The After-Birthday Fallout


The After-Birthday Fallout

domino-661758_640There are still many positives in my caregiving journey but I was really stunned by Elly's difficulties after celebrating her 95th birthday. The question still remains, Was this gradual and not as sudden as it felt or was it really that sudden?

The week after Elly's birthday brought some hard decisions on my part to keep her checkbook in my possession. I have to admit a lapse in my own judgement where I left it out in the open, unguarded for 1.5 hours and now it is lost again. Elly put it somewhere and can't find it.

In my childhood (until age 18) I watched my grandparents and Mom have arguments and it mostly had to do with control. They both wanted ultimate control, neither wanted to be wrong or patronized. With this kind of family history, I have dreaded exercising any kind of serious control over Elly. I don't have the stomach to live through those kinds of arguments that have the potential to drag up sludge from the past. That's what I meant by "waiting for the other shoe to drop." With my mom (and she learned it somewhere), I've lived with being given the "silent treatment" and being grilled about my past "sins" that somehow relate to the issue at hand but was really a deflection to avoid addressing the problem, owning the fault and going on. So far, in my caregiving Journey with Elly, we haven't had any sludge from my past or anything about my mom brought up.

Today, Elly has a way of deflecting, defending, and avoiding the facts or truth by coming up with a story that makes sense to her. I can sometimes see why she tells the story; there may have elements of truth in it but it always makes her "right." She is always the "good guy." I am aware of the confusion that exists in her brain because she really doesn't grasp what really happened. Although I am thankful that this is different than than what I saw in my childhood, I still feel like we are going to go down that slippery slope. The hurt of how the relationship has been broken between my mom and me and between my mom and Elly (her mom) just makes me shudder. It takes prayer and realizing how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father, my husband and my children to realize I have scars but those wounds have healed. The scars remind me that I would want to do whatever is possible to love Elly through whatever anger she may hold against me as I gently, firmly, guide her through her last years. Her daughter, my mom is not a part of our lives, not for the last 30 years. There may be another confrontation, but it will only be between me and my mom after Elly has graduated to heaven, if there is one. I can't change how Elly thinks but I want to be respectful and gentle in all my ways. I may lose it and have to vent any discouraging words or feelings so that I may continue on to do my best.

During the last two weeks, the decisions that seem big to me now are the taking away of the checkbook and finding a safe spot for her pill bottles. She has already adjusted to having her daily pills in the special container on the table but really argued against that plan vehemently! She was convinced that she could handle the weekly pill container. I continue not to take these outbursts as personal "pushback" on me. On the flip side, I like the way she is cheerful and lighthearted, able to make jokes in the midst of this confused and tangled Brain Fog. On the physical side, my young friend and her husband came over Saturday evening for dinner and games. Afterward, as they left, my friend turned to me and said, "Your Grandma is not well at all." I told her that she really has aged in the last month since they had been over. I recognize it but it really hit her hard. She's been one of the caregivers when we've gone out of town and has worked in care homes so she understands what she sees. We just smiled together.

About me, well, I am staying home sick today--sick from the smokey air which lead to upper respiratory infection--complete with antibiotics to help kick me into health! Yesterday would have been Elly's 75th Wedding Anniversary. I can never forget their anniversary, it's always the day before my birthday. Grandpa is waiting for Elly in heaven, tinkering with some perpetual motion device with some great heroes of the faith, I am sure!

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Your gentle soul, EG, must be such a comfort to your grandmother. You respect her while doing your best to step in to keep her safe. That's such a fine line to walk. \n\nSo odd how these declines just happen, isn't it? Was making it to that milestone--95!--keeping her going at her best? \n\nI hope you are feeling much better today. Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. :)


Thank You Pegi, we do need each other to share our strengths and our weaknesses! You are such a blessing to me!\n


My hope is that I will not grow old like my mother. I know there are ways in which we are alike. I can hold on to negativity too long. It really used to scare me and I still just hope and pray that I am more like my dad than my mom.\n\nYour relationship with Elly is much different than your relationship with your mom or your mom's relationship with her parents. That is what I had to remind myself. So, whoever I become when and if dementia or alzheimer's hits, I trust I will have given my children enough of the positive, loving mom to make up for who I may be when I'm old (or who I may have been from time to time!)\n\nHold on to all your positive memories of Elly and trust they'll outweigh the negative ones from your mom. And get well!