“My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago.” Just listen, please.
I don’t mind if you want to discuss the same thing over and over, but mom if it’s negative, it might get hard to keep hearing, Dear mom. if I try to encourage you to change conversations by gently saying, I hear you, I understand, the dinner was crappy at the skilled nursery facility, that pumpkin pie I brought you was delicious and all you really desired.
Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me.
I never want to embarrass you mom. It seems to me that you don’t mind embarrassing me. When we have a plan to share truthfully with the doctor that you’re in constant pain, and Norco on request isn’t working, it’s hard because you deny your pain when asked in front of me. Then I remind you to be honest and your response is, my daughter wants me to ask for pain pills. This doesn’t seem to be age related, seems more pride related.
My dear mom, the day I see you getting old, I ask you please try and understand that my suggestions are for your safety, which affects my well being too. My dear mom, when I see your getting older, that means I’m older too, so rather than I take a passive childlike attitude I want to be a proactive adult and caregiver. My mom, try to remember how you took care of me as a child, remember I’m still your child, and I want the best for you mom and for me.
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way. Remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair, and dealing with life’s issues every day.
I have gone the distance with your computer needs, often dropping my own plans to turn back and drive a half hour to simply turn on AOL mail. I’ve never laughed or made you feel less smart. I did the same for Pete, constantly.
The day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
I do understand what you’re going through. It breaks my heart on so many levels that you’re not enjoying being the matriarch of our family. What an honor that is, not a competition with me, you’re only daughter. It’s not a competition mom, we can do this as a team.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient, or arrogant.
And mom, if I lose track of what I’m saying, it would be better not to say, see you’re no better than me at remembering. That’s hurtful. Remember how you’d protect me as a kid, nobody messed with me. Not even my brothers. Why mess with my self-esteem?
Mom. I want so badly to be patient, never arrogant, but I can’t help being nervous. I’m nervous all the same for your safety. Mom remember how you protected me the best you could from danger, mean people, and being unhealthy? You protected me from even wanting, when I wanted something you always did your best to work it out. That was from new pants, to a new car, to a new home.
It’s my turn to protect you. Mom dear mom, I shared my heart with you about our hardwood stairs. I tried every angle to keep you from going upstairs. Your own bedroom furniture is in the downstairs bedroom. All you toiletry needs are where they belong, in your private bathroom connected to your bedroom. There’s two TVs downstairs, one for you with TV ears in your own living room, and one in the family room where you’d join us nightly.
And yes, I was frustrated when you’d find reasons to come upstairs. I told you where I was as often as possible, put my plans on a whiteboard on refrigerator. I encouraged you to use the house phone to call me on my cell phone. My cell phone I wear as jewelry so I don’t miss a call.
My dear mom, when I asked you to wear a life alert, only at night, because when we’ve upstairs we might not hear you if you need our help it was out of love and concern. It’s also selfish, because as I explained to you I’d prefer not to find you hurt in the morning, or worse. Especially since the first two weeks you lived with us you did fall coming out of the shower. I didn’t know for two hours. Yet when I ordered a life alert and begged you to reconsider you got mad and refused. Yes my mom, I remember doing that as a kid when you’d say no, but as the mom, you’d win. I’m mad at myself for letting you win… still. I’m mad at myself that I wasn’t strong enough with you my dear mom, about the stairs and now you’re lying with a broken arm and pelvic in the hospital. I know it wasn’t deliberate, but so very preventable.
As I shared with you on one of our many conversations for my sake mom, your only daughter’s sake, the one with heart disease, 7 grandkids, and 3 daughters that need me, and a husband, please don’t go upstairs, because I feared you’d fall. Oh, you fell, and it was probably your most unnecessary trip upstairs of all, with socks on.
Now I cringe when I go down the stairs, and I don’t like my foyer anymore, because that is where I found you lying.
Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
My dear mom, I’d be honored to walk with you slowly, that requires you to be willing to let me. I’d be happy to carry the brunt of the groceries in the house, you wouldn’t let me. So, I’d have to watch you struggle and the next day be in a lot of pain from using your bad arm (and that was before this recent fall). I’m happy to be with you, that’s why you live with me.
My mom I have to apologize, I should have listened to you when you asked why I thought you’d be happy at my home. You made it clear you weren’t planning on being happy. I know if you had owned the home you were in, you’d probably had stayed there. The home was leased, and for one year we all knew you and Pete had to find some place else to move. When Pete died, you had less than 2 months to move out. After Pete died, we had no choice but to move you in quickly to my home. The reason being is that you were suicidal. All day, every day you shared you didn’t want to live.
When days come, don’t feel sad—just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you, my darling daughter.
My dear mom, I do feel sad. Very sad. I wanted so much for this time at my home to be fun. I wanted you to finally after two long marriages, one to my dad for over 40 years, and to my stepdad Pete, for over 30 years, give you a break. Allow you to see how it would be to relax and live without someone constantly demanding your time, effort, and care. To enjoy life without being barked at all day and night. I thought seeing the grandchildren more often would be fun. I thought you’d love that we moved in most of your furniture to my home. Our living room is yours. Our dining room is your dining room, not my office. Our kitchen table is your kitchen table. We didn’t need to move any of your furniture into our home, we had our own. I liked my own more.
I’m very proud of Tim and myself for redoing our downstairs to make it well lit, safe and beautiful for you. We added a security system inside and out so we’d be safer.
Mom, dear mom, I want to say I love you too! I wanted this last jaunt of your life to be fun for both of us. It hasn’t been at all. I’m sorry, it could have been. Hey maybe it still will be.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that you being at the end of your life, doesn’t leave me far beyond. Perhaps, you can remember that. This is my time to be a grandmother, (Gaga), you had your time, and you’ve had 14 years of being a great-grandmother. Which no one calls you, my grandchildren call you grandmother. You’ve been such a superb grandmother and great-grandmother. If I can follow in your generosity my family will be blessed.
Most of all my dear mom, I want you to have peace with God. It seems like we’ve gone through so much. Many people live with hardships, loses, sadness, weakness, and pain. Everyone has a story. No death, sickness, loss, or wildfire is fair. I realize that doesn’t take away your pain, but we’re not alone. Maybe you do have something in common with other seniors, afterall. This life is a freaking journey, and most of it is a struggle.
Though you’ve in a skilled nursing facility for awhile because of your fall, I hope you know how much you are loved and cared for. I hear how you long to come back to your home, my home, just to be in your own bed, your own recliner, your own room. Maybe this is what it took for you to appreciate all of what you have, but I need you well enough to come home, my love for you can’t do that. That my dear mom, takes work on your part, and a lot of God’s love and strength. It also takes forgiveness and trust on my part. Today when you said, I’ll never go upstairs again, is possibly true, I doubt you’ll be physically able too. It felt like a lie, you said that already, a lot.
Most of all dear mom, I want to spend eternity with you. I pray you come to know Jesus in a personal way. Jesus loves you more than you know. He’ll fill your room with light and peace. He’ll comfort your soul deep down, and best of all Jesus will fill you with the hope to live for eternity.
Original Letter to my Daughter was found on Facebook. I want to give proper credit, but only found the same letter on the Alzheimer’s site. No author named.
Back in the day!
December 2017 – 3 weeks after fall.
One of my many happy places – granddaughters and me 🙂