I demand she not go down her basement steps any more. (We've arranged for my sister to do her laundry.) I hate demanding. I devote my visits to my mother's needs and to keeping up her home. Hence, there's no time for me to visit with old friends, go to my favorite places, or anything of the sort. I hate my selfish agendas. I feel a strong dislike toward going back home. I hate not wanting to visit. I ask myself, "Is she really putting my sister and me in the position of forcing her to move against her will?" I hate being annoyed with my mother. Agh! I hate all this hating and grumbling!
I am at war with myself as a result of the frustration. I'm a "fixer" and I feel compelled to find solutions to problems. But this one is a puzzler. I return to Virginia with a heavy heart. Nothing stays the same. People we love get old and die. Sometimes we are powerless to change a thing.
And so, I pray. Long, hard, coming-to-grips-with-reality prayers. I'm searching for God's will and what am I to do in all of this. In my prayers, I can't get the image of my dazed, terribly bruised, and bleeding mother out of my head. It prompts me to include the plea of a small child, "God, please don't let my mom be hurt."