Posted by: Chloe | June 5, 2008

Breakdown

I bawled today in the car.  Out of nowhere came a flood of tears.  I tried to think of a different way to describe it besides flood.  Everyone uses that term.  First came a panic attack in my chest and then tears and I tried to suck them back in but I had no control.

NO CONTROL which makes me mad because I want to be able to control when I cry and when I don’t.  But not today so I bawled and did I feel better afterwards?  Heck no.

Posted by: Chloe | May 23, 2008

Who really cares?

When a death happens in your family, it’s sad but you really find out who really cares for you.   It’s been a few weeks and still no acknowledgement from my dad’s sister of my mother’s passing.  No card, no phone call, no offer to help and yet we see her several times a year.  No, there’s no excuse.  There have been times when I have made excuses for people’s behavior but this time, no.  She is just plain self centered.

She’s not the only one.  The week of the service, my step-mother (who had not acknowledged the passing yet) contacted my sister and I in an email asking if we had packed something from her car in our stuff accidentally when my dad came to help with the cremation.  Oh and by the way, I’m sorry to hear about your mother.  Is that etiquette?  To ask about something lost and a condolence in the same email?  This is a woman who will make a 3 course meal for someone’s mother’s sister in her church but never pick the phone up to see if my sister and I need anything?  No meal, no plant, no phone call.

NOW – do not think for one second I am a attention seeker or think people owe me or constantly want things from others when I’m down.  The problem is I RARELY ask for help, especially from my dad and step-mom.  So I have very LOW expectations of them and certain other people.  But after all this, it makes me question how bad would it have to be for them to step up to the plate?  Losing my mother I would think qualify.  And yes they are Christian so I do hold them to a different standard.  That may be unfair but that’s life!

BTW – an update.  We did receive a sympathy card the following week from my step-mom.  A card just doesn’t do it with a situation like this.  And she wonders why our relationship is not better.

Posted by: Chloe | May 9, 2008

The ceremony

We had a small service today at a park my mother use to frequent as a child.  We buried her ashes in a location she had requested long ago before the service.  A private moment with just us.  Family came I had not seen in years.  It was hard because several of those same people had witnessed my mother’s down fall, even witnessed her abuse towards my and yet never said a word to confront my mother.   Yet there were ones who did love my mother…just not sure how to help her so they stayed away. 

I’m thankful for my church family.  Many took off from work or rearranged their schedule to come.  People I’m not that close to but wanted to support me.  My best friend held my hand as it shook and I sucked back the tears.  If I broke down it would have not stopped and I had to get through this ceremony.  My sister nor my mother are Christians so there was a slight debate over what my pastor would say but assured my sister he would stay within what my mother would have wanted.  My pastor only met my mother once but he did a wonderful job.  I did ask him to present the plan of salvation but to not attach it to my mother.  He did that and his speaking flowed. 

I talked with family members and laughed occasionally with others but inside I was dying.  And then it was over.

Posted by: Chloe | May 7, 2008

Obituary

Did I ever know how much trouble a dog-gone-it notice in the paper was going to be?  I’m mad…made at the paper, mad at the funeral home, mad at my sister and anyone else in my path at the moment AND I’m not even the one handling this task!

My sister is barking and yelling at me.  She’s crying and furious because I questioned why they paper won’t run an obituary. Once again I ask a question and it’s met with fury! It seems that our hometown paper is horrible to deal with. Because we are not planning a service with the funeral home (4 hours away) that cremated my mother, it seems we have a mess. Papers require the funeral home to give them the obituary so we have to get even the death notice signed off from the funeral home and then have them fax it to the paper. So my sister goes through all this because there was a misunderstanding about whether we wanted to pay for an obituary or how much it cost. It seems she got the death notice approved which is free but if we want more, the paper will make her jump through all the hoops again.

So no obituary, just a 3 line death notice.

