Friday, May 24, 2013

Dropped off the edge of the earth for a bit, so much for Lisabeth's 'keep life and work in proper balance' resolution.  Epic fail...  the good news is the last grant is written and submitted for a bit!  Yay me!

Several friends are having issues that come with aging parents.  One friend has a father that has Alzheimer's in its earliest stages, and due to a fall he ended up with a serious brain bleed that required surgery, and prognosis is not good.  Another friend, who has a hoarding mother that most likely gave my hoarding mother mean/crazy lessons... Her father had a stroke and requires intensive nursing care.   The situations are similar with both of their fathers being beyond home care.  That is where all similarities end... and one woman's family has banded together to care for her medically vulnerable mother and father, and all choices are made out of love.  The other, the family is split.  In the other family, the hoarding mother has achieved her goal, and two children are supporting the hoarder in keeping the father in a substandard nursing facility where they only intermittently visit him, but when hoarding mother does, she intentionally and successfully antagonizes him.  They are blocking the two siblings from moving him to a specialized care facility near my friend where she could be with him daily...

Anyway, you get the picture.  I was struck by the dichotomy... and thought about how hellish it would be to have my mother as a caretaker or a medical power of attorney.  A fate worse than death....  In a hellish bit of serendipity my mother started rehashing my father's last days.  We are almost halfway between the anniversary of his passing 24 years ago and Memorial Day, so she has been EXCEPTIONALLY cheery.  She started talking about her plans for Dad if he would have been able to return home after he was placed on the heart transplant list.  As always, reinventing history is her speciality, since she has blanked out me visiting a local college and applying to transfer so I could be with Dad if that did happen.  No way was I leaving him with her.  

"So... I am thinking about getting a hospital bed for myself.  I think I will get it and put it in the living room and just get a recliner so I am ready for anything and it is already here.  I do not have anyone here and I DO NOT CARE.  You know, when things... when things happened with your father, when the end was happening, I was going to do that, so he would be in the front room and he could watch TV, see out, and if anyone came over since he had to have people running in and out of his mother's or the garage, they would not have to be anywhere in the house but the living room, and if he had to have nursing help .... [blah, blah, blah]..."

Seriously?  Before the clot that took his life at the end- which was the last 12 hours of his life- he was weak but he was able to move around, walk, etc.  He would not have been bedridden.  It was the clot that paralyzed one side, and if he had not thrown another clot there is a strong likelihood he would have recovered from that, to what degree we do not know....  He lived life fully, and he would have died a horrendous death many times over before he succumbed to be warehoused in the living room.

"[Weakly]... Oh..."

I absolutely got the chills- not figuratively, LITERALLY.  One, she is on her normal trajectory of narcissism and martyring herself.  I had such a hellish picture of the horror that my father would have experienced that it took my breath away.  For the first time I realized that potentially how things played out 24 years ago released my father from what would have happened.  I know what would have happened.  I watched her 'nurse' her mother.  The flesh can heal while the spirit dies.  She was emotionally abusive and the epitome of the abuse of power and control.  Two, I would have given almost ANYTHING to have my father in my life because he was able to have some quality of life... He would not have wanted to have laid bedridden anywhere.  I think the third thing, and maybe this is my selfishness, is it just hit me how narrowly I escaped the hoard, (as much as any COH/survivor escapes) and how different my life is now because I escaped.  At barely 19, if I would have returned home, I feel I would not have survived long term to escape again.  The simultaneous revelation was my mother's sickness is so complete, she would do anything necessary to pull me back in.  My life as an individual and my health does not matter, I only exist as an extension of her... 

This weekend is Memorial Day... and I took off so I have a 5 day weekend.  I have the time, the money, and the ability to go home.  I cannot.  I choose not to.  I will not.  I stay away for my sanity, for my health, and to live.  

And live I will.  My way, my terms, working hard to step past the shadow of the hoard.  And although my relationship with my hoarding mother causes me much pain and stress... I am succeeding.  She is not me, and I am not her.  

I hope to have more 'from the mouth of a hoarder' quotes soon.  She has said many, many things of late that warrant inclusion, but honestly, I am just so saddened by them that I am not finding them amusing in any way.  I am also becoming strangely numb to them.  I am sure my dark, sarcastic sense of humor will kick back in soon.  

I am flying south in 3 weeks to see some of my COH friends.  I am counting down the days, because I think we all need to spend some time with others who understand the 'shorthand' of COH speak.  

We are also discussing how to advance the understanding and knowledge of hoarding and the huge impact on the children and families.  

To be continued...

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