From the Heart

I’ve always been a bit protective towards my Mum, not wanting to let anyone hurt her either physically or mentally. This goes back years but more specifically to 1972 when due to the circumstances at the time, we were living with another family as ‘lodgers’.
It was a difficult time for me anyway, being slap bang in the middle of my O levels, and when I got home from school and most weekends, Mum wasn’t there as she was looking after my sister. However, it was Mum who kept house here, Mum who prepared all the meals, and Mum who took the flack from ‘Matey’. His wife would recline on the sofa all day, watching TV and smoking her head off until she heard his car in the drive, then she was up at the cooker mopping her exerted sweaty brow (from the rush, not the heat), giving the impression that she’d been hard at it all day.
Things came to a head when he said some vile and terrible things to my Mum reducing her to tears, so I ran away.
I didn’t go far, just a couple of roads away to a friend’s house, but it took a few hours for Dad to find me, and when he did, I said the only reason I’d go back would be to pack my bags. I was 16.
We had nowhere to go actually, so ended up living with my Grandfather and his wife on a temporary basis which lasted almost a year.

mum-and-meMy Mum, now 94, has dementia, though as to whether she has actually been professionally assessed is unclear, so we take each day as it comes and deal with ‘the mood of it’ accordingly.
We have seen her disoriented, confused, unsteady, reminiscent, happy, subdued, frustrated and angry at her forgetfulness on many an occasion when we visit, and try to encourage her to engage in conversation rather than sit in her chair by the window as if she’s on the outside looking in.
Whenever possible, we try to take her out, just to give her a change of scenery more than anything else. We understand that she talks about these little trips quite a lot, in fact several times in the space of a few minutes over a couple of days before tucking them away with her other memories.

With my current health business, I have a dilemma, and talking to our friends, they too are divided.
I feel I should tell my Mum, but this could lead to a multitude of questions, repetitions, and dwelling on the issue, which is something I don’t want.
Should I just tell my sister, someone who doesn’t handle stress well at the best of times and has always relied on my Mum for support but is finding it difficult now the situation is reversed.
To be honest I get the impression she has a pretty low opinion of me anyway, especially during our house sale in 2014 when we couldn’t have Mum up for a holiday (we would have actually been moving out the day of her arrival). Living on a boat hasn’t helped smooth that over, but we do the best we can, as we always have, with the cards we’re dealt. Buying a boat was definitely not in the pack, but we had no other sensible or practical choice at the time.
I foresee friction in an already strained environment which would be of my making and believe me, the blame would definitely be left at my door. My shoulders are wide enough to take it, but my Mum’s aren’t, especially now, and we’re too far away to prevent it.

In a perfect scenario, I could go down before my op and explain to them together that I have to go into hospital for minor surgery and it will be a while before we get down to see them again, leaving it at that.
Sadly, I can’t see that happening, and our friends are quite right in that I will be worrying  on the journey down. There are always so many imaginary conversations going on in my head, and the tension in the car as we near our destination is palpable. We never know what we are going to find or how we are going to be received, but accept this is our own doing as we never announce our arrival because we want to see things as they really are, not how someone wants us to.

The alternative is to tell them after the event, letting Sis believe what she likes of me until the after treatment starts, and deal with any flack then.
Either way, it is not going to be easy.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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22 Responses to From the Heart

  1. Ritu says:

    Aw bless you. What a situation to be in… I pray whatever you decide is the right road xxx

  2. It’s a tough call and only you know the players well enough to make it. I did not tell many when I was diagnosed. I didn’t want fussing. Some days I could talk about it and other days not so. I only told my brother who I am close to and my niece. We kept it quiet. Afterward I didn’t tell but if it came up I talked about it. No one questioned why they weren’t told but if they had I would have told them that I didn’t want the fuss which was the truth. At the end of the day, it’s your story and your life. If you want to protect your Mum that’s ok. If you’d prefer to tell her, you can do that too. I know that you’d prefer to pop in but that might not suit your sister. Unless you know or suspect that your mother is being mistreated, you might have more harmony to occasionally tell her when you’re coming. Good luck. Nothing is easy.

    • Thanks Kate. Like you, I don’t want any fuss, nor do I want my Mum to worry. I spoke to my brother in NZ this morning and he believes I should tell Mum. I’ve been thinking about it all day and decided that I will after I have the results next week. I should be given a date for surgery too, so can fill her in should she ask any questions. I intend to play it down, especially as it is only a day surgery (which is extremely positive from where I’m sitting), and that I don’t know how I’ll feel afterwards. I’ve never had surgery, broken anything, or needed stitches at any time, so it’s all new to me, not that I really want it, but there you go. Thanks for your constructive comment.

  3. joyroses13 says:

    Thinking of you! Not a easy road, so sorry! I love the sensitivity and affection you have for your Mum, she is blessed to have you!

  4. Bernadette says:

    Take good care of yourself and all this turmoil will pass.

  5. scifihammy says:

    I’ve obviously missed something being away, but I hope your op goes well and you recover soon.
    As to telling your Mum or sister, I think what you suggest of telling them after the event might be the best course. Not an easy decision and I wish you all the best.

  6. However you end up handling this situation with your mom, know that there are some people over here thinking of you and hoping it goes well.

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