For the last few years, I have contemplated living with my mother for a few reasons, primarily financial since my boyfriend of 11 years left me and I lost my home. The other big reason is because my mother has suffered from diabetes for many years and could never get a grip on her diet.
I could never understand this – why she couldn’t change her thinking, choose better foods, cut out the starch. Then, two and half years ago as I tried to eliminate all the yummy foods out of my diet, I began to understand. I understood that we have carried some bad habits with us for decades and to retrain our thinking would not be an overnight matter. I understood that while my mother listened to my negative remarks about what she should not be eating, she really needed a support group. I understood that finances play a huge part in how we determine what we can eat, even if what we can afford is a misconception at times.
So, I began to dream that some day I would live with my mother, prepare all her meals, and keep her on a diet similar to mine. She wouldn’t have a fear of being alone because we would keep each other company when we were home together. My dogs would enjoy her company while I was working or out with my friends.
Well, that is not exactly what is happening right now. I never made the leap to live with my mother two years ago. While I was busy finding a new place for my son, my dogs and me, I put the idea on the back burner. I was nervous because my mother and I were never that close. I knew if I committed to a big change like moving in with her, it would have to be for the right reasons. I didn’t want fear of economic insecurity to push myself into something I would regret.
Five months ago, I lost my job and two days later, my mother contacted me and asked me to come over to help her. How did she know I had lost my job? I usually keep tragic events to myself – I don’t need my family helping me on the road to despair. She didn’t know. She actually needed my help, not knowing what day it was. She could barely move to walk to the bathroom. My guess was that she was sitting in her living room recliner for days without eating and barely getting out of it to function.
Being that I am on this new road to spiritual awakenings, I assumed the Universe had a plan for me. Every event had come down to this moment with me at my mother’s side. My sister and I pulled together to get our mother back on her feet. We found her diabetic medicine that she refused to take, we took shifts preparing her meals, administering her meds, and driving to different doctors to find a solution. We moved her to a new location closer to us, we received advice from home health, and moved her again – to a Board & Care home so that she could be monitored 24 hours a day. And why was I still unsure about making a move to live with her? At this point, I was living in the moment of today, handling whatever God had placed in front of me; however, was I not sure if being a 24 hour caregiver was for me.
My mother ended up in the hospital with a heart attack, not being able to move at all. Her body was more stiff than it had been in June. She would need lifting and more care than a person of my non-expertise could handle. Oh, and I have forgotten to mention my mom has signs of dementia. I thought it was early signs, but the more I learn, the more I realize that she is a lot farther than originally thought. She hallucinates, is irrational, thinks the world (including me and my sister) is against her, and believes that she can walk and cook just fine by herself. I can’t help but theorize that these symptoms accelerated as a result of her not being able balance her blood sugar levels.
A trip to the Skilled Nursing Facility for 3 weeks of therapy and now my mother was completely freaked out. She threatened to leave via taxi, and said she would rather live under a bridge. I am so thankful for the staff at the hospital and nursing facility because now my mother is back to being able to walk, even if it is as uneasy as it was in June. We couldn’t see taking her back to the Board and Care. She is not quite ready for a permanent nursing hospital. And am still unsure as to whether I can handle care giving for her.
This week, I took the leap to have her come stay with me. I am not quite in the best living circumstance myself, but I am back at a one day at a time perspective. My dream of being organized enough to prepare all her meals just the way I like them has been shattered by my inability to handle all gluten free, vegan cooking. My bread has come out sunken in and 5″ long. I have burnt sweet potatoes, sogged baked french toast, and prepared cauliflower pizza that looked more like a stir fry. On the positive side, I am getting really good at baking muffins – not the best food for a diabetic, sad to say.
I’m pretty proud of myself for making the leap to move her in with me finally. I will be on the search now for a new permanent living situation for all of us, dogs and college kid included. I remind myself that any action is better than none at all. If I take action for change, there will be no mistakes. If it doesn’t work, I will find another solution at that time and will have learned something from this experience.
More to come – I am still learning all I can about the toxins found in foods these days. My family thinks I am crazy but I must not care what they think of me. I have lots to learn and share with you.