Yesterday was a tough day. As regular readers will know, my Mum is terminally ill with advanced heart and lung disease and in the past couple of years has turned to drink to cope. Which is fine for her but really hard on my Dad and me.
I deal with it all the best I can, but at times my Mum’s selfish behaviour just really gets to me and yesterday was one of those days. I totally lost it with her. And I mean, I lost it. I screamed in her face that she is a nasty old drunk, selfish and told her if she wants to drink herself to death to be my guest because I didn’t care any more. And at the time I meant it. It’s exhausting.
My Mum retired 15 years ago and the second she gave up work she parked herself on the couch, lit a cigarette, poured herself a glass of vodka, put the telly on and basically has barely moved since. She has no hobbies, no friends, rarely leaves the house and has very little interest in life in general. And now she’s drinking so much her mental function has declined, so I’m left dealing with just about everything while she has a jolly nice time necking booze and watching the Darts.
Four years ago my Mum was diagnosed with a large tumour in her lung. Having smoked since she was 14 we were told it was almost certainly lung cancer though they couldn’t be certain until the mass was removed and biopsied. So Mum had a large part of one lung removed. Miraculously the tumour turned out to be benign. I thought having a scare like that would change my Mum, make her thankful to be alive, make her engage in life. But it made not one jot of difference and she just carried on as before.
Then 2 years ago she had a heart attack and miraculously survived. But instead of being thankful for that she wallowed a bit more in self pity, turned to drink and totally disengaged. Yay.
Both her two sisters, two of her sisters-in-law and one brother are all dead. She was very close to her eldest sister who died after a 2 year battle with cancer in 2013. My Aunt would have given anything not to die and I feel my Mum’s lack of gratitude for her own life is actually disrespectful to my Aunt’s memory.
I’ve been ill since I was 26 years old and I’m now 48. For 10 years I was so desperately ill death would have been preferable, but I never gave up. I engaged with life. I engaged with people. I taught myself how to use a computer. I joined groups. I volunteered from my bed. I took on rescue animals. I lost all my healthy friends, but made new sick friends. And now I’m slightly better I volunteer for my Church and have taken up a new hobby which I love. I watch my Mum’s self-pitying, destructive, self-absorbed behaviour and simply don’t understand it. Our life, however it is, is the only one we have – if we don’t enjoy it what’s the bloody point?
I know nothing will change with my Mum and I just have to find a way of dealing with the situation but it’s hard. It’s a daily challenge to keep loving and caring for her while not liking her behaviour – some days I manage it, other days I don’t. Some days I actually hate her which makes caring for her a monumental effort.
My screaming at her yesterday will change nothing – it just left me ill and exhausted and her shocked and upset, and now I’ve got to deal with the fall out from it. From talking about it on my blog in the past I know I’m not the only one of my readers who’s had to deal, or is dealing, with this situation and I know you all in particular will understand. It’s easy for someone not going through it to tell me what to do, or not to do, and I would have made the same judgements before it happened to me – but now I realize that it’s not as simple as “getting more help from other people” or just stopping caring for my Mum tempting as that is at times. I have to be able to live with myself and if I abandoned my terminally ill parent I couldn’t face myself in the mirror, plus I couldn’t abandon my dotty Dad who is stuck living with her too.
I don’t need anyone to ‘fix’ the situation and am just venting – something we all need to do at times. Thanks for listening.