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I won the 'mom' lottery by being the youngest and the only girl. So mom lives near me. My brothers live far away. They visit once a year at best. My brother was just here for her 92nd birthday and it had been 15 months. During those 15 months I had to move mom (just this past July) to memory care. To say he was shocked is an understatement. And she gave him the 'full treatment'. By that I mean he tried to leave and she tried to stop him from leaving or leave with him. At one point during our 'debrief' he teared up. He feels so helpless as we all do. But now I know that he knows what it's like for me. And now he knows how hard this is for mom. I have always said that it is harder on them being so far away. I don't 'report' much unless I think that they want to know or if they ask. So this kind of hit him hard.
But here is the point of the story. I told him to count up all the things that mom can still do and realize that she is quite 'lucky' to still have a lot going for her. I think it helped. She asked him about a mutual acquaintance and he told her that he had passed away. "You outlived him, mom". And she raised her arms in the air and shouted "Hallelujah!" He had a really good laugh and so did she. If he hadn't come, he would not have that moment.
And the other thing that really makes me churn is that she has 10 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and lots of nieces and nephews. She got 3 cards in the mail. Two from cousins, one from my daughter. I just don't understand. She is still their grandmother/great grandmother. I just don't get it. Sigh. Not judging. Just bewildered.
I also have the caregiving role of our mom out of our several siblings. I was her least favorite child growing up, too!
Mom also received only a few birthday cards when she has a huge family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Calls have become very few and far between. I'm unsure how aware she is. I probably feel worse about it than she does.
If your mom enjoys getting cards-talk to her family and tell them that! They should be sending her a card each month! Give me her address and I'll send her cards.
I gave my mother a "birthday" party every few months because she enjoyed them so much. She forgets that we celebrated- so it's al about creating as many moments of joy in their lives as possible when they get to be at this stage of their illness.
I too was the one who was the carer for my mother. My sibling, who did not visit but two or three times a year would stay for never longer than 20 minutes and he was gone. My mother adored him; to her, he was like the "second coming." I was barely tolerated as I was the one involved with her care and all that encompasses; that is not unusual.
Brother also thought since Mom was so calm and dear when he was there, he did not believe one single word regarding her dread over the moon behaviors. I did not complain about those dynamics but mentioned them now and then when he asked for updates on her which was not very often. He actually said that she seemed so calm and together when he saw her, it must be a problem with me. Huh? Bite tongue and think dark thoughts and then simply let go.
Well; months later, nearly a year, Mom had been placed as she became a 24/7 uber-behavioral and care issue and my poor step-dad who had Alzheimer's was a basket of nerves secondary to all that entailed. Well; brother and wife came to visit for Mother's Day. Along with me and my husband, we went to visit her bearing prettily wrapped gifts. She was still very aware, very alert, knew everyone etc. Well; she did not like the blouse she had on and got madder than a wet hen and off she went . . . . shouting, hollering, flailing, calling names, and ranting at my brother. He and his wife left the room and went outside. I followed them and brother said, "What the HELL was THAT?" Welcome to my world. He never, ever again questioned her having a behavioral aspect to her dementia.
Mother had adult grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all from "good" families. She had been a wonderful grandmother having the kids for overnight stays, taking them to the beach and movies, etc. She gifted clever hand made gifts to them and showed much love. These adult kids mostly lived near where she was, in fact several of them had to drive the freeway past where she was place when going to work. Visits? No way. My out of state daughter would fly in and stay with Mom several days all day in visits; but that was the only one. My nearby son visited her once but did not go back.
The saddest of all was her beloved grandson and his wife had a baby who was nine months old, she was so wanting to see the baby; she kept a photo of him on her nightstand. This grandson, like all other kids came from good family and were successful in life and lived nearby; she waited and waited. I did call once and invited grandson and wife to visit and if they wanted me to, I also would be there; we could visit in the lovely appointed lobby or outside in the gardens and gazebo if they did not want to go to her room. They never did visit over the two years Mom was in the facility. She asked and asked about the baby, and I found myself making fiblet excuses.
