“Getting it” is not always a good thing
I’ve hidden a lot from my mother. She knows this blog exists and she knows not to read it. Yes, she can if she really wants, but she knows if I warn her not to it is probably not a good idea (I did share my adult site with her, but that’s another story). She does not need to read some of the bad stuff, or even the day to day crapola that we all deal with, including me and Pearlsky. Life is tough.
She gave me a lot of my coping skills. Don’t get me wrong, dad is pretty great himself, … or was.
Dad was a college football player, I have a newspaper article calling him “Fleet Footed Smith,” which is cool. He was a fighter-bomber pilot. In a very bizarre twist of fate, one of his bombing targets, if he had been given the “go,” was a town from where a few of my closest friends are from. And he had nukes. He went on to be a top in the nation drug pusher, otherwise known as “Vice President for Domestic Distribution” for a very major drug company (he was actually the first person ever, anywhere, to sell Mylanta). In high school he made me take typing, knowing one day I would need it (way before computers, yes, I am old).
Two years ago dad had a stroke. Then another. Maybe throw in some small ones that we don’t know about. They manifest in his often being a bit confused, he has lost most concept of time and numbers. The “physical” effects are minimal, the mental ones are huge. This fleet footed nuclear bomber pilot big shot is, well, different. He cannot be left alone. Ever.
I am the only son, I have an older sister. Mom leans on me. We have always been close, that adore thing, you know? But why share all the stuff? She would feel bad for me or whatever. It would not add to her life, and I have other methods to cope (thank you, blog readers).
Mom’s been calling a bit more lately. Stories about dad. The calls end with her feeling bad for “dumping” on me. She asks if it is ok to tell me some of this … such as how dad got confused and lost in his absolutely favorite store on Saturday when he went to the men’s room, how when she found him he was with a young saleslady (of course) (I get some of that from him …) who was trying to help him answer the cell phone mom was calling on because he could not answer it.
I tell her it is fine, I tell her that’s why she had a son (!), I tell her to hang in there, I tell her how much I love her, to call anytime.
She was quiet. I said …
Mom, you do know I get it, right? Think about it, even that of which we don’t say, you think I don’t get it?
She responded …
My god, now I understand more than ever. I adore you.
I cried after we hung up. I wish she didn’t have a clue.
Yikes this brings back memories of my father who had comparable cognitive issues at the end of his life. His mental deficits broke my heart but I took great joy in caring for him. In retrospect I cannot express how good I feel knowing I helped my father when he needed it the most.
I don’t get it. And I’m not making a joke here, I really don’t understand.
WJPeace: And the guilt I have that I spend so much time and energy with Pearlsky that there is minimal if any left for my parents.
Ken: See what lack of sleep will do to you! My point is that I rarely discussed with mom (and we speak at least weekly) the difficulties with Pearlsky, sleepless nights, seizures, 24/7 care. Now she has different but similar issues with dad, watching him 24/7, giving all his meds (which he cannot remember or prepare), helping him with simple chores. She now has more of an idea of what my life has been like, what I have not been telling her. We have now connected on yet another level now that we both care for beloved, but incapacitated, individuals.
You explain things well in two different ways, SD. Helpful for me, too (glad you asked, Ken). But you lie, SD, in the title. Connecting with your Mother on another new level is really a good thing.