Living life without regrets

Feb 04 2015 Published by under Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Uncategorized

On the tweets this morning:
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With older parents we must have "difficultdiscussions." What do you do when your parent says, "fuckyou, I don't want to think about it."

— Doctor_Strange(@StrangeSource) February 4, 2015

  I've been there. My father died about 4 years ago at the age of 91 and a half. As he used to say, the half is very important to the old and the young. My mother is still alive, in end stage Alzheimer's and just turned 89. She is in a place where she is safe, and well cared for. I could not take care of someone who need 24 hr care. But getting to this point was hard. I did most of the work, and spent long hours resenting my brother and sister.  I lived near my parents, my sibs did not. In fact, I took a job nearer to my parents (lots of other reasons to, but this was one) about 10 years before my father died, at the point when it was clear my mother had dementia. In the beginning my sibs would tell me what to do, and that precipitated problems. In the beginning my parents were resentful and difficult and told me what to do. That also caused problems. I've got sad stories and funny stories and painful stories.

I'm not sure I've got anything resembling useful advice.

I did a huge amount for them (and still do for my mother). I did not get much in the way of thanks, appreciation or even acknowledgement. I made some hard choices, and as a result a number of things in my life were very different.

But what I absolutely do not have is any regrets.  But the end of my parent's life was far, far better because of what I did. It is easy to be good to little children when they are cute and charming. Old people are never charming the way children are. It is easy to help a friend when its someone who will help you, or someone with whom you have an ongoing relationship. But even if you love your parents, even if your childhood was not difficult and fraught with stuff you Don't Want To Talk About, it is much harder. If you parents are not sweet, kindly grandparents, but nasty and irascible, it becomes much hard to do anything, to go out of your way, let alone keep your temper. But still, you have to get up with yourself in the morning. Live your life without regrets.  

2 responses so far

  • datahound says:

    Very well said. Although my parents both died relatively young, my mother-in-law just turned 95 and is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. She had lived near us for many years and we moved her with us 3 years ago, initially to live with us and now in a retirement community where she has some more support. She often struggles to communicate (those nouns just fly away) and it can be like assembling a Picasso jigsaw puzzle to figure out what happened or what she needs. She can be bitter and critical (more to her daughter (my wife) than to me). But she needs frequent help (mostly with the little stuff) and to feel safe and supported from an increasingly confusing world. It can certainly be frustrating and challenging but, at the end of the day, it's about treating important people in your life who you would like to be treated under similar circumstances.

  • […] Bem falls between me and my mother in age. My mother is end stage Alzheimer's and is well beyond the place where Sandy Bem decided to end her life. My mother never could have […]

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