Mom’s name could very well be Francine Sinatra, the female equivalent to Frank Sinatra. I’m sure her new outlook on life at this time in her life is “I’ll do it MY way!”. She is exasperating sometimes. I never realized that Mom was so stubborn. Now I know where I get it from because I am about as stubborn as they come. I guess as I was growing up Mom was kinda the boss of the family so she got to do what she wanted but now as she is a frail elderly woman at a time in her life when most decisions are taken out of her hands and she has little control over her deteriorating body she has resorted to resisting anything and everything that is asked of her even if it is for her own good.
Mom is like a rebellious kid and all I can do is look on with exasperation and let her do her thing. It’s the last bit of dignity she has.
So what do I mean by her being rebellious? Well, she’s supposed to drink water for her diabetes. She won’t. She’s supposed to keep her feet up to help with the swelling. She won’t. She’s supposed to do her exercises. She won’t most of the time. She’s supposed to have a shower twice a week. She laments, complains and you just about have to take her kicking and screaming to her shower ( not literally), She’s supposed to use her aid to help her breathing. She won’t. She ‘s supposed to work at coughing up the accumulating phlegm she has. She won’t. She has let me know loud and clear that she WON’T wear compression stockings if she needs them. She’s supposed to go to the bathroom more often than she does. She won’t. I’m surprised she hasn’t told me that she WON’T go to her own funeral! ( sorry, just had to put that in)
So what does one do with a rebellious 89 year old child?? Well, I used to harp at her to no avail. So my next step is to write out a list of things she is supposed to do and tape it close by her then leave her to her own devices. No more harping, no reminders. She’s got the list.
I understand her need to do this but unfortunately the only person she is hurting is herself. She asked me last night why she was getting swelling in her legs!! I have to bite my tongue and sweetly answer her. She gets lectures from her doctor, the nurses that come, the PSW’s that come. She doesn’t need to have lectures from her own daughter. I need to be on her side not against her.
It’s so hard watching her deteriorate from her own stubborness but I need to give her some control in her life. With her probably being on the spectrum as I am, I know the need to have control over our circumstances. It makes life more secure, more safe. If this is how Mom needs to be to get through this very difficult thing called dying then I need to step back and let her be despite the fact that every ounce of me wants to have her keep going on as long as possible. I don’t want to lose her. It’s a terrible predicament to be in. It brings anguish to my soul and tears to my eyes. Sometimes I have to leave her, go to the basement and just cry and cry some more.
The journey continues and I have to let her do it “HER WAY!”