March 22, 2005

Living my life

Well, Dear Reader, sorry for not posting in a while, but I’ve had some issues that I’ve had to deal with of a personal nature. For me, as always, it’s issues with my family. There are some days when it’s all I can do to not just pack my shit up and disappear.

Y’all remember last July when I had to go to Florida because my Mom broke her ankle? Well, at that time, I discovered that my Mom was just this side of being a shut-in. She wouldn’t leave her apartment, she had groceries or take-out delivered, and she had someone to do the laundry and clean. For a while after I left, she seemed to be getting her shit together, but it didn’t last long. When I ask her now if she’s getting out, she always says the same thing, “I make plans to get out, but I never follow through”. I even had one of her best friends call and tell me that she never gets out, cancels plans at the last minute, and just stays in her recliner. I know the friend meant well, but my response was basically, ‘what would you have me do’?

In the past, I would sit in my apartment (or house) and worry myself sick over it. We’re talking about getting up in the middle of the night and pacing back and forth, trying to figure out what to do. It got the point where it’s all I would think about. I would make myself nuts trying to figure out what I could do to change the way my Mom lived her life, how I could motivate her to get out, how I could change her outlook, how I could get her over her depression. One day, though, I had a revelation. I realized that it’s not my responsibility. I am not the person who has to force these changes…She is. I realized that I needed to make sure she had food, clothing, and shelter, while the rest was up to her.

At first, it sounded cruel and it bothered me a lot. It felt like I was abandoning her and I would picture her sitting in her recliner all day, doing nothing. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. I was not responsible for how she chose to live her life. I finally figured out that it’s her life to live and if she chooses to live it in a vacuum, then that’s HER choice. My brother and I have given her every opportunity to enjoy her retirement and if she chooses to continue on in this manner, I can no longer feel that it is my responsibility to change her.

I have a life of my own to live. I refuse to be put into a position where I do nothing but worry about her. That is not a life I wish to live. If I seem cruel to you, then I’m sorry. Well, no, actually I’m not sorry. As I’ve said, I will make sure that she has a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. The rest is up to her.



Posted at March 22, 2005 01:13 PM

Hugs!!! You are being the best son. I am sure your Mom appreciates the space you give her so that she can make her own decisions.

Posted at March 22, 2005 01:29 PM

Bravo. You can't only help other people, support them; not repair their lives. I think you are making a great step.

Posted at March 22, 2005 01:33 PM

I admire you for making this decision, and I am glad that you came to it. I know that it must have been difficult.

On that note, I also hope that your mother realizes that she needs to effect her own decisions and starts to get out and about. When she's ready.

Ugh. Sucky comment. Brain muddled. Damn kids.

Posted at March 22, 2005 10:11 PM

Kudos to you Howard. You've done all you can for Mom. On with your life.


Posted at March 23, 2005 06:48 PM

You know what, Howard? Those were some brave words but you can't fool me. No matter what stand you've decided to take on the matter, I bet this is just killing you inside. And I'm very sorry.

Posted at March 24, 2005 01:42 PM

You really can't save anyone from the life they choose to lead. I finally managed to learn this lesson, and I hope you can, too. :)

Posted at March 25, 2005 02:25 PM

I work with a lot of older people, and I have some concrete suggestions as to what you could do for your mom. Let me know if you are interested.

Good luck, and your mom is lucky to have someone that cares. Many don't.

Posted at March 25, 2005 04:19 PM