By George, I Think I've Got It!

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By George, I Think I've Got It!

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flowers-747206_640With the last week's session of Powerful Tools for Caregivers focusing on stress, I have been thinking about that a lot this week.

I keep thinking, why is this so stressful for me? Mom and I talked every day before she moved from Florida. She was my Girl Scout leader for 10 years, we camped together, did badges together, cooked together, the works. After she moved here, we would go shopping, I would go have lunch with them at the independent living center, it was just as I imagined it would be when she finally moved.

This week, I found the answer. Mom moved in two years ago. Dad passed away 3.5 years ago, she lived in the independent living center well after he died. I would pick her up on weekends and she spent the weekend at the house, but I took her home to sleep. We would garage sale together, go to lunch, shop and do all the things we missed out on when I moved away from Florida. Then, things changed. She had small strokes, her memory failed and she did not feel safe living alone. She said she thought it was time to move in with us. She picked the paint color for the room, we painted it and packed everything up and moved her in to our home. A woman moved in, slept in the room, ate meals with us, but it wasn't Mom.

My stress does not come from caring for my mom, it comes from caring for whoever this is that invaded my mother's body. I am a bit resentful that they took my mom away and left me with someone who will not cooperate. Someone who will be annoyed if I want an hour to myself. Someone who is displeased that I am planning to be away, alone, for three days for the first time in two years. Someone who silently fumes over things my Mom would have laughed about. Someone who does not carry on the conversations Mom and I would have about a host of topics. Someone who is sure she knows things that are totally inaccurate. Someone who is sure she could readily fend for herself and needs no help. Someone who grudgingly goes to daycare  while I get things done, and runs out of there like a shot when I come to pick her up, even though the staff tells me how much fun she had that day. Someone who can't tell me if she is cold, hot, hungry or thirsty, so I have to anticipate every need. My brain has to work for 2 people, because this someone is slowing losing her ability to think.

I need to remember that this stress comes not from Mom, but from this someone who I do not recognize. I miss Mom, but I will keep trying to take care of this someone the best I can.

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Jen

Thank you for sharing! That's exactly how I feel. At this stage of the game, I am lucky that I sometimes get my regular mom, but about 95% of the time, I get \"Post-Stroke Mom,\" which isn't her at all. Hang in there.

Denise

Thank you so much for sharing this, Sharon. I love when our bloggers share a though process because then we all can reach our ah-ha moments. \r\n\r\nIt's exhausting to think for two or three or more. (I think for my mom and my dad.) It's a delicate balance to think for them and to think like them. Meaning, I think for them to help them avoid poor decisions. But, I want to think like them so I make decisions they would. \r\n\r\nThank you for helping me understand that better. :)

jan

Sharon, you have expressed our dilemma perfectly. My mother is long gone. I can only approach what I do as \"a job\" I get up to do every day like any other job, and try not to feel emotion because the emotion is too hard. You said it all. Thank you. I especially appreciate how you said your brain has to work for two people. I never thought of it that way but you are spot-on. No wonder I get so tired so early in the evening; I've been thinking for two people. Now it makes sense.

Lillie Fuller

Oh gosh Sharon, I can sure relate to this having cared for my dad for 6 years. He had dementia. It's so hard to understand. Thank you for sharing. This is a wonderful post.