Monday, August 16, 2010

At the Proverbial Crossroads

My life has been in turmoil and limbo lately; more-so after the visit with my mother around July 4th weekend. I've been wanting to blog about it but could not seem to press the "New Post" button to start the first word. Today I decided to start typing and see what comes out. So here I go (deep breath)...

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?!


Dee said...

My family went through similar questions when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. My sister had sold her company and moved to Hawaii (to be closer to our Father) three months before the diagnosis. She moved back to Louisiana, 6 months later our Mom was gone but she hasn't regretted it one moment.

There's just something about seeing your parents that ill, it just makes you want to take care of them.

Our Mom also wanted to have our little sisters remains moved, but eventually decided to buy a plot near her. My sisters and I love that we can go "visit" both of them at the same time.

I hope that you make a decision that works for you and your family!

Hula Girl at Heart said...

Hmm. Only you can make that decision. I help my husband take care of his ailing parents. He rarely gets help from his siblings. Our motto has been to do what we need to do in order to be at peace with ourselves when they are gone. My only suggestion would be to ask yourself, "What do I need to do to have serenity and peace of mind when she is gone?" I feel for you. It's extremely difficult to make these decisions.

Nadine, Chewy and Lilibell said...

Gail, this is a decision that only you can make yourself. And I agree with Hula Girl, the decision you make will need to bring you peace and happiness once she is gone. It is a huge one, but thankfully your husband is behind you in whatever you decide.

Hugs, Nadine

P.S. Just noticed on your Twitter that your ready for bed around 9:30. Sounds like me, lol! I once was able to stay up all hours of the night, now I'm lucky if I make it past 10:00 (and that's including weekend nights, haha). I think it's called "getting old!"

maricel said...

Hi, Pray for it, and ask God for guidance and wisdom.

Teresa Evangeline said...

When parents have debiltating diseases, they leave us incrementally and it's hard. I'm grateful for all those years I had with my mom, but the grieving process begins before they pass. Share whatever you feel like sharing and know we're here, supporting your process. You'll Know what to do...

Gail Dixon said...

Thank you all for your wonderful pearls of wisdom. Hopefully, I can make a decision soon. I appreciate you all caring enough to try to help. *big hugs to you*

Ghost Writer said...

As I browsed through your photos, I was drawn to this one. I saw your soul in it and as I read your words it suddenly made sense. I feel for your situation and I pray that God has since given you direction and will continue to do so. I loved the photo.