Posted by: Chloe | May 6, 2008

The cremation

After mom’s passing yesterday, we headed to a funeral home.  The nurse I first talked to when I called before coming, gave me a list of places to call.  We called and then just picked.  Mom’s wish was to be cremated.  The funeral director make some calls and actually got her cremated last night which is so unusual.  Did you know that cremation can take 3-5 days with all the paperwork involved and schedules of the funeral home and crematory?  We picked up the ashes this morning and headed over to the shelter where she moved to from the treatment place.  As my younger sister stayed stoic and business minded, I broke down inside moving the boxes of mom’s stuff.  We decided to leave all the clothing so they could use it for other people at the shelter.  What use would it do us to bring it back home and then donate it? 

I’ve shed harder tears the past two days than any time during my life.  I’m sucking back tears other times.  I’m sucking in my emotions because I have to get through this.  We still have a long week ahead of us and although I want to mourn (I don’t even know what mouring is to me) I can’t. I have to suck it up and deal with getting through this.

Posted by: Chloe | May 5, 2008

Passing

She passed away today:  May 5, 2008

 

Posted by: Chloe | May 5, 2008

Restless night

We head back to the hospital today.  Sleep did not come nor go well.  I am thankful my sister and I are not fighting.  We enter the room and meet a different nurse.  A few moments later, a doctor comes in and says he will meet with us regarding mom’s condition.

We move to this little room with 4 medical people.  A nurse, resident and two doctors.  One of the doctors was the one that admitted mom late Friday night.  She explains that mom came in unable to breath and was panicking.  The doctor asked mom several times if she wanted to go on the breathing machine.  It was a difficult decision because my mother is against anything related to life support including being incubated.  The doctor stated that mom stayed quiet a few minutes thinking the situation over and then agreed to be incubated.  After much conversation my sister and I including the admitting dr. came to the conclusion that the only reason mom went on the machine was she probably thought it would be temporary and would be fine once she got her breathing under control.  She had been on a breathing machine before but not incubated.  If she had any inclination the situation would have ended up where we are today, I truly believe she would have laid there and died in the ER. 

Mom was adamant about DNR on file and never ever letting a machine keep her alive.  The situation is explained to us that although mom can stay on life support her quality of life will not be the same.  This is a huge factor in our decision because mom would say let me go then.  The can do a trac with a breathing machine hooked to that and she be moved to hospice.  But because of the damage in her lungs and other parts of her body, she only has 6 -12 months to live.  Even with the trac nd other advances in medicine, nothing will cure her this point.  Nothing will correct the problem – the damage is too far gone.  Breathing machines can only be used down the throat for so long before that damages the throat which is the reason for the tract.  As we are sitting there, my sister and I realize that if we do that for mom, she will wake up furious and will stay that way for the remaining months she has to live.  The dr. confirms what we are thinking – she’s dying.  We can remove all the tubes and see if it’s God’s will for her to continue living on her own or we can prolong her life, pain and misery for a few more months.  Keeping her alive using machines would be for our own selfish reasons.  So we make the decision together and we wait.

I could write out all the details of the waiting and experience with the tubes being removed.  That mom woke up constantly when the tubes were in trying to pull everything out although she was on a high dose of pain medicine BUT that when everything was removed and the average person wakes up at this point, our mom relaxed her face, stopped struggling and fell asleep.  She remained that way until an hour later she passed.  And that hour seemed like a second one time and a day the next.  It passed in slow motion and I crumbled along with my sister.

Posted by: Chloe | May 4, 2008

The call continued…

I trackdown the number to the hospital and after several holds, I get transferred to ICU.  a nurse answers and informs me that yes, my mother is in critical condition.  I press her for more information but she states she can’t discuss a patient’s medical condition over the phone.  I explain my mother’s reason for being in that city and that I live hours away.  She then quietly says, if it were my mother, I would get here as quick as I could.  I say thank you and hang up. 

I call my sister and within an hour, she’s packed and at my house for us to leave.  My husband hugs me and tells me it will be okay AND we are off.

Posted by: Chloe | May 4, 2008

The call

Nice Sunday afternoon and as the phone rings, I know it’s probably my grandmother calling to catch up but it’s not, it’s the shelter where mom had been living the past month.  The lady asks is this “Chloe”?  Has the hospital called you about your mother?  I hate to admit it but I didn’t have oh no she’s sick moment.  I had the “what now!” moment.  No, the hospital has not called.  The lady continues to say that mom got taken to the hospital early Sat. morning and that they were suppose to call us.  I say okay, thanks and hang up.

