It’s been one of a hell of a ride since 2018. I have been listening to Valerie Bertinelli’s book Enough Already – The Twenty One Gram Diet, and I’ve done a lot of thinking about the past four years. I lost my Father this past October and now we’re on a whirlwind journey after discovering that my Mother now has throat cancer and dementia.
My Mother and I always had a complex relationship. I was the youngest of three and the only girl. Mothers and Daughters tend to be at odds in certain periods of their lives. One is learning and the other is learning just the same. However, as a daughter, you never realize that until you become a Mother to a Daughter yourself. My Mother and I had a great big stretch at being at each other’s throats. So much so that I swore that I’d never be my Mother. The good and bad part of that is that you tend to bring parts of your Mother with you on your own journey of parenting.
I think 2018 was a turning point for my Mother and I. She shared all of her life with me, while I felt horrendous guilt for many things I said to her out of anger. My walls came down and I loved her more than ever. Sadly, her kept secrets made her the scapegoat, black sheep, the rustle people’s feathers kind of individual. All along though, it was years of suppressed anger. Anger is often a secondary emotion for another emotion. I feel her emotion was no different than mine. Sadness, mixed with uncontrollable love….and shame.
She was so proud of me for leaving my husband after finally mustering the courage to tell her the whole truth of why we parted ways. I believe she thought that my life would have been grander than her life and her choices. She was wrong and spent many a night trying to coax me out of my tears, sadness and drinking. I thank her for that til this day and I will never forget the generosity and love bestowed from my mother at that time.
Where Would I be Without my Mother?
After so much soul searching and self control, I’ve learned that I have been a caregiver most of my life. My Mother, aside from my two kids, who I am determined to help with a vengeance. She is the wind beneath my wings. Always has been, always will be.
You want a job, I’ll take care of it.
You want to make more money? No problem, I’ll just open your resume and Workopolis.
You want me to come pick you up at 1AM cause your scared of your roomate?????? Ok, I’m on my way.
Dad, let me feed you.
Mom, is that milkshake easy on your throat?
Boss, let me do anything I can to make you even more money!
If you could select anyone in my life, I’d tell you exactly what I’ve done to take care of them. That is, until I separated and watched my Dad die. I
I had an eerie thought yesterday. I realized that while I was taking care of everyone, when did I take care of myself? I plan on riding this journey with my Mother all the way, but what will happen to ME when she’s gone. There will be no one else to care for? Did God put me on this Earth to care for others and, when my job is done, plan to take me too? That’s a very scary attitude to have and I’ve had some major panic attacks at the thought of it knowing that every path I’ve set for myself, my dreams, and my goals has been also shattered because of an ex-husband, a child, or an ailing parent. But, it’s not their fault. It’s mine. I am a caregiver first. Always have been, always will be with new boundaries and no need to take control of a situation. When you have ailing parents, adolescent kids or a spouse who no longer wants you, you come to realize control is a losing battle. Tis better to breath and make the choices that’s wanted and needed at that moment; For you.
My Future with a Grown Family
I don’t know where this road with my Mother will take me. I certainly hope that it’s for a few more years. I’m terrified to lose her. She truly is my World right now.
The mixture of dementia and cancer scares the crap out of me because telling her she has throat cancer 10 times a day and seeing the shock the same is just sad to witness. Sad to bare really.
So rather than thinking my eerie thought, I am writing a goal chart for when the day comes when I am alone. Here’s a few thoughts.
- Live alone
- Fix up a place where housing prices aren’t so expensive.
- Live that year in Quebec City like I’ve always spoke about.
- Visit Rome for a month and live like a citizen, not a tourist.
- Take my time. Make my own decisions.
After all, they say that when your body dies and your soul leaves, your body goes down 21 grams in weight. If that 21 grams is truly your soul, why not nourish that soul while you’re living? Live your best life in spite of it all. There will be times in your life when the struggle is real, but you can always dream of better days; For you, for your soul. Just keep swimming.
PS. To those on TikTok and around the Globe who choose to go no-contact, block, ignore, or whatever to your Mother without TRUE justification for it, realize this. There is so much of your Mother in you. After all, you came from her. It wouldn’t hurt to do a little leg work and dig to understand why your Mother is the way she is. Why your Mother reacts the way she does. Chances are, you could be her biggest saviour. Read the Four Love Languages. Try. The World will be less when people choose love and understanding over resistance and blocking.