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Where Have I Been?


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It's been a long time since I stopped by to visit on Ex-C.  I swing through and read a few posts now and again but I rarely post any more.  I can't say exactly when or why it became so difficult to find the time but somehow it has.

 

I've spent a lot of time over the last year and a half dealing with family issues.  In fact, caring for my mom and dad took over a huge portion of my life starting in March of 2014 when I noticed they were starting to have difficulty managing their own affairs.  Up until that point,  I visited with them almost every weekend and I usually brought in lunch while I was there but during the week my life was busy with work, dinners with friends, and other normal activities.  My all encompassing involvement with mom and dad started off simply when I asked them if they had their affairs in order regarding wills, living wills, health care surrogates, etc.  I helped them select an attorney and drove them to several appointments.  It was my introduction into their financial affairs and quite frankly I was shocked at how little they had in savings and how ill prepared they were for their 'twilight' years.  Much to my dismay I discovered that for many years other family members had been taking advantage of their kindness and that their savings had steadily dwindled.

 

I spent innumerable hours helping them and trying to figure out a solution to their living situation (ALF? Independent Living?).  I spent hours doing paperwork to increase their income through the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.  I did their grocery shopping, paid their bills, drove them to doctor appointments, scheduled home health aides, and on and on and on.  During this time, I received very little help from my one able sister and in fact, she made things as difficult as she could.

 

My dad's physical health was deteriorating and my mom's mental health was becoming a serious issue.  One funny incident that occurred during this time involved my mom's desire for my dad to be baptized.  She had nagged him about this for as long as I could remember and at one point during my church attending days she told me that my dad's salvation was in my hands!  She felt as if I would have more influence over him than anyone else as I was his favorite daughter.  Anyway, as she nagged him during the final months of his life he would get upset with her and one day, knowing full well that I am an atheist, she asked me to pray for her to help her stop nagging him about it.  Oh, the irony!  smile.png

 

In October of 2014 my mom was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (a hideous disease) and in early December she had a psychotic break and had to be hospitalized.  My dad died on December 22nd.  Since my dad's death, my mom has been living in a nursing home and I am hoping to move her to a memory care unit sometime in the near future.  I still spend a lot of time caring for her and I also spend a fair amount of time caring for one of my sisters who is old before her time due to liver failure.

 

Other than to whine a little bit (who doesn't like to whine?) and to explain why I don't hang out as often as I would like, there is a point to this sad tale!  I seriously cannot tell you how thankful I am that I am an atheist!!!  I cannot explain exactly why, but my life is so much fuller, and happier, and more peaceful since I gave up the god delusion.  I feel as if I am much stronger and better able to handle my dad's death and my mom's mental collapse without having questions regarding my dad's eternal punishment and wondering why a merciful god would let my mom suffer this way.

 

And, quite frankly, if I am being honest, I take pleasure in the fact that friends and family know that of all the family members, the heathen is the one that spends her time and energy caring for her mom while the good christian daughter is nowhere to be found.

 

If you got this far, thanks for reading!  I know it's a long post but it felt good to type it.  Hopefully, I can squeeze in some time here and there to visit and post.  It's been so long since I've done so that I feel like a stranger, but never fear...  I'll be back!

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Hey noob - I'll be dealing with this with my own mom sooner than I like to think about, so you've given me some idea of exactly what to think about and look for.  Stay strong - I hope if that's not always possible then you at least have someone you can be weak with from time to time.  My thoughts and best wishes are with you.

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I've been through both parents' illnesses and deaths, and it is much easier as an atheist.  My parents were agnostics, as far as I knew, and it was good to be able to put my efforts into being with them and helping as best I could and taking care of what needed to be done, rather than worrying about what would happen after they died.

 

Of course, parents being ill and dying is still horrible and not ever easy.  Just that one thing was easier.  I empathize with what you've been through.  Sending {{{hugs}}}.

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Thanks for your kind responses, bdp and amateur!  My heart goes out to both of you.  Unfortunately, bdp there is no way to really prepare for or fully understand the impact of "elder care" until you are actually dealing with it.  I had no idea how all consuming it would be.  And, amateur I am sorry to hear that you have had to deal with the death of both of your parents.  Some people seem sad to think that there is no after life and no hope of seeing a family member again some day.  But for me I felt nothing but peace knowing that my dad was no longer suffering and that I did not have to feel concerned that he never accepted JC as his lord and savior.  He lives on in my heart and that is enough.

