One of the many things being my mom’s caregiver has taught me is that I cannot get too comfortable. Sometimes good days, drama free days, come in clusters that can fool me into believing I got this. Then, wham, vomit, explosive diarrhea or some other surprise enters at whatever time it decides to enter, which of course tends to be just a little bit too early or too late in the morning or evening. And it will be a lot of clean up, period. And you will be cleaning it, and her all by yourself.
So Life with My Mom in This Pandemic…
Life during this pandemic has made me have to spend every waking day with my mom, and turns out that has been a good thing. My anger has simmered down. I am less impatient, and I think I have recovered whatever compassion had left me when we first began this adventure of my mom living with me. Those beginning days and months were harder than I could have even imagined they would be. The anger that erupted in me was definitely made of lava. I hardly recognized myself.
However, I am grateful for the timing of this worldly shift because my mom had already been officially living with me. I had already set up local doctors for every limb and appendage of her body. Got her meds set up, switched her health insurance, got her local taxes switched. Oh, but sweet Gee-zus, trying to change her state ID has been the worst. After 4 tries, we still were not able to get it done, and that was just before the world shut down. In other news, she had already begun developing new friendships long enough to have a few that she has maintained contact with during this time. Also, after literally three years she had begun to recognize her neighborhood and other parts of the city.
Then, the temperature of my anger had begun to cool. I began to realize my mom just literally does not get some things. For long drawn out explanations I might as well have a conversation with a lobster. There is no getting through to my mom. There are no roads to reason or logic. Conversations can only go so far. There is a limit to her understanding. She can follow along but I have learned that she will not get most of my complex thoughts or ideas. I have learned to let it go.
You know every now and then I picture my mom back alone in her old house. And I try to imagine how she would have been able to do this whole new way of life on her own in that house. She had already been making some really poor decisions. Had been subject to folks taking advantage of her. Young folks seeing a lonely little old lady on her own who was eager to belong to somebody or some people. They saw their opening and took it. She thought they were really interested in her, that she was cool and hip enough to hang with them. It was such a sad sight. She wanted so badly to be who she used to be: independent, center of attention, cute, younger, but she was not that person any longer, and would never be. (I find myself now having to acknowledge this one on a personal note.)
In this apartment in this pandemic...
I have a one bedroom L shaped apartment. I expected it to feel crowded during this time with my mom and my pets, but it didn’t. Sadly my dog crossed over the rainbow bridge in September. So that just left my mom, a crazy cat and myself, but it has not been that bad.
Yes, we do mostly stay in our separate rooms. I don’t hang out in her room as much as she might hang out in mine. Also, I have finally learned to be more tidy. I am not that tidy, but for a wanna-be hoarder like I was becoming, I am so much more tidier than ever. Then, it took me ten months in this pandemic lifestyle to stop making separate meals. I finally realized all the work I was doing in cooking and shopping for groceries for her and for me. I am vegan and she is not. But now when I am doing the cooking and the shopping, she’s a vegan. Screw trying to be fair. I was wiping myself out. And now I am a vegan on a diet, and so is she, period.
There’s not much more to update. If I am being truthful, I think our (my mom’s and my) fear of the possibilities with this pandemic was just bigger than everything else. I keep her home and she doesn’t fight me. I used to allow her to go outside for walks on her own. She was okay about it, but the weather turned cold and days got shorter so she was just plum stuck inside for weeks.
I tell you too being a caregiver has been fairly good for me. It has given a boost into the land of responsibility. This is the first time in my life that I have been solely responsible for the well-being of another human being. It is scary and really nice. I am happy when it goes right. I walk in her room frequently at night just to watch her sleep. I walk in too to see that she is eating and hopefully enjoying her vegan meals. It is so funny to me to finally, at my age, be taking care of another human, albeit a much older one. But there seems to be something similar to the care of very small human beings. Really I feel like my mom got really Blessed. She adopted a little baby that would grow up to be her caregiver. Of course that has led me to wonder at times if I was brought into this world to care for my mom since I have been doing this for more than these three years. I digress. That’s another unloading.
Well, guess I’m all caught up for now. I will be unloading again sometime soon.
Be safe. Please wear a mask.
I'm just writing to keep from losing it.