Mom is 79 and still lives alone, although my 35 year old niece, DQ – the true Queen of the Park – lives next door. For Christmas this year, rather than buy Mom more clutter for her house, i bought her a Life Alert system.
I arranged for installation Tuesday, and made sure that the installation was coordinated with DQ. Although she’s sometimes a human disaster area, she can be very functional – especially when her future inheritance may be at stake.
After a long and painful day at work, i called Mom to see how things went. She barked at me for 20 minutes…
“Well, they didn’t show up on time…”, and “the paperwork was all messed up…” and “it had to be put 4′ away from the phone…”.
You get the idea.
I’d been up since 4am, was emotionally exhausted from work, and was driving home in heavy traffic during a rainstorm (yes, i know i shouldn’t use the cell phone when driving…). I didn’t know what to say, other than “Mom, i’m really sorry i got this for you. I can come down tomorrow and take it out…”
She went on for another 10 minutes about what pain i’d caused her…
I explained “you made it clear to us that you want to stay at home, rather than go into assisted living. we need to provide a strong safety net for you. this may not be the right solution, so we can keep looking at other options”.
I gave up. “Mom, I’m really sorry i got this for you for Christmas.”
And then the icing on the cake from her…
“You make me sound so ungrateful”.
oh. i’m sorry. what an awful person i am for implying that a half-hour bitchfest without a ‘thank you’ regarding a gift that is intended to keep you safe is an ungrateful response.
no. i didn’t say that. asked her to sleep on it and checked back with her on Wednesday and she’d adjusted to the idea. i know that it’s the loss of her independence she is mourning, and i need to be very patient. or very medicated…
Who wouldn’t want to live in an old fogie home? I can’t wait to get there. I could just lay around watching jeopardy all day. I wouldn’t ever have to leave my bed. Not even for the bathroom. I could crap my pants and someone would clean me up. I wouldn’t even have to chew my own food. They could just stick a tube in me. Hell, I’m all for that.
uw – i may have you try to talk her into it. hell, i think she’d have a blast at the gimcrack with nm. doesn’t use a walking frame, but she’s a dead-eye with her cane! especially when i take her out in the wheelchair – if people get in the way, she pokes at them with the cane! now THAT’S just fun…
she might not be weird enough for us yet. try sharing that medication around, perhps you can induce a psychosis
nm – she was a psych nurse before she retired, so it’ll be hard to slip her hallucinogenics. not really weird, just self-absorbed and bitter. on her good days, though, she is a lot of fun… she challenged my kids to poker over the holidays, offering helpfully to win their tuition money from them. good thing we weren’t playing for keeps. she was viscious!
ah so that’s where it comes from…… 🙂
Or both. I don’t think I’d mind an old fogie home when (if?) the times comes, as long as I could bring my laptop and have a dsl connection.
The cane thang is very funny. 🙂
nm – yes. momma is a tough woman, has been through difficult times, and she is a survivor. i’ve picked up some of that, as well as some of the quirks.
az – assisted living might have benefits. i’d be likely to fuck with the other people to amuse myself – probably not fun for the staff! mom is pretty funny – when i bought her the wheelchair, we put streamers and a little kids bike horn on it. plus a leather ‘harley davidson’ saddlebag to hold her smokes. she loved it…
I know someone down the road she could commiserate with.
“August: Osage County” becomes more a documentary every day.
bob – i’m afraid there’d be a massive supernova/black hole event from The Park if we connect those two particular dots. yeah. oxoxox
DaisyFae, I’m not sure, but we may have the same mother.
I’ve got to go see “August: Osage County” – my maternal relatives hail from Dust Bowl, Oklahoma, and that bitter, disappointed edge will be so familiar.
bc – Welcome to The Park, sister! I’ve been surprised to find so much ‘resonance’ out here… my friend bob has already told me that i have to see “August: Osage County”. Appalachia vs Dust Bowl? Fine line… i’ve been trying to comment on your latest post at ‘compu-diva’, but it seems blocked… i’ll keep tracking, because i think we’re at least cousins!
You’re not blocked, you have to type the answer to the anti-robot line beneath your name, like
What color is an orange? before you hit the submit button.
It’s not very big and people seem to miss it frequently.
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My grandmother was a bitter old woman. Bitter about losing her oldest son in WWII, bitter at my grandfather for whatever went on in their marriage. Catholics didn’t divorce back then, so the marriage persisted a lot longer than it would have these days. I try very hard not to follow in her footsteps.
silverstar – “bitter” is a bad way to live your life. i’d rather be “angry” or “lonely” or “sad”, given a choice…
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This is not the first time I have visited and read the story of your mother and what it has to have done to you, but the first time I am commenting. I’ve had my share of what I refer to as “my years of hell on earth” and part of that hell was caused by a mother-in-law who was very much as you have described your mother. I don’t understand such women … never have and never will. I will be 90 years old before this year is finished, and one of my greatest fears is ever, at any time, being a burden to any one of my children. For some reason, not only my children, but my “in-law children” think I’m a kinda upbeat, pretty nice sort of a person to have around. We only have one shot at life and I’m enjoying, and plan on going on enjoying, every day left to me. I wish with all my heart you and mother will, before its too late, know the kind of a relationship that my children and I enjoy.
mary – Welcome to The Park! LOVE your blog, and will get over there to dig into more of your writing! You are an inspiration – blogging away, with a lot of wonderful things to tell the world! Clearly, not in the ‘bitter’ category. i know mom worries about being a burden – but she won’t adjust her surroundings to make life easier for herself, yet complains that things are bad… frustrating for all of us.
i’m still trying to find a happy balance with momma – and the relationship you describe with your children would be a great one to find with my momma! thanks again for stopping by! made me happy!
Daisyfae, I wish I had some comforting words for you concerning your mother changing her outlook on life, but I see little hope for anything for you like the relationship i have with my children. I’ve a question: does your mother feel as though she made a martyr of herself during the time she was raising you like my mother-in-law did raising her two sons? If so, all you can do is love her and be there for her when she needs you. Having done that, feel free to live your own life to its fullest. About two, possibly three years ago, my sister, just two and a half years younger then me, passed away. I called her just a week or two before she died and in spite of the fact that her youngest son’s wife had done her wash and ironing, helped her clean the apartment and did a great deal of the cooking for many many years, my sister still could not say one kind word about the “person who got my son to marry her”. That’s the way it goes, sometimes.
i know – i try very hard to stay upbeat with her, help her find things to look forward to (i think that’s the secret to living happily – always having things to look forward to). but it won’t change how she’s wired… she’s not so much the ‘martyr’, she just feels like life’s been bad to her, that she’s had too much suffering. even when she married dad, and he helped her get out of a bad situation. and after being married to him for 40 years? the bitterness was too set into her wiring… so you’re right. i just love her, keep trying to help her find moments of happy. sorry about the loss of your sister – but also that she was so dark til the end!
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you, my dear, are going straight to heaven when you breathe your last breath.
I’m sorry that I find a bit of entertainment amidst your pain.
I’m going to hell.
It’s that simple.
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