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AAAARGH~ Just wrote a huge long post and the anti-spam/sign in stuff ate it. First and foremost: know you are not alone! So many of us have been there, done that. Out here at the other end of the ether, from SkBkSkool-landia, we are sending hugs, light, and support. My mom cared for my dad, who was 20 years older than she, until just a few weeks before he died; I lived 3000+ miles away, so the burden fell on her alone (no siblings or other family near them). As a result, she did do some things right: had a power of attorney with me (only child) named, etc. But she was suspicious of everyone, at one point tried to revoke the POA but luckily the attorney realized mom's dementia was getting so bad so quickly that she was on the verge of not being able to accept instructions from mom because she was no longer mentally capable. We moved, well, *I* moved mom from California to Maine to assisted living. It was brutal. We moved EVERYTHING because she didn't want to sell anything, and it was imperative to get her moved within a matter of weeks because the decline was so rapid she might not have ben ABLE to make the move if I took the time to sell off stuff there. At the same time, our old son was in a teenage downward spiral, engaging in dangerous behaviors, etc. Since he and hubby/dad did not get along, that burden also fell on my alone. That meant our younger son didn't get enough attention from me, nor did hubby. Which led to further stress as our relationship went from difficult to worse. I don't know how I made it. At one point my husband said tell me when it gets beyond the point of bearing and I looked at him and said I passed that stage so long ago I can't even remember it. While under stress, your own memory and recall are garbage. I bought a composition notebook and wrote down EVERYTHING. Saved me many a time. After 3 years, mom died, and 11 days later the teenager moved out and started getting better. Unlike your relatives, mom wasn't very nice the first two years in Maine. She was difficult and unpleasant. She was probably afraid because she knew things weren't right in her mind, but refused to accept it. By the last year, she couldn't complete a sentence--she'd get lost after a couple words. Like a toddler, she could say she hurt, but not what or where or how. The Asst Living staff couldn't give her pain meds unless she asked, but she didn't know HOW to ask or even articulate that she hurt. She also was angry at her family for not calling her--she didn't realize they had been dead anywhere from 10 to 40 years. So I learned to tell her they were all fine, as good as they had been in years--all true! And that she'd see them soon enough (which if there is indeed an afterlife, is what she's doing now). During those 3 years, my career--which had been on an upswing--stalled as I didn't have time to make art, travel teach or write. Work faded, and I felt like I was going to expire. Once mom died, I could sell stuff off, close out accounts. I knew I was beyond stressed, and Iknew it would take time. In fact, it took nearly a year to begin feeling human again. Give yourself permission to be stressed, angry, sad, happy. Give yourself a chance, every four or six months, to play hooky. Instead of doing the chores and errands and whatever, take a day just for you. If that means staring at a wall, taking a bubble bath, not getting out of your bathrobe until 9 pm when you take a shower and put on fresh jammies to go back to bed, so be it! Eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting. Read. Push paint on a page, just give yourself permission to take a time-out for your own sanity. And to end this LONG post, I'll go back to the beginning. You are NOT ALONE. Vent. Cry. Paint. Share. Ask for help if you need it--and you will. Even if I only know you from SBS and the internet, as so many others do also, KNOW that we are here for you, sending hugs and light and support. Hang in there.
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Nov 16, 2012