Well no matter how much I try to put a positive spin on the situation the LSO and myself find ourselves in it all inevitably turns around and the dreaded all encompassing cloud creeps in.
This time it is the LSO who finds the AP’s rudeness and general nastiness too much to deal with and like all these situations it is a build up of many small incidences that are ignored and then finally the end of the road comes and the abyss appears. This particular last straw was the AP taking nearly fifteen minutes to come down for her dinner last night. It completely incensed the LSO and finally after she had departed to her room he exploded. I can fully see his point of view but I have managed to become more detached to the AP’s ridiculous behaviour and if she wishes to eat on her own and a cold dinner into the bargain, that is entirely her problem. But the LSO, quite rightly says it is just plain bad manners after a great deal of effort has gone into preparing meals that she can eat. Agreed but unfortunately we are not dealing with someone who is either logical or caring. The AP is utterly selfish and only thinks of herself and just to put the lid on everything she has also become both nosy and intrusive, demanding to know things that are none of her business.
So how do we now deal with this? The AP just sails on like a galleon leaving chaos in her wake and is completely oblivious to the damage she causes.
Well deal with it we must. We are both desperately in need of having our lives back and are hugely aware of time passing. The AP has taken an important part of our time away from us but not in a good way, which was something we never realised would happen or even considered when we made our decision to have her live with us. Anyone out there who thinks they know their parents, think again. I thought I knew my mother but I don’t think any of us actually do. I realise now how much my father many years ago, protected me from her because he also knew how she drove my brother away, something I was totally unaware of at the time. My father must have been as stunned at that as I am now by her patronising manner as well as her controlling and bigoted attitudes.
I refuse to go back to the darkness and angst and misery she has caused us; somehow we will find a way through all this.
Well, I have started the first fast day of the 5.2 diet today. It’s 9.44 am and so far so good except that I am full of liquid and no food! It feels like a long haul to lunchtime but I am writing this to keep occupied. Methinks I may be getting out my knitting to occupy my hands during the months to come.
Doing a Szechwan chicken tonight courtesy of the Hairy Dieters but lunch is still to be decided. Just realised it’s Shrove Tuesday so lunch will be waffles with warmed fresh berries, creme fraiche with yogurt and a smidge of maple syrup.
In between planning menus I am trying not to stress out as the AP’s one hundredth birthday approaches. Well approach may not be the right word as we still have twelve weeks to go but the AP keeps asking the same questions over and over again despite the fact that we have covered the same ground many times. She seems to think that all these intelligent, well travelled and well informed people who are coming to her birthday bash are incapable of making their own arrangements even though I have given them all information on places to stay.
Then at lunchtime today she announced that my cousin George and his wife who look after the AP twice a year are doing us a favour and getting her out of our hair. This ‘us’ is the equivalent of the royal ‘we’ but I did find it necessary to say that they are very generously giving the LSO and myself a break and for a short time, our personal space back. They also choose to do this.
These sudden statements are most revealing and an insight into how the AP thinks, it makes me realise once again that the she is totally self consumed and really doesn’t care about us but also resents the fact that there are those who do and like us enough to want to help; she did not learn anything from the straight talking last October. It is a sad situation to be in, looking after someone you thought loved you to only find out that you have been thoroughly used and abused. Oh well, as the LSO and I keep saying to each other, it is what it is and we will carry on.
Now for more water then a root through my knitting and wool box.
In this case an emotional rollercoaster. I do at times feel sorry for the AP, it’s not much fun getting old and at 99 years of age she is very old but sadly she does little to endear herself to us. Maybe, in her mind, she doesn’t need to as she has everything someone of such a great age could desire really. A space of her own yet people around, regular meals, varied and considered, servants at her beck and call, washing done, all shopping done, cleaning taken care of, bills paid, chauffeurs when needed and all she has to do is care for herself and potter. She can still potter; the AP does several slow circuits of the front garden maybe once a week weather allowing, it is a good size to walk around and she still goes to a weekly keep fit class. We do occasionally arrange for a friend to come over and lunch is duly prepared for them or some wonderful kind friends take her off for the day and entertain her. In the meantime with the aid of magnifiers she can just manage to read and she has her own television.
Does this make for a pleasant and contented existence? Well, no, it would appear not to be the case. The AP announced the other day ‘that time flies by but why should that be the case when she does nothing and is basically bored.’
She has no concept of what her living with us has done to our lives or how bored we have become with the monotony of our existence. We live with, accept it and get on with things as cheerfully as we can but do feel that at a time when we should be enjoying an active retirement, spending more time with our own children and travelling we are here instead, looking after an ungrateful, graceless old lady who has become selfish and self-centred. Thank you and please are words that have vanished from her vocabulary where we are concerned. I know we made this choice but truth be told we had no idea what we were letting yourselves in for and really no-one can explain, only those who have done it understand how relentless it all is.
Tomorrow an old friend of mine is arriving for a few days and I have been told magnanimously that I must have a day out with her on my own. I am almost lost for words. Then later in the week a cousin and her family are arriving for lunch and we are already preparing ourselves for the inevitable gushing and pretence and are just thankful it is only for a day.
Twenty three days to a month of freedom and yes, I am counting.