Your Mother's Mother...
I was watching House earlier tonight and there was this side story with this old man who was 82 and his dad was 102. They went to House and each of them was telling House to tell the other that the father needed to be in a nursing home. The dad wanted to be in a nursing home because he felt like the son was nursing and doting over him entirely too much. The son wanted the dad in the home because he couldn't handle taking care of his father anymore and thought that his dad would take the news better from a doctor than from him.
This story reminded me of a conversation that I had earlier with my mother. We were talking about her sister that passed last week and how her daughters didn't take care of her as well as my mother thought that they should. Then she got to talking about her health and how she felt like it was deteriorating more quickly than she wanted it to.
"I'm thinking about moving into a nursing home myself."
That statement there caught me totally off guard. And it made me sad.
My mother lives with me and it's a win-win situation for the both of us. She takes care of MIB while I'm at work and I'm able to help her with the things that she needs. Also, it's a pretty good financial situation for the both of us given the current economic crisis that's going on. And I will admit that I have been getting a little tired and irritated that I've had to take care of her and MIB.
But when she said that, it really started to put a lot of things in perspective for her situation and my future situation. And it got me to thinking about MIB as well.
I'm an only child and am very close to my mother. After my daddy died over ten years ago, we've created an new bond between the two of us that was 100 times stronger than the one that we had. For a while we stayed apart but after I had MIB and our financial situations and her health situations declined, we decided that we should move in together.
It's been a long, hard road. I feel stressed because I've had to be a mother to both my child and mother. It's been hell that I feel like a child in my own home even after I became a mother because I have to remember to show respect towards her and my privacy has been whittled down to zero. Also, since I am an only child, I'm the ONLY one that she can count on, turn to, ask for help, and depend on. As much as it can stress me out, I do it because I love her.
Lately, I've been thinking about getting a place for me and MIB away from my mom. Not too far away but the space is needed. I would have to create a schedule to be with my mom and to make sure that she's doing all that she's supposed to (taking her medicine regularly, eating properly and regularly, things like that) but in the back of my mind and at the pit of my stomach there is this gnawing feeling that basically says "you can't do that, she needs you."
And, as an African American woman, we normally don't put our parents in nursing homes. We don't "put our problems on" someone else. I don't know if it's financial, loyalty, or what...but that is something that I believe is done less in our community than in others.
I told her after she made that comment that she shouldn't be in a nursing home...I mean for what? So she can get sicker? So she can start feeling more helpless and less wanted? I've always told my mother, and I mean this 1000%, that I would never put her in a nursing home. I'd find a nurse to stay here with her and me instead of sending her somewhere that could be potentially dangerous or harmful to her mentally and physically. She will never have to worry about that because she's my mommy and I've taken care of her before and will continue to take care of her until the day she makes transition.
But, going back to my post the other day about being a superwoman, am I taking on too much? And if not, am I really doing all that I can to take care of her? And why do I feel guilty about not being able to take care of her in the way I feel that she needs to be taken care of? And who takes care of me? Who will take care of me when I get to be in her position? Will MIB be as concerned about my health and well being as I am about her Nani?
My mother had difficulties with her pregnancies because she was quite sick and small and that is why I'm an only child. MIB is an only child by choice. Do I want to put this burden on her? Am I putting a burden on her? Because of the way that she is being raised, she will know and understand the importance of taking care of loved ones; but she is also seeing the toll that it is taking on me and the stress that I'm under because of it, despite how important it is for me to do it and how much I want to do it.
I've made my decision to not have anymore children (another day, another post) but I also made the decision that my child will only have her to count on if I ever get sick or need assistance in my everyday life. But then again, the decision not to have anymore kids is also good for MIB because I won't be even more stressed with three people to wholly take care of and I can stay in good health so hopefully she won't be at the crossroads like I am now about taking care of my mother.
I'm getting to that age where I do have to really start worrying about my future and how it's going to be lived. I need to really start focusing more on my health, lifestyle, habits, relationships, and other things that will affect the outcome of my golden years. And since I'm at that stage in my life and have a child now, the picture is a lot less clear and a lot more incomplete.
Now I'm thinking about me going into a nursing home.