Posted 9/27/2007 7:34 AM (GMT -7)
Hi Linda, Hugs for you. This is a really bumpy road we travel. Taking care of any ill family member is a big job . . . but when we have a chronic illness to go with it, it is a real balancing act. I normally post on the Lupus Forum, but I lost my Dad in January (Alzheimer's) and I understand your frustration . . . You need to find the right balance of caring for yourself and making sure that you honor your Mom by being there for her on those days when you can. Bless your heart, of course she is going to ask about her dead sister . . . her brain is not functioning . . . she, no doubt, is aware sometimes of how "off" her brain really is. Dad was often conscious of that . . . he'd cry out "I just want to be a man again!". Sometimes all we can do is go along with whatever world they are in. If she talks about her sister, just join in the conversation . . . it is comforting to her. I tried not to lie to Dad, but I did indulge him in the world he was living in . . . He would tell me almost every visit that his mother died and then he'd begin to cry. This drove my mom batty (and mom is a candidate for sainthood) . . . but I started telling him "I knew your mother . . . she was a great lady . . . you took such good care of her . . . you went to visit her every chance you got" and Dad would open his eyes really wide and say "I did?" and I would tell him "Yes . . you were very good to her". This seemed to bring him great comfort and it was actually all the truth . . . but it was a dance we did most EVERY visit for a couple of years. You just find ways to work around their repetition and their confusion. Now, I could really understand if you don't travel with her because you likely have limited stamina and ability to manage her, physically, outside of the NH . . . but I can guarantee you that you will always be happy, later, for every minute you spend with her. Once they are gone, we can't go back and change things. I'm so glad you felt safe venting here . . . you have spoken for many people in your frustration and you have the added stress of chronic illness. Its hard enough to balance a normal day without adding the stress of an ill parent. I hope you'll find a good balance of caring for yourself and giving your Mom regular part of your time as well. Some hot tea for you sis!! Blessings!