Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Anxiety and Anger #atozchallenge - Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor Neurone Disease. For three months I was her main carer, an honour I will be grateful for and cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on some of the stories and emotions that presented themselves during this time. 

Remember to care for the carers.  


Anger and Anxiety




Take a big deep breath in... 2 3 and 4.  

Hold it  2 3 4 5.  

Release 2 3 4 5 6 7. (Repeat.)

From the moment I learned that Mum had less than 6 months to live, I felt anxiety and anger stirring. 

Why her? Why so young? Why such a combination of dreadful diseases attacking her brain and body all at once? Why so soon? What could I do to save her? 

Anger moves me. It takes courage to express. I'd rather be in the company of an angry person than someone politely festering behind a fake smile. Anger can motivate you to make necessary changes.

If I'd denied my anger at my Mum's suffering, I would never have found the strength to make her more comfortable.

Anxiety paralyses me. As I booked my tickets back home, I tried to prepare myself for something I knew there was no preparation for. A long slow goodbye that had started when I first moved overseas.

I stayed awake the entire first night I was with her. Monitoring her breathing. I waited till the second day to give her first dose of liquid morphine. I was afraid it might kill her. To our relief she breathed easier, 1ml at a time.

I was anxious about satisfying the needs and sensitivities of everyone that loved her. But, it was the lady that reared me, loved me unconditionally, sacrificed herself and worried so much for her family who had my undivided and constant attention.

Until the last moment I spent with Mum, I couldn't/didn't care about or spare any attention for anyone else. Nothing was more important than her wellbeing. I was perhaps too one-eyed, too determined to give her the best of my little bag of tricks, too exhausted.

This angered some people more than I'll ever understand. I allowed myself to get anxious over what they thought, what they wanted and then I was just to angry to care.

They are no longer worth my anxiety or angry little outbursts. Perhaps it's better this way. 


***


I use #atozchallenge when sharing my favourite posts.

Like Reflex Reactions on Facebook

Follow @ReflexReactions on Twitter

Add me to your circles on Google+ 

Learn more about:

 The A to Z challenge here.

21 comments:

  1. What a tough experience to go through. I remember the myriad of emotions when my mom was given a similar timeframe. My dad was her carer, though, so I can't even imagine what that would be like. Your comments about anger are insightful. I look forward to hearing more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chuck, black sheep tend to seek comfort in insight. ;) Dad was Mum's carer too. She trusted him but the last few months were too much for him to manage alone. Most of the time we worked well together but in the end I had to try and manage him too... Till her last breath he just didn't believe she was dying. The needs of people in palliative care are different to the needs of people in recovery.

      Delete
  2. This is such a beautiful post and what an amazing sacrifice and gift to care for your mother. My mother and I have had a rocky relationship for years; she's been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, making her a difficult person to get along with, but after therapy (for me) I've learned to let go of the past and appreciate her for who she is; your story makes me thankful that she and I will have a second chance to get to know each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kimberley, I understand rocky relationships. I never once felt I made a sacrifice, more like a privilege that many daughters (and sons), including my own mum never get an opportunity experience. Letting go of the past is key to creating a healthy relationship where there has been trauma. I wish you a lot of joy in getting to know each other again.

      Delete
  3. Having had been there myself, anger and anxiety are both very common things before and after the death of a loved one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm a caregiver for my mom after her heart attack and resulting memory loss. It's hard and often makes me neglect other relationships. But we do what we can for those we love. Care for the care-givers . . . amen.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bless you S.L, and all the best to you and your Mum. I used to think being a single mum was the hardest job on the planet, I think caring for an incapacitated adult may top the list now. I hope all the people you value don't mind that you neglect them... what do they do for you? I had one friend complain incessantly that I didn't visit her enough. Now I don't visit her at all.

      Delete
  5. Hi Ida - you're lucky you had the Captain with you ... but the time limit is the thing and your poor mother wasn't given long - though she might be grateful for the short time frame. I had no time frame after my mother's strokes - just she was bedridden - though thankfully was able to converse - that did make a lot of difference. I think my A word would be adjusting ... but my Ma was a little older ... Life with others wasn't easy - and I did retreat into myself and was determined that I should give her the best til the end, as I did with my uncle too (on my father's side) .. it was a positive time - though I know others didn't appreciate that so much ...

    Good luck now and welcome back to Europe - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a powerful and profound post Ida, thank you. Well done for enduring with willingness the anxiety and the concomitant anger, always sad when this is mixed into the sadness of death and caring. And all my condolences on the death of your Mother to you and your father.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sally, thats very sweet of you. It doesn't feel lovely to express the ugly stuff but the process is cathartic. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  8. My mom and I were the caregivers for my grandmother. Very, very lucky for us, she was herself all the way to the end of her life, with her deterioration being the basic physical losses due to age. Although there were some frustrations at times, my mom and I both treasure that time together with my grandmother. I find that the charms of older people are completely overlooked when up against the challenges they face. It's too bad, because according to my Gram, she never felt like an old person, not even when she was 93!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julia, very, very lucky for your Gram, that she had you both. Sometimes I feel old at 43, what strength (and charm) she must have had. Sorry for you loss. It's a shame a lot of people never truly consider what it means to face the challenges of ageing and dying until they face it themselves... They are probably the ones that will complain the most when they get there...

      Delete
  9. It is so sad when you see someone you love going through such illnesses. People don't always take into account the physical and emotional toil suffered by the caregivers. You were lucky to have the support of the Captain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right Jo, I really was lucky. I also had the support of some magnificent friends, one in particular lived close by and stepped in while the Captain was away. I don't know what I would have done without their support.

      Delete
  10. So sorry for your loss. I don't know how I will react when I have to watch my mother take her last breath. I worry about it. thanks for having the courage to share this. I know it will help others facing their on loss of parents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary. Try not to worry, better that you see her last breath than for her to see yours. The best suggestion I have is to spend as much time as you can, (even if that is just a short phone call every few days), talk as much as you want, ask her a lot of questions (no matter how personal), listen to anything and everything she has to say... even if she constantly repeats herself. Let her know how much you love her and why, and give her lots of kisses and cuddles. Tell her that everyone in her family will be fine and don't trouble her with your worries. If you do your best you'll have no regrets and nothing to worry about :)

      Delete
  11. Ida, so sad to have to have additional, collateral, and unescessary losses as well... glad you had time with your mum... I had that kind of time with my brother and was grateful for it as well... it makes a big difference on both sides...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As usual Ivy, your comments just make me feel a little better. It's just so hard for some people to understand both sides.

      Delete
  12. Hi Barbara, it is indeed a privilege. So many people never have the opportunity to even say one final goodbye.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so glad you were able to be there for your mother during such a difficult time. Anybody that didn't understand and became angry probably wasn't deserving of your company to begin with. You sound like an amazingly courageous woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mandy, I think Mum was more courageous and deserved the best care - I became angry at times too, Im not sure anger is the villain here, but anybody that couldn't understand my priorities at the time certainly wasn't deserving of my attention.

      Delete

Feedback and your own stories are welcome.