 

As far as the time and energy I pour into my mom's care, I want to make sure that I point out that it's not all bad.  Yes, it takes up a lot of my weekend time (and often my weekday time as well) but there are good times and funny moments!  I love the fact that she lights up when I walk into the room.  wub.png   We spend time feeding the fish and turtles out on a little dock behind the nursing home and we simply enjoy each other's company.   With her dementia she is not always aware of time and place, she usually does not remember that my dad died, and she frequently wants to go home.  Those moments are sad.  However, she has a very active imagination and her stories are extremely entertaining.  She will tell me things like, "It's all going down at 10:00 tonight!"  Or, "Call me when you get to your friend's house.  Let the phone ring three times, and then hang up!"   smile.png  I have no idea where these things come from, but I just have to laugh!

 

She called me a little while ago and asked why she hasn't heard from me in a month...

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All those little memories of being with her and feeding the turtles and enjoying the things she says are things you'll never forget, and things that your sibling who isn't there to help will never have.  You'll have lots of sweet memories, and bittersweet memories, and some really sad memories, but you'll never regret having spent that time with your mom.  I know it's also exhausting, both mentally and physically, but in the end, it's worth it.  

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Thanks, buffettphan!  It feels good to be here.  yellow.gif

 

All those little memories of being with her and feeding the turtles and enjoying the things she says are things you'll never forget, and things that your sibling who isn't there to help will never have.  You'll have lots of sweet memories, and bittersweet memories, and some really sad memories, but you'll never regret having spent that time with your mom.  I know it's also exhausting, both mentally and physically, but in the end, it's worth it.

 

This.  This is why I do it.  Thank you, amateur.

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I'm always glad to hear someone in a difficult situation like yours say that they're glad they are an atheist. It is difficult to watch my older siblings get even more religious as they get older, reverting back into childish delusion when the exact opposite should be happening. Atheism helps you deal with and accept reality, especially the hard reality of the death of a parent or a child. Religion gives you the excuse to not accept reality, making death harder -- not easier -- to accept or understand. 

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 there is no way to really prepare for or fully understand the impact of "elder care" until you are actually dealing with it.  I had no idea how all consuming it would be.  And, amateur I am sorry to hear that you have had to deal with the death of both 

Hey girlfriend! Good to see you on the board although I wish you were posting about winning the lottery instead of the sadness and exhaustion that comes from of taking care of our elderly loved ones.

 

I just helped my MIL die in my home in the last year. And I did everything in my power, no matter how tired I was to make her last days as pleasant as possible. But...it did take everything out of me so I totally understand how hard a job like this is. You are a wonderful person to do this noobie. I also felt it was a little easier being a non-believer doing this job because I would have (again) been soooooo furious with 'god' for allowing his creation to die a slow, degrading death like she did. To watch a  woman such as my MIL (she was such a 'lady') go from being a golf champion to not remembering her son's face and literally pooping on the floor and wearing diapers was horrible. At least I didn't have the rage inside of me thinking this was supposed to be 'god's plan'.

 

She is so lucky to have you hun. You are an angel. You are an 'earth angel'. If you ever get that you need someone to talk to, you call me anytime sweetie. Anytime. I will be there for you. Hang in there and take one day at a time. I give you the biggest hug today. What you are doing is amazing. Like florduh used to tell me...''now go and have some fun today''. Heed our friend's advice and take lots of time out for you. Get as many laughs in the day that you can. It really does help.

 

 Love you sweetie. 

 

(((hughughughughughug))

 

cats-hugging.jpg

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"Atheism helps you deal with and accept reality..." Blood, I couldn't agree more!

 

Margee, I know how much you went through with your mother-in-law and how difficult it was for you when she died. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and support! (And thank you for that adorable cat picture!!!) Honestly, I do take time to do things with friends and I take time that I need for myself. I know that I have to have balance in my life or I won't be able to be there for my mom when she needs me. Once I move her to the memory care unit life should be much simpler as she will be a lot closer to me so I can pop in for brief visits during the week and I won't feel as if I have to spend hours and hours with her every weekend. Also, they will handle her laundry which will be a huge relief for me since I take her clothes home to wash every Saturday and return them every Sunday. But the best part about the move is that I think she will be happier and more relaxed. It is a much smaller facility with staff trained in memory care. She will benefit from seeing fewer people throughout the day. She gets very confused right now and quite frankly some of the CNAs scare her for various reasons.

 

Anyway, thank again for responding! It's good to be here again and I will try to keep up as time permits. :-)

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