Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deciding Difficult Things

Somehow my blog went from being about a struggling gay Mormon to a gay excommunicated Mormon to a gay ex-Mormon whose Mom has dementia.  But that's where my thoughts seem to be lately.

This evening my family had the big meeting about Mom's future.  All my siblings and their spouses were there as well as my niece and nephew.  Jonah would have come if he could have.  We also had a couple of family friends who have gone through care-giving for elderly parents three times.  They had some helpful advice that was, admittedly, hard to hear at times even though I knew it was good advice.

The meeting, needless to say, was not fun in the slightest.  Needful?  Yes.  Enjoyable?  Not at all.

I am drained.  We have some very difficult decisions to make in the coming months, none of which I relish, but which, unfortunately, are necessary.

I had planned on writing about the meeting, but I realize I just can't do it right now.  It's still too raw.  I need time to process and recover a bit.

My main thoughts are that my heart and my mind are waging some intense battles.  My mind knows certain things need to be done and should be done, but my heart is having a very hard time with it all.

Rationally, I know that going back home to Jonah is the right and needful thing for me to do.  But my heart makes me feel like I am abandoning my mom and my family in what is sure to be a very difficult time.  It didn't help that when I came home to Mom's house, she came out of her room in tears because she was all alone and thought I had already left to go back home to Jonah.  I just held her in my arms for about two or three minutes while she cried.

And rationally, I know that we need to take over a lot of my mom's day-to-day affairs and make some hard choices that will cause her to lose much of her independence, but my heart is aching because that's the last thing I want to do.

And rationally, I know that getting rid of some of my mom's junk in her house is probably best in the long run for her, us, and my niece and nephew; but my heart feels with every item we get rid of, we're throwing another piece of my mom away, and that breaks my heart.  And I feel I have to defend her because after all, it's her stuff, her memories, and she should have a say in the matter.

This sucks.  I wouldn't wish the choices a family has to make regarding their ailing parent on my worst enemy.

There's a line from Steel Magnolias that makes so much sense to me right now:

"Shelby, as you know, wouldn't want us to get mired down and wallow in this. We should handle it the best way we know how and get on with it. That's what my mind says, I just wish somebody would explain it to my heart."



Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...


I know your heart and mind are battling, but you have already given you mom more time than she would have had. I helped a friend declutter her grandparents home. Her grandfather was sure that his wife, who was battling dementia, would hate getting rid of things. I thought that the way they handled it was beautiful, and I feel inspired to share it with you.

They had a party! At the party they asked Grandma to help them choose which items in the house could be given as presents, and to who. They also have her the option to keep anything that was special to her. The whole family was there, and the grandkids and great-grandkids were the gophers, moving everything around. The things for "poor people who need it" went on the back porch. Each child and grandchild had a pile, and there was a pile for great-grandkid items. (She could barely keep the grandkids straight, so they made the choices for the kids between the adults.)

Grandma had a blast. She got people confused a lot, and remembering the name of the "red haired granddaughter" (my friend) was a struggle, but the whole family took it in stride. They were able to clear out 2 truckloads for Goodwill, about a truckload for each child, and several boxes for each grandchild. Occasionally something would mean quite a lot to one person, so instead of asking her who she thought it should go to, they asked if having Oldest Daughter take it was okay.

It was a long Saturday, but by the end they not only decluttered, but she was able to have the things that really meant the most to her, and that helped her remember, accessible. When her grandfather broke his hip, and they moved into an assisted living facility, they still had the things that meant the most. I went with her to visit them several times before her grandmother passed away, and having the things she most treasured made her transition to the apartment pretty easy.

I don't know if that helps or not.

jen said...

I have never had to face that... You described the turmoil very well, because I am in tears.

Sending love to you and your family. I wish there was more I could do.

Dean Scott said...

I may have already mentioned this, but one of my friends called the stage you are in "the long good bye." I think he was 5 years in to the long good bye with his mom. Our long good bye with my mom lasted 8 years.

I feel for you. I'm not going to offer any advice since I am sure that your family friends who know your mom and family helped fill that void. Just know that you and your family are in my prayers.

I miss my mom so much at times, but I am so grateful she is no longer experiencing the pain and frustrations she had her last few years. Best wishes.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Thanks, Dean. That really means a lot to me.