I know some of you are wondering how the situation is going with my parents, so I thought I’d do an update. My Mum kind’ve thought that I’d have a blow out, take a week to get over it and everything would go back to normal but I simply can’t do that and would have some kind of breakdown if I tried. So things have definitely changed and I have taken a huge step back from my parents.
I told them both that I love them and that I will take care of them, but I am not visiting socially four times a week like I used to – not for a while anyway. I told them that my Mum’s drinking, listening to their constant bickering, my Mum’s bitching and bullying, and never knowing what kind of mood they’d both be in was making me physically and mentally ill and I was no longer prepared to deal with it.
I used to ring them every morning at 9am to check how they were and what they were doing that day, but I’ve stopped the phone call. If they need me they know where I am. My Mum still rings me most days for a chat, which is lovely, and initially I felt really guilty that I wasn’t checking up on them however I know that my step-brother rings most days anyway so I knew they weren’t being left in isolation. He needs to take more responsibility for them in any event and take some of the weight off my shoulders.
My Mum isn’t drinking anywhere near as much as she was, though she is still drinking. On Christmas Day I went there for lunch and she had a large glass of Baileys with her meal. Only the one, but even so. That she couldn’t not drink despite the fact she nearly lost her only daughter over her alcoholism saddens, but doesn’t surprise, me. The fact that my Dad had obviously wheeled her down the alcohol aisle at the supermarket to buy the Baileys also makes me sad – I have no idea where his backbone is in standing up to her (my Dad rarely drinks btw and had lemonade the same as me at Christmas lunch). I’m very conscious that there is now a large opened bottle of booze in the kitchen which is going to have to be drunk and where that will lead. I’m just letting them get on with it. They are grown-ups and it’s not up to me to tell them how to live. They are both aware of the consequences of their actions and have chosen drink over their relationship with me, a fact which I try not to be mortally wounded by.
I am still taking care of them, however – my conscience wouldn’t let me not because whatever their faults they are old, ill, vulnerable and my parents. I went with my Dad to his back appointment the week before Christmas and rang about his blood results. I also offered to take my Mum to her lung appointment on 29th December. Over Christmas I set their new broadband connection up, renewed Mum’s stairlift insurance and took their electricity meter readings. They physically couldn’t manage without me – I know it and they know it, and I think we both feel stuck in the situation.
I have loved not having to deal with them so much. I’ve felt relaxed for the first time in years and finally feel rested – I’d forgotten what that feels like. I still fight the guilt that I am not spending more time with them but then habits that have existed for years are hard to break. It’s been wonderful, though, to just be able to do whatever I like for a change and not have to think about them or work around their schedules.
So there we are. I have no idea what the future will hold because we’ve had some worrying blood results in respect of my Dad and if it turns out that he’s seriously ill everything will change so I’m just taking it a day at a time.
So my Christmas week was quiet and uneventful, just the way I like it. I’ve spent some time preparing a photography talk which I’m giving at Camera Club next season and trying out my new flash light in my spare bedroom but other than that I’ve just chilled. Saturday was sadly a right-off as I had one of the worst migraines I’ve had in ages, complete with awful dizziness and vomiting, and the headache and hangover from that is lingering today so I’m expecting a second day in bed being bored and a bit fed up but such is life. Tomorrow is another day. Nay, another year! I have told my Camera Club that I am going to try for my next photographic distinction, the DPAGB, in November so that’s my goal for 2018. I’m also facing a new battle with my insurance company and am opening a new case with the Financial Ombudsman next week. So the year already holds goals, challenges and endless possibilities and I am looking forward to every one 🙂 Happy New Year!