Posted by: Chloe | March 5, 2008

A new place

Mom moved into a new “shelter” type place.  It’s a long-term facility that (statement from their website), “provides permanent and transitional housing for adults not capable of completely caring for themselves due to mental illness, physical or intellectual disabilities, or age.  The XXXXXXXXX Home provides safe housing, nutritious meals, and medical stabilization programs that include activities to enhance essential life skills regardless of ability to payost are on disability

She told me she had applied for disability.  She plans to stay in this facility and seems happy.  But I don’t know what to think because she always seems happy at first.  I admit I’ve been frustrated with her lately and really don’t say much when she calls.  She rarely asks about my life except how are the kids.  I feel like we’ve failed because she left the treatment facility and it appears that she thinks she’s healed.

Posted by: Chloe | February 20, 2008

Another place

The saga continues…mom calls to say she has found another place to go to.  I know she’s hurting.  In the previous calls, I never offered her to come live with me or my sister.  I guess she knew not to ask. 

Anyway, the center has helped her find a permanent place she can move to.  It’s a facility that houses people with disabilities or health problems that have no where else to go.  People who have no family or their families won’t take them, they can live at this facility.  It’s kind of like a dorm house and is supported mostly by donations.  Mom will apply for disability and pay a small percentage to the facility to continue living there.  I think it’s 4 women to a room.  I’m thankful she had found the place and is comfortable with the situation.  She doesn’t have many rules to live there except for a curfew.  She’s not required to attend meetings or hold down a job.  I really don’t know everything about it but I’ve had friends praying for her and I believe God led her to this facility even though she doesn’t believe in those things.

Posted by: Chloe | February 19, 2008

Leaving the center?

She calls again and it’s true…they have asked her to leave.  I’m I don’t even know what.  It’s not anger, perhaps exhausted with the situation.  Mom says they are going to kick her out and we need to come get her immediately.  I can’t believe they would do that so I tell her I need time to think of what to do and I’ll call her back.

I call the center and get her new case manager.  No, they are not going to kick her out but she does need to leave soon.  It seems that she has spent more time in bed sick than participating at the center.  Especially in January.  I understand although it irritates me.  The center knew her medical problems.  They knew the damage she had to her body due to smoking for 40 years, drinking and not taking care of herself; yet they accepted her.  The lady explained they had other people on a waiting list and mom was not fulfilling the program requirements.  She also said they would give mom a bus ticket to anywhere she wanted to go.  I should have screamed and fussed the center out but i didn’t.  I had an inking this would happen.

I prayed that mom would finish the program but knew deep down she wouldn’t.  When I call her back, she states again we need to come pick her up so that she can come live with her mother (my grandmother).  I tell her that’s not an option and she gets so angry.  I tell her fine, call my grandmother and ask her.  I slam the phone down and immediately dial my grandmother before mom can reach her.  I’ve been discussing the situation with her since mom’s first call but I let her know to be prepared for mom’s call to ask to live with her.  I feel guilty doing this but mom can not come live near us.  My grandmother is not in the greatest health and it would be my sister and I taking care of my mom.  The whole thing is a mess. 

My grandmother calls me back after she talks to mom and she’s crying because she says mom begged to come live with her but my grandmother had to tell her no.  I can’t imagine having to tell your own child they can’t live with you.  I call mom back and she’s upset but she doesn’t want to talk about it.  She says there is no where for her to go except shelters.  Before I can say more, she hangs up on me.  Once again I’m calling the center and they tell me that there are other places she can go to and will not kick her out on the streets.

Posted by: Chloe | February 17, 2008

Mom’s leaving the center?

It can’t be.  It’s been a long week already and I’m not prepared for her phone call.  They usually always come on Sundays and this time it’s before church.  She never asks how we’re doing.  She has no concept of my life or obligations I have. 

