Did I ever mention how I have had a love/hate relationship with my mom for most of my life? I am sorry, God, but today was mostly a “hate” day. She was completely obsessed with her past needy addictions. For the two hours I was with her at the Dermatologist going over her skin cancer biopsy, she didn’t stop begging for cigarettes. She hasn’t had a cigarette in 3 years, so I figured that I could change subjects and divert her attention like I usually can do. Well, today I was not that lucky. She got louder and more insistent as the day went on, so I finally gave in and bought her a pack, from which I let her smoke a couple.
Things got ugly after that. I should have known that it wouldn’t curb her cravings. It only heightened them and turned her into a crazed maniac.I literally had to run out of the Care Center and escape from her today as she chased me in her wheelchair to the door saying that she was coming with me, all because she wanted her nicotine fix. Only she claimed otherwise yelling out, “I want to pick up those kids with you, I miss them, please!!” I am full of resentment and hate in those moments, much like the good old times. She looks at me with those crazed caged animal eyes…”How could you do this to me? I want those cigarettes!”
I then live with the guilt…I created this…I gave in to her insisted begging and relentless desperate pleading. I bought the cigs…her first love..even though she hasn’t had them for 3 years. This was the enabling I stopped long ago…why would I give in now?
Oh, I told myself, it’s OK, she’s in a care center. What will one or two cigarettes do? What will it hurt to have a couple outside of there? Well, it’s because now she is crazed to get out and have more. Those poor nurses now have to deal with her. Sorry guys, I’ll try to be smarter next time. I wonder how many deal with the guilt of wanting your parent to die. Would it then put us all out of our misery? I know in my heart of hearts that would not fix anything. You feel wrong…not just wronged. You feel like you messed up. Oh…if only I didn’t get her those cigarettes, or let her have that one drink (in the past).
I want to scream at her when she says, “What RIGHT do you have to tell me what I can do?!” How dare you!”
“Don’t EVER say that to me again”, she says. “YOU HAVE NO RIGHT.” And then, just as quickly, she switches subjects and says, “Oh, I need to get my golf clubs, if your father thinks I’m staying here all winter, he’s crazy.” I mistakenly say, “Mom, you haven’t golfed in almost 10 years.” And she responds, “What?!! You are crazy! I golfed the summer before last! Sometimes I think YOU are the one with the memory problem!” I later get calls from her (she borrows the phone from the nurses station) telling me how awful I was to leave her there, and it’s the meanest thing I have ever done to her.
No one really knows how deeply lonely it is to be in your 30’s and have an ill, deranged parent who has the body and mind of a 90-year-old. Not one of my friends my age have similar situations. Sure, I have tried the Dementia support groups, but I am always the youngest one. Some can relate in certain ways, but it’s not the same. There are not support groups for children with parents who destroyed their brain with chemicals (Alcohol Dementia).
All of this is a huge reason I rely on my faith so heavily. It is why I go to regular mass and Eucharist Adoration