It’s interesting what people say to you when you tell them you look after your mother who is soon to be one hundred years old. Some say you are doing a wonderful job, others understand how hard it is or just say that they couldn’t do it and there are those who make the comment that we must not have thought she would live that long when we took on the task.
Well, the LSO and I did expect the AP to live this long and in the beginning were happy that she probably would given that she is incredibly well looked after. What we didn’t expect was that the person we thought was sweet and lovely has turned out to be difficult, domineering, demanding and at times extremely unpleasant. Even being trapped by the circumstances would have been more acceptable if this person we no longer know had been who we thought she was. That is a rather convoluted statement but it is what the situation has become.
The AP appears to have little regard for us and can be unbelievably rude, making snide and very nasty comments about others as well as about us. We can only put this down to the fact that the brain is deteriorating and the better thought patterns are being buried or destroyed. Certainly as the time approaches for her to go North she is becoming more and more obtuse and changeable, pleasant one minute, unpleasant the next.
The LSO says she is making a point, but what point? It is completely lost on me and I refuse to allow her to rule my actions or my thoughts because that will not be good for me or for the LSO. I actually think she resents him, partly because she thinks she could tell me what to do if he wasn’t here but also because he is more volatile in his temperament than I am therefore more unpredictable. I need a quiet life to survive; I don’t like confrontation but will react if pushed hard enough. In truth, I realised that when the LSO was so very ill last year that had the unthinkable occurred the first thing I would do would be to arrange a care home for the AP and sell the house. There is absolutely no way that I could survive living with the her on my own and that became patently obvious when the LSO was in hospital. He is a great buffer, thank goodness.
Well it’s only twelve days to her departure and the beginning of our month of freedom and a brief return of our personal space so it is just a matter of weathering less than two more weeks of the AP.
A light on the horizon and this time it isn’t the train hurtling towards us down a tunnel. Tomorrow we take the AP to meet up with my cousin and his wife who are going to look after her for a month. A whole month to ourselves, I am really quite excited about having our personal space and freedom back. To also be free for a while of the hurtful digs and lack of grace that seems to have become part of our everyday life. To have time to do the things we want to do without any criticism or being made to feel guilty. Oh joy!
One day to go.
As I have said in previous blogs, living with an AP is similar to riding an emotional rollercoaster. I am discovering the hard way, needless to say, that it is necessary for self preservation and good health both mentally and physically to not react to difficult situations that arise. In other words don’t get on the rollercoaster and if on it, get off immediately.
This is, much harder to do in practice but I am learning. When the AP begins the wind up, the rudeness and the screwed up face I am trying to remain calm and in agreement; changing the subject if necessary. It isn’t easy as the AP is I suspect a tyrant underneath everything and wants to get her own way all the time. She certainly has succeeded in dominating our lives and that must change.
The LSO and myself are discussing ways to deal with all this and to start with we have decided that the best technique is to appear calm, collected and pleasant when faced with the AP being antagonistic and disagreeable. Although occasionally she says something and the goal yawns in front of us, oh boy is that a difficult one! We will be discussing over the next month ways to have some time alone and with our friends without causing too much friction and also how to deal with the inevitable unpleasantness which is appearing more and more as the months go by.
Talking to people about this problem is fine in principal but can often lead to very well meaning suggestions being made that in truth we have thought about but realise are impractical. It really is a fact that unless you have experienced this situation you have no idea what it is like, hence we are in the position we are in. Would we, knowing what we know now take on the AP? We are also aware especially when feeling tired and emotional that we perhaps overreact and realise that we must try to be more understanding. It can’t be easy being 99 years of age and not being able to do the things you have always been able to do. She too has lost her freedom and personal space but equally she has had a good long life and surely knows that our lives have come to a standstill because of her and that we need some time and space without her.
The LSO and myself really do need this break just to take stock and build up some reserves again.
Five days to go.