I am sorry. I adore my mother. I try very hard to be kind and compassionate.
And I get it, I really do. Aging sucks, as does disease, and it's no one's fault. Moving is stressful, facing the fact that you're nearing the end of your life is stressful, loneliness is stressful. I have total empathy for all of this.
And I'm sure that part of my own emotional detonation is grief — Mom will not be here forever, and that day is closer than I want to think about. And, I've already "lost" the energetic, confident mom I remember, and I miss her a lot.
Having said all that . . .
Mom is very, very bad at managing stress — she always has been. It is likely that her diabetes was brought on (and is certainly exacerbated by) her poor stress management. We saw her neurologist when I was there, and he diagnosed her "dementia" as stress. He prescribed a stress management class taught at our local hospital, which her insurance will cover. I was thrilled that her treatment was not yet another pill, which she truly does not need.
I then witnessed the following conversation between Mom and her best friend EB:
- Mom: The doctor says I should take a stress management class at Enloe.
- EB: Sounds good.
- Mom: So put it on your calendar!
- EB (smiling): I'll see if the dates will work.
- Me: Mom — even if EB doesn't go [EB is calm as toast, she does not need this class, which isn't cheap], you should still go!
- Mom: I know I should . . . but will I?
She is also a glass-half-empty person, which I don't remember her being. She is determined to look on the dark side of life, no matter what — and I cannot abide this type of negativity at all.
- Mom: They served us banana splits at Oakmont last night.
- Me: Sounds yummy!
- Mom: Well, it was only a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, maybe a fourth of a banana, and a small spoonful of syrup.
- Me: So . . . it wasn't enough for you?
- Mom: Oh, no, it was the perfect size!
- Mom: I went to Happy Hour at Oakmont.
- Me: How was it?
- Mom: White wine in a box, red wine in a box, some beer, and some sodas.
- Me: So . . . the wine wasn't good?
- Mom: Oh, no, it was quite tasty.
- Mom: Everyone who lives here is so old.
- Me: Yep, that does seem to be the case.
- Mom: (sighs)
- Me: Try to think of yourself as the hot young chick who happens to live in an apartment building with a lot of elderly people.
- Mom: No, I think they're just going to bring me down.
She gives up the second anything is the least bit challenging, and has no desire to learn anything new. She has no boundaries about asking people to do terrible jobs for her (like — give her a shower! which she was planning to ask her neighbors to do!), and her way to deal with challenges is to avoid them completely.
All of this wears me out and wears me down, and when it's relentless and I'm on my own and there is no letup whatsoever — and it's freaking hot and I have to carry endless boxes of books — sorry, dudes, I am just not my best self. At all.
So I snapped at my mother, constantly, adding to the joy and fun of our 10 days together.
I did assure her that she is not "trapped" at Oakmont, that she should give it a chance but if she truly hates it, we'll figure out something else. She doesn't have a ton of options, but there are at least two more that I can think of: an actual condo or apartment, with people hired to bring her meals, clean, etc., or a condo/apartment with a paid live-in companion. (If you have any more ideas, let me know. Of the senior living residences in Chico, Oakmont is definitely the best.)
So — we shall see. One day at a time.
In other news:
My low-key birthday celebration is starting early, as today I stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up crumpets and raspberries (which, with a glass of Champagne, while comprise my birthday breakfast, yummy!) and mentioned to my favorite TJ's pal Abrahim that Thursday is my birthday and TJ's is providing my breakfast. "Oh!" he said, "if only we had known, we would give you a cake!" He tells me to wait for a second, dashes off, and then presents me with a huge bouquet of daisies, dahlias, and lilies — gorgeous! I felt like Miss America.
I am reading the best book:
I have a few things I need to do, but all I want to do is read!!!!
Tonight we are having spinach lasagna, sauteed mushrooms and garlic, and a veggie-packed green salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. Gotta use up the CSA share! I made my first lasagna last fall, and I have since become a lasagna queen. Such a great way to hide slightly aging vegetables, which I will do tonight with a softening red pepper.
That is all for now.
p.s. My birthday list:
|Yes, a baby sloth. What are you asking?|