She’s calling to tell me the treatment center has asked her to leave.  Mom claims it’s because they are having budget cuts and they don’t think she can finish the program.  I sit and listen to her go on and on.  She tells me she’ll call me back later in the week when she finds our for sure.  I know I should call the treatment center but  I don’t feel like and perhaps she’s just trying to push my buttons to see what I’ll do.  I’ll wait on her next phone call.

Posted by: Chloe | January 26, 2008

Treatment Center update

Mom keeps putting us off for coming to visit.  When she phoned the other day, I asked her about moving to Phase 2 but she said the center has changed the phases.  She’s been upset that they changed case managers on her also.  I think she’s struggling more now than ever before  It seems the center has some budget cuts and had to let 1-2 of the staff go – one happened to be mom’s case manager.  I can’t ever believe everything she says though.  Sometimes she turns things around so that she looks like the victim or the person got the raw deal from their employer. 

Mom’s also telling me they are not getting her all the medicine she needs but again I don’t know what to believe.  I’m going to call the center and verify what she’s telling me. 

In the meantime, I try to encourage her to stay positive and be thankful for the center.  They have treated her well and given her counseling she’s needed for years.   But she’s not feeling that way.  She believes she’s conquered all the pain and problems from all these years.  I think she’s just barely scratched the surface.  My mother is extremely manipulative and very smart.  It amazes me to this day how she can get someone to change their decision or think something totally different of her than they originally thought. 

I don’t think she’s healed.  She’s only been there 3 months.  I think all the socializing, groups, chores, rules, AA meetings, counseling meetings and other restrictions are getting to her.  It’s like she’s a caged animal and can only deal with being caged for so long.  She is so against authority.  I’m starting to worry but i don’t tell her that.  I point out all the good things she’s learning and that the center will help her get a place of her own once she finishes and a job that she can handle.

Posted by: Chloe | January 5, 2008

About mom again

I talked to Mom the week of Christmas.  She’s doing okay.  She’s had a few setbacks with colds and other medical problems since the weather got cold.  I do feel for her because she’s in poor health.  She says the center is providing her with medicine to try and quit smoking.  I’m not sure she’s quit completely and I know that she has lung damage.

She was without a job for about a year prior to going to the center.  Mom was very smart but over the years she had less and less motivation for a career.  She didn’t care about her living situation.  She had not owned a house since her and my dad divorced which was about 25 years.  It’s like she worked to just barely survive. 

Mom never kept many friends.  She was a loner and a hermit even when she partied a lot, she usually only had 1-2 close friends.  Friendships would end and she would not pursue them.  She would just move on to another close friend.  The past year, she stayed inside of house the majority of the time.  We tried to get her to come visit her mother when I was there with my children but she rarely did.  Many times I offered to fill her gas tank and she still would not come.  For years she had stayed away from any family celebrations.  I can remember her disliking family reunions and other gatherings since I was a child.

She believed those people did not really care about her but she never gave them a chance.  True, some of them never called her but there were ones that did try to call or come by her house.  Many times she would pretend like she wasn’t home and not answer the door.

After being divorced more than 25 years, she still could not stand my step mother and because of it you never knew if she would attend a celebration I hosted because I always invited everyone.  Years before she had asked me to have separate parties but I felt I couldn’t.  My dad and step-mom had pushed past all the drama, I felt my mother could do the same.  But that was my mother, she held grudges for longer than anyone I have ever known.

I use this blog to write my true feelings.  At times I feel like asking you as the reader to not judge me and think I’m horrible for the things I say but I don’t care because I created this to say what I want and feel.  I love my mother very dearly.  I’ve prayed for her many years.  I have forgiven her for the things she did to me and things she did not provide.  But I do have scars and hurt.

Posted by: Chloe | December 17, 2007

A good memory recalled!

I can’t believe I forgot this.  One year for Easter we woke up to my mother presenting my sister and I with a puppy.  I’m shocked I forgot this because we loved that dog.  Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with mom’s situation and become angry that I forget what’s in front of me. 

That puppy she gave us was one of the few gifts I ever remember receiving fromher.  We named the dog BINGO and he died about 3 years later.  I remember I could ring the bell on my bicycle and BINGO would come running through the neighborhood.  I haven’t thought of him in a long time.

