Monday, August 16, 2010
At the Proverbial Crossroads
It's painful to go home and watch my once vibrant mother struggle to complete the simplest tasks we all take for granted. Rarely do I hear her complain, and even when she does she'll say, "This is really the pits, you know?", as she struggles to sit in her favorite chair.
Parkinson's is an insidious thief that robs you of your life one tiny segment at a time. One day you think you're fine, perfectly capable and in charge, wondering what all the fuss is about. A few months, years down the road and you're now shuffling your feet, no longer able to make them go briskly across the room. She's had this for over 20 years after all, so it's taken that long to get to this point. Twenty years of various levels of struggling, not knowing exactly what day you will wake up and no longer be able to function.
Her goal these last couple of years is to have everything in place for when she can no longer do anything for herself. She's made me financial and medical Power of Attorney, she's put me on her bank checks, taken me to see her financial broker. Last week she decided to make a will. She said that even though I'm an only child, she wants there to be no question.
The other big, looming issue was my sister's remains. She had talked of moving my sister into the mausoleum where she plans to be interred. The thought of digging my sister up caused me extreme distress. I really could not discuss this with her without crying. She let the matter drop, then a few visits ago she calmly stated, "I've decided that Dee shouldn't be disturbed. If no one paints or cleans her grave or puts flowers on it, so be it."
"Oh, mama, I'll do it! Or I'll find someone who can! Don't worry!"
But something told me she is not really worried because she knows Dee is not in that grave anyway, that she will be joining her soon. Maybe she's looking forward to it. Is that possible?
The type of planning my mother is into these days is extremely difficult for me to listen to, but strangely she doesn't seem to get overly emotional. My mother is a planner and this is definitely in line with her personality; wanting to make sure that after she's gone all is in its proper place.
Sometimes I think it would be better for a loved one to just drop dead suddenly of a heart attack than to deal with slow death for 20+ years. But maybe I should look at this as a gift, a way to strengthen the bond with my mother which has had a sometimes rocky history.
My dilemma is...should I move there and take care of her in her last days? Should I sell my house here in Texas, leave my children and go? Do I leave my job of 22 years and start over? Double D has said he wants to move there, but I worry about the economy in Louisiana and how his business will fare there. I keep hoping that God will show me, that He will give me a sign or something. What should I do?!