I woke up this morning to another day of dealing with the AP and her unpleasant ways and found myself thinking back to better times. I guess it’s that time of the year when we all realise another year is almost over.
It’s almost five years since my mother came to live with us and I can quite honestly say it has been five years of misery. When I think back to pre-AP days I realise how happy and free we were but I had just taken it all for granted. The LSO and myself are not unhappy with each other and have learnt to accept that we have no personal space and no privacy but it would be so much better if the AP had turned out to be the sweet old lady we naively thought she was before she arrived.
I had never seen my mother as a control freak, always needing to be in charge. I knew she was bigoted, vain and snobbish but the rest, the need for control, the attempts to divide and rule, the nastiness when she doesn’t have her own way and the childishness, her silly little girly voices and the baby words were all kept hidden from view until she walked through our door.
Was there anything we could have changed about our situation? Probably not, for several years we fought to survive in our own home simply because we didn’t understand or see clearly what she was doing. We now have strategies in place to protect our physical and mental health which suffered as a result of all this. They work to a point but we are always on our guard, waiting for the next nasty dig which is always followed by a short lived period of almost niceness.
At least we are no longer alone in seeing her for what she really is or should I say, become. My cousin and his wife who have her to stay with them two months of the year have seen the veil slip more often in the last couple of visits and they have a better understanding of what we live with twenty-four seven. A couple of close friends have also witnessed her nasty side and are definitely not impressed but they have remained our friends, thank goodness. Also this blog and the support received as a result of it have helped me to keep things in perspective. Thank you all family, friends and strangers for being there, it does make a difference.
Its no good regretting having made this life changing decision, we just have to continue getting on with it; as the LSO says ‘it’s what it is” and when it is finally all over we can live our lives to the full again.
I struggle at times to cope with the AP and her stupidity. Actually that is an understatement because, in truth I am constantly amazed at her hare-brained and idiotic ideas based on no knowledge whatsoever. Old age has robbed her of the common sense she once possessed as well as her manners and when there is any kind of confrontation she resorts to being nasty.
I also struggle with how I now feel about my mother who is nothing like the person I thought I knew. I am beginning to really dislike this stranger in our midst. Some how I need to turn my mind off and find inner peace to cope with all this and it isn’t as if I have nothing to do, so it must be possible. Our days are busy and at times relentless especially at the moment with Christmas looming.
I was accused today of always looking for trouble because I don’t agree with someone who is one hundred years old fasting. The comment is interesting in itself because the only person in this household who looks for trouble is the AP. She couldn’t be further from the truth about me though. I definitely don’t look for trouble and have no time to even consider it, preferring a quiet and stress free life, but I felt sick inside after this comment because this is just another fine example of how used and unconsidered the LSO and myself are by this incredibly selfish and self centred old lady. There is no comeback to it and this evening she will be sweetness and light as if nothing has been said.
It is definitely true that familiarity breeds contempt and there is no doubt that the empathy I had for the AP in the early years has been completely eroded away by five years of dealing with her controlling and manipulative ways and her unpleasantness when she can’t get her own way.
I also find I have nothing to say to her and I know this is not helping the situation. I am aware that growing old isn’t easy, the LSO and myself are not young and have our own problems to handle. I did think that we could really make a difference for my mother when she first came to live with us but we had no idea at that time what we were going to have to deal with. Indeed we have helped her to live longer which is ironic given the situation now. She is remarkably fit for someone her age, her meals are small but regular and always made to ensure she has a good nutritional balance. But there is little thanks or consideration and the LSO and myself often feel we are the below stairs staff in our own home.
For ten days I have suffered from being a mucus making machine with a hacking cough courtesy of a cold virus. It was a great source of concern to me as the day of our son’s wedding was approaching at speed. I really didn’t want to be the one leaving the ceremony sounding like a seal under water or causing the guests to back off in horror at the awful sound. Fortunately I did manage to suppress the cough with the help of a variety of lozenges and a certain amount of alcohol. It turned out to be a really special day, a gloriously fun time with both our son and the bride looking stunning, they make a gorgeous couple and their obvious happiness throughout the day was a glow that affected us all. We all thoroughly enjoyed the event even having the AP with us wasn’t too bad with both families helping to guide her through the day which was a relief for the LSO and myself. Our lovely daughter and son-in-law spent time chatting to the AP who did find the noise difficult to cope with. It was the first time we had met our new daughter-in-law’s family but the small numbers and the windmill venue all helped in making us comfortable together and there was much laughter and talk both there and during the rest of the day.
On the diet front I was delighted to find on the morning of the wedding that I had finally cleared the first two stone marker but as the candid wedding photographs show, I am only half way through the total weight loss, so a while to go yet. But it didn’t spoil my day as mostly I felt slimmer and I was thrilled to actually fit into my favourite velvet trousers for the occasion with the Jaeger jacket actually fastening! Roll on May when I should be facing a summer of being a lot lighter and therefore a great deal more comfortable in my skin in every sense of the word.
We had hired a chauffeured car for the day which took all the pressure from the LSO who could enjoy a drink without worrying. The alternative would have been hotel bookings, taxis and kennelling for the two terriers all making the day a very costly one. It did mean we perhaps left a little earlier to head home because the AP kept nodding off but in truth I would only have had too much to drink if we had stayed longer! The drive back was uneventful and extremely pleasant thanks to Pedro the driver whose friendly and amiable personality all helped add to the pleasure of the day.