Mom loved cards, in email I did let folks know this. Her birthday came and I emailed her four sisters, brother, all adult grandchildren two weeks in advance and then a week in advance and said how she would enjoy a card.
Not a single card came. My heart ached for her. So . . . . I went to the Hallmark Store and bought a large stack of cards. I signed them from all the various relatives as though they had sent them. She was SO happy. The cards were hung on her closet door facing her bed and she would show them to the aides.
I was not a person who badgered or bothered others nor did I ask for anything over time, so I was not part of that equation in that way. It was just a shocking puzzle regarding these persons who just chose to abandon their mother/grandmother/sister. I stopped sending monthly updates; if someone wanted to know how she was doing, they could contact me themselves. Matters of the heart to be sure.
And . . . . I want to be adopted by Tess C. You are amazing Tess and I have always enjoyed reading your Posts regarding your mother; you are the best and we all learn from you. What wonderful "birthdays!" Lovely and loving.
All of you are dear carers and loving champions and advocates to your LOs and I am honored to read the Posts; it is very heartening.
What a kind post Jo C! And so true.
My LO is my cousin and I'm it for her. When she got sick all other family and friends disappeared. That was over 5 years ago. I also get multiple cards, sign them as "favorite cousin", just my name, my family's name, etc. So, it appeared she got lots of birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. She didn't really notice, but, enjoyed the cute kitties on them.
My parents aren't PWD, but, they rarely get cards from grandchildren. Just a couple. I don't think it's something many young people do now days. And, it's not about technology, because, I have a cell phone and they don't text me either! lol
I find it perplexing too not only from the perspective of my elderly mohter, but also now for ourselves in our current family. It is indeed a different couple of generations. When I was a kid and into adulthood, I bought cards for my out of state grandmother with allowance and baby sitting money and actually wrote her letters sent snail mail. She loved getting them and would send back little letters she wrote to me and even at a young age, I treasured them. Thank you notes were always sent out even for tiny little gifts; it was all about good manners and respect.
I did teach my own children regarding this, but it did not take. No cards, no thank you notes, no graciousness to those who have been kind or who are their elders. What the dickens; they were taught and saw by example. I know they loved their grandparents, and love me and their father and us them, but the lack of good manners in that particular regard is still perplexing. Yet, it is again, a different generation.
I have grandchildren who are grown; one in a Master's Program working toward a PhD; the other in first year of college and another in the air force, and another getting a degree in education. These kids have been the loves of my and my husband's lives. They often came and stayed with us, and relate to us now how awesome that was. We read story books, played games, went to Disneyland, museums and other venues; we went to live stage performances, to the beach and celebrated special days and so much more; and best of all, we cuddled and cuddled. We LOVED them and they loved us back.
Cards? Thank you notes for gifts, even large ones? No. Calls generated by them? Only the one becoming a teacher from long time to long time. So . . . . I had to learn that the phone works both ways - I make calls; not often so I am not a bother, but enough to keep contact. When I call, they always seem delighted and engage in really great calls; but never do they seem to think of generating a call themselves. Cards? Nope.
Whatever it is, it really is another, very different generation and the grandkids parents, (our adult kids), now complain about their kids not calling . . . .
Just one of those mysteries; I refuse to let it bug me and refuse to let it become an issue with the kids and grandkids; as said, the phone works both ways. It is what it is . . . . . but I do miss the graciousness, niceties and good manners.
Abuela and one and all; Abuela said it well . . . . it is bewildering.
Thanks all for the posts. All of the family members know that mom loves mail. I spoke with my brother (the one who just visited) about it. His point of view is that mom cannot read them or figure out who they are and that it is more upsetting to her that she doesn't remember who they are. He has a point. But, still...I do read them to her and explain and sometimes that explanation takes the entire visit to explain and re-explain... umpteen times.
But they could check in. I guess my brothers do the checking in on their family's behalf and pass the word along.
We also talked about mom's funeral plans which will take place back where she was living before we moved her near me. I asked him who he thought would come and we both agreed it might be very few people. Again, this is a sadness I feel on her behalf. But to be honest, she was never the doting grandma. She was a good grandma and always there though.
Thanks all for listening.