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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love among the Limits

I have been having a lovely visit with my Mom. She has in the last year become much more frail and this is sometimes difficult for me to observe and 'allow'. There is nothing that can be done to make her physically stronger. It has been many many years since she had any kind of physical exercise -- such as climbing stairs or walking down the street unaided. The reason for this is common to many people not only here in the U.S., but anywhere where the automobile has taken over our lives. Since I have  been here most of my exercise has been walking to and from the car. While it would be 'possible' to walk the mile or two to the grocery store, it would mean walking along a very busy highway that has no footpath. No thank you!

There is the difficulty of dealing with Mom's faltering short-term memory. The office here telephoned this morning to remind her that she needed to sign her new lease. I thought she had taken care of that a few days after I arrived. In fact, she had signed the wrong document and when I got back to her apartment I quickly found what they were looking for and she has signed it. That was about 90 minutes ago. Since then she has said to me, "I've signed that lease, haven't I?"

Until now she has taken care of her day to day expenses as well as paying her rent and signing her lease. But I realize that my siblings are going to have to be apprised of the situation and one of them, probably my brother, is going to have to take charge of over-seeing more of her finances.

Then there is the problem of her ankles -- especially her right ankle. For years and years she wouldn't 'bother' the doctor with it and now it's a mess and every morning at 5.30 or 6.00 an aid comes in and puts these pressure stockings on her, which are removed in the evening. She is supposed to keep her feet elevated as much as possible -- which she does -- when I remind her! And there are other issues. I dare not take her anywhere in the car where I do not have a 'pit' stop within a reasonable distance.

The most important thing for me to keep in mind that I am here to be with her and cater to her. So if plans go awry because we need to get back home that's O.K. We have been able to get out and about and we have had some very nice weather as well. We take what we can get and if she gets upset because she thinks she's let me down, it is easy to reassure her that my visit is all about her. In fact I have been able to do almost everything I'd hoped despite delays of a day or two.

Despite all her confusions and physical limitations, I am so fortunate to have a mother who is never quarrelsome, loves people, and adores her children. She still remembers most things and is happy where she is living and still wants to be fashionable and remembers to wear her 'lippy'! And on top of all that, her politics are just as left wing as mine!!! ;-)

28 comments:

  1. Hi, I just came over for a visit and I have to say that I totally understand what you are going through with your mother. Mine is nearly 96. She still lives on her own, but I am seeing the very same things you are seeing with your mom, and they are occurring for the same reasons. She doesn't get enough exercise and has not for years. Her memory is also just beginning to slip. It is such a worry because she live so far away from all of us.

    You are blessed that you have her, and that she loves you, and that you think so much alike. I hope your time with her is blessed.

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    1. Congratulations to your Mom still able to live on her own at 96. My parents moved into a 'retirement community' in 2004 and were very fortunate to find one that is not only suitable, but which my mother really absolutely loves -- and she doesn't hesitate to let anyone and everyone know how wonderful she thinks the place and the staff are. This is a great relief to her children because we know that she is getting excellent care when she needs it and all the independence she desires.

      Thanks so much for your visit. I've enjoyed visiting your blog as well...

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  2. You're so lovely with your Mum, Broad. I know, as you said, that the whole point of coming over was to be with your Mum and to cater to her wishes...but you do it with such love...makes my heart warm all over. Smiles - Astrid

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    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words, Astrid. I am very lucky to have such a loving family!

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  3. My Mother is still waiting for her doctor to O.K.her for long haul flights to come over to see us..but she has plan B.
    If he says no, she is going to get a laptop with a webcam and ask the brilliant young woman who mucks her out once or twice a week to set it up for Skype!
    We're lucky with our mothers...

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    1. That is wonderful Fly. I wish we could have convinced my mother to take more of an interest in computers. We really tried a few years ago, but she was just never comfortable with it. When my father was alive he learned to use email and loved being able to print and answer his mail -- and my mother would get him to write for her! This week while I've been here she has skyped for the first time and talked to her grandson and three great grandchildren in Korea -- and loved it. On the same day she saw once again for the first time since 1955 our French friend who called from France -- so it was quite an experience for her. So good for your Mom and I hope she does get the go-ahead to visit you in Costa Rica.

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  4. I went through the same experiences with both my parents. They lived half a content away, so I couldn't see them every weekend. They died, in their mid-90s a while ago — less than a year apart. My mom was very fragile for a long time. My dad walked the halls of the care home, until he broke his leg, which ended his activity, and (quickly) his life.

    You have gone through all the challenges most people face theses days, with aging parents (and teen-aged children at the same time).

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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    1. Well, my children are now grown -- the youngest will be 29 in May. It is hard though living so far away not only from my mother, but also from my children and grandchildren. It is such a blessing for our generation to be able to be in touch not only through the Internet but also relatively inexpensive air travel -- at least not prohibitive! But you know, as well as I, that there is nothing better than an in person bear hug!!

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  5. My eighty-seven year old mother is quarrelsome, argumentative, an expert on everything and practically a John Bircher when it comes to politics. I took her to her doctor last week and he said she was healthy as a horse and could live another twenty years. Yeah?