Posted by: Chloe | December 15, 2007

What’s my mother like?

Mama couldn’t have visitors the first month and we decided to wait until after Christmas to go visit her.  She has started calling though and I have to be tough with her on the phone.  She thinks I don’t care I guess or perhaps she doesn’t think at all what I think.

My mother’s father passed away when she was a child so she and her brother were raised by just their mother.  To hear my mother’s side of the story, it was a horrible childhood but after doing research on our family years ago, much of my mother’s stories don’t make sense.

Part of the problem is my mom lies, a lot. She exaggerates and turns stories so that she’s the victim.  I’m told that she was a good mother when I was a baby but it’s hard for me to believe that because from the time I could remember, she has always been mean.  I rarely remember her being nurturing, affectionate or loving towards me.  She yelled most days, was physically and verbally abusive.  She was selfish and although she made sure we had a roof over our heads, she did not give much more.  I’ve had people tell me that surely there was some good I remember and I have tried.  I’m sure there are brief moments where we laughed or she showed love but all the bad shadows those brief moments that it’s hard for me to remember. 

It’s extremely hard for me to have pity on my mother NOT because of her meanness towards me BUT because of her ongoing refusal to accept responsibility.  I forgave her long ago but she frustrates me to no end with her denial of how she raised my sister and I AND how she thinks she did nothing wrong.  It frustrates me that she wants everyone else to take care of her.  AND the worst part, she blames it on her childhood that she’s the way she is. 

I’ve heard how my grandmother worked hard to put food on the table, that she took my mother to girl scouts and piano lessons.  That from a young age my mother was difficult and not happy.  That when my mother was 16-17 she left school and took off for California.  She finally came back and married and then divorced the guy in about a year.  My mother never shared any of these memories.  We learned them from family members.  All her life she has kept secrets, never wanting to be close to anyone.

Posted by: Chloe | December 10, 2007

A letter from her

She mailed a gripe letter this time.  She never thanks any of us for the help we gave her.  She doesn’t acknowledge anything we did.  Previous letters described the experience at the treatment center:

The women have to go through GED classes.  Craft day is scheduled once a week.  They rotate chores weekly within each residence.  She has to meet with her case manager almost daily.  She hates the cooking rotation and meal planning.  In fact I think she hates everything because my mother probably feels like a caged animal.  She HAS never liked authority nor anyone else planning her day to day activities.

Since they’re not allowed to have a car, they rely on public transportation but they are limited as to where they are allowed to go.  EVERY morning after breakfast, all the women have to meet at a nearby track and walk for so many miles or I guess an alloted time.  The center told us about these requirements beforehand.  It’s partly why they were concerned about taking mom because she was in such poor health and the exercise is a requirement to graduating from the program.  I agree with them.  They are trying to do everything to get her off smoking.  Her medical is covered and she’s required to attend AA classes. 

She complains about how busy they keep her and that most of the women are a lot worse than her.  That my sister and I should be thankful she never did some of the things the other women did.  My mother has also considered herself higher than many others over the years.  She felt that since she didn’t for example shoot up drugs, than no way could she be as bad as a person addicted to drugs.  But this is a woman who won’t admit to verbal and physical abuse to her children.

Posted by: Chloe | November 24, 2007

She’s fine…

She’s been sending letters about every 1-2 weeks.  Mom goes back and forth on saying whether she likes it or not.  We couldn’t talk to her the first few weeks and we sent her a calling card.  She talks about improving herself and the classes she takes but she still goes on about the past.  She continues to write about things that have caused her to be on this path but none of the words include her responsibility or choices to drink all these years.

She had a good Thanksgiving. All the women helped cooked and they gathered at one of the 4 or 5 houses the treatment center puts the women.  A local church donates clothing and other things to the women.

Mom’s birthday was this month.  She turned 58.

Posted by: Chloe | November 15, 2007

Better…

Give everything time and it will usually get better. Pray and seek the Lord, and He will give you peace!

I withdrew from everyone and most everything in order to get back on track. I tried to pull away from God and yet He wouldn’t allow it.

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