For years I have been trying to honor my mother, but it hasn't been without its bumps along the way. Growing up my mom was not the easiest person to get along with. She often yelled and screamed and even acted kind of crazy and jealous at times. Sometimes she said mean things to me and I felt like I was alone with no one to vent to. A few years ago I asked my Aunt (my mom's sister) if anyone ever thought that something was wrong with my mom. She didn't hesitate to say yes. Apparently the whole family thought that when she became sick as a child that it changed her personality into that of a she-devil. Looking back I felt that my mother may have had depression or maybe have been bipolar. So my dad was definitely the parent who I identified with more. I remember thinking one time on the way to visit my dad in the hospital that my greatest fear would be if my dad were to die and I would have to take care of my mom alone. Well my greatest fear became realized not too shortly later.
The relationship between my mom and I has definitely taken an interesting path. Since developing Multiple Sclerosis my mom's personality did a complete change. Now she is very mild mannered and sweet, most of the time. This was all caused by the plaques on her brain and spin. Yes, they have effected how she walks. She walks at a very slow pace with a wide stance. She has balance issues and is constantly scared of falling to the point that I often have to hold her hand while we are walking and I have to help her step down off of a curb. There are some other residual affects as well, but I will spare you the details. Sometimes I get mad at her because I feel like she doesn't try. She isn't into compromising. I feel like her body is deteriorating all because she is too scared to face her fears. I look at other MS patients who are in wheelchairs and have canes I look at my mom who has the capacity to do more but doesn't.
But the worst part of it all is her memory. Her neurologist says that is MS induced dementia. My mom has about a zero short term memory. When I give her instructions they have to be very basic or she forgets. She often cannot remember what she had for breakfast. She has trouble with knowing which clothes are appropriate for which season. The saddest part of all is that she has no long term memory either. She says she can remember some things, but I doubt that as well. She doesn't remember which high school she graduated from, her friends growing up, and at one point she even forgot which year she became married to my dad. The most hurtful of it all is that she can't remember my childhood. It makes me feel as if I have to hold on to my memory for each thought. And what is more scary is I feel like I am starting to forget parts of my past as well. Who can I go to to confirm?
I'm exhausted. It is hard to constant have to think for someone else. I am constantly trying to be three steps ahead of her and it is difficult. It makes me sad to think that this mother who raised me is no longer there. Our roles have reversed. For many years I have felt like a single mother, however without having used poor judgment. I feel guilty because I love my mom but sometimes I wish I didn't have to take care of her. I know a lot of people my age wouldn't if faced with the same circumstances. I true to do the right thing many times sacrificing what life I have. Sometimes I feel resentful, like she has lived her life and now she is ruining any chance I have to pursue my dreams and have my own family. I know she loves me. She tells me more now than I can remember growing up. She tries to take care of me when I am sick (with little success). And at times I get mad at her because I feel like she is trying to be a mother to me now when she wasn't much of a mother to me earlier. I can't share my inner most feelings and thoughts and have a normal mother-daughter relationship. I have felt like a long time I have been lacking that parental figure that I have so craved because I have had to grow up so fast and do so much on my own.
But on the other side I never feel good enough. I keep thinking that she gave me life and raised me and how can I ever compare to that? I never feel like I have done enough and it makes me sad that she has to struggle with me. And some days I can't even afford to do a nice thing for her like take her to the movies because I don't have any money. I feel like I went to school to make a better life for myself, and for her and we are worse off than before.
My friend did remind me of something. Despite the feeling of loneliness that I feel I am not totally alone. I have the support of friends and family that really do help a lot. Heck, I live with my Aunt and Uncle. Without them my mom and I would be living on the streets. And don't get me wrong, I am thankful, even though I know I don't show it as much as I should to both friends and family. However, I still feel overwhelmed and I still feel like in the end my mom is my responsibility.
But I try to honor my mother as much as I can. The truth is, now I can't even imagine if my life were another way. Deep down inside I know that taking care of my mom is part of my charge. They say God never gives us more than we can handle, but many times I feel like I am teetering on that edge of sanity. So as I am going on my purpose driven life I am trying to figure out how my mother and the responsibilities that I have for her will fit in. Surely, God would not give me a dream to pursue unless it fit in with making sure she is cared for right?