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    1. Oh, bless her! Even if it is a shame about her politics!! Oh -- bless you, too!

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  6. What a blessing it is to have your Mom so long -- and, despite the physical and short-term memory problems -- to still have a mother so loving and so with-it politically. That would be so wonderful. My parents both died at 66 and, with my 67th birthday yesterday, I became older than they ever got to be. It's a funny feeling. I greatly enjoyed sharing my Leftist views with my Aunt Molly who lived to be nearly 87. I hope I have the good fortune to live to a ripe old age and to keep a sharp mind and tongue politically speaking. But, of course, love is the most important part of one's family relationships. I'm so glad you're able to have a loving visit that's all about her. Each moment is so precious.

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    1. Indeed, we are all blessed to have her for so long. It is so wonderful to see how her grand-children all remember her and call and visit her -- just because she is so special to them and of course they are to her, too. We still have the best time talking politics -- her favourite birthday present this year was Rachel Maddow's new book 'Drift'!

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  7. I am so glad you have enjoyed your visit, whilst having been able cater for your mother's needs. I love your sensible and loving analysis of the situation, and am very envious. I hope I would have been as loving and understanding with an ageing mother. I do wonder what sort of old lady she would have been ( she died at 51) ....I'm pretty sure the left wing credentials would have remained in tact, and I love it that you know your mom is still sharp enough to know good from bad.... after all,what does forgetting about lease signing really matter in the scale of things.I hope the rest of your visit is as positive. J.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind remarks, Janice. It's not easy being patient all the time -- the same question several times a day can be trying -- but then I know that as a child there were no children more 'trying' than I was! My sister is now here with me and it's lovely to have a bit of a reunion going on for the rest of my visit.

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  8. It's very sweet of you to help her out--she sounds like a lovely person. I wish you both well!

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    1. Thank you so much, Amy. And I'm looking forward to reading your book when it comes out -- August, I believe.

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  9. I am glad you are having such a nice visit. Yes, we will all become old and frail one day and if we are lucky enough to live long enough in a good mental state I guess the best thing is to accept it. It's difficult when there's nowhere to walk, though, even when healthy. I wouldn't like that at all.

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    1. It always amazes me how quickly I feel out of shape again when I've not been able to get out and have a good walk into town and out and about.

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  10. Reading your post made me think of my mother who died aged 69. Sadly her mind had been deteriorating for about 10 years before she died, but this didn't become as apparent until my father passed away. It's good that your mother has support for her needs and that you are patient with her limitations.

    I miss being able to discuss politics with them also VERY left wing!

    Make the most of your time together and enjoy the remainder of your visit.

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    1. Fortunately, my mother's memory lapses are just 'lapses' and she knows who we all are and who she is and what's what with the world. My father had more serious problems of confusion in the years preceding his death where he didn't recognize or remember his grandchildren.

      Anyway, we are continuing to have a lovely visit and tomorrow it's Sunday lunch at her favourite restaurant with her two daughters, her son, and a grandson.

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  11. I'm so glad you are having such a lovely visit with your Mom, Broad. She sounds very like my darling mother-in-law, except for the politics. :-) She too is frailer after her fall, but still gets out and about as much as she can. Her memory is starting to fail and her sons take care of a lot of business for her now, but she is still as loving and as interested in her extended family as ever she was. We think ourselves lucky to have her, especially as my mother died many years ago at 66.

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    1. Not only does your mother-in-law sound like a gem, but she is indirectly responsible for our recent meeting -- as she lives in Southport and you were here to celebrate her birthday!

      Hope the weather in Scotland is improving -- looking forward to hearing all about your visit to that remote island!

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    2. Sadly, she actually lives in the Cotswolds - in entirely the wrong direction for our trips north. She was staying with my brother-in-law who does live in Southport and whom we often visit on our way to Scotland, so planty of chance for future meetings. :-)

      The weather is still chilly up here, but nowhere near as wet as further south and today has been sunny all day.

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  12. a lovely way to look at things!

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  13. A left-wing mom is a good thing. This post so reminded me of my own mom and how difficult it was to have her living in Sweden with me over here. She was just as lovely as you mom is and it was always fun to be with her. Once she told me she went to the eye doctor because she couldn't see well at all. Her glasses were OK, but the doctor advised her to be sure to clean them every day. They were just dirty! Then she would have something in her hand and before you knew it, it would be gone. And, no matter how hard we would look, often it would take days to find it. She was in a good place too that she enjoyed, but it was so hard to leave her. She has been gone for 25 years now, but she is still with me every day in my hear. I didn't mean for this to be about her, but I hope you can take some of it and feel reassured that you are doing all you can.

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    1. Inger, I just love hearing about your mother! It is such a wonderful thing to have such a darling as a role model and to remember every day in your heart.

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  14. G'day Broad. Lovely post. I am very sure that your mum loves having you with her and even though I have never met you, I can tell that you have a great heart. I work in a nursing home and have for many years and believe me, if some of our residents had a lovely daughter like you, they would be blessed. Enjoy every moment you have with her Broad.Take care. Liz...

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!