My 86 year old mother is in hospital in Indiana and I feel helpless. She is fiercely independent except for her unparalleled reliance on my father. In 2016 she has dealt with pelvic ring fractures and sacral fractures associated with osteoporosis, recurrent breast cancer requiring a lumpectomy followed by a mastectomy and 37 radiation treatments, and now kidney and liver degeneration resulting from dehydration and resistance to acceptance that aging and heath concerns require time for healing.
My siblings and I feel bereft. We’ve been cautioned to refrain from rushing to Indiana from Virginia, Texas and North Carolina lest our mother interpret the collective visitation as last rites. We feel fear, sadness, guilt, unease, trepidation, grief, frustration, and a bit of anger that we are not wanted at her bedside. We understand and yet don’t.
As the scions of fiercely independent parental units we understand their need to remain self sufficient. However, we also have a bit of resentment that our collective need for information and feelings are secondary or tertiary. Our parental units are codependent partners of 62 years, a love story, a partnership, a force of nature, a marriage of equals who have loved, lost, built, sustained, shared, laughed, cried, prayed, studied, taught, and supported one another for more than 6 decades. They want to protect us and they want to shield themselves from our “hovering”. It is a delicate tight rope walk to honor their preferences and fulfill our own desires and needs.
Ultimately, however, we cannot allow our selfish wants to interfere with their needs and desire to walk this path - wherever it may lead - alone. I am struggling. I am resistant. But if by staying home we give Mom hope, no matter what it may cost us, it is the right thing to do. Damn! Adulating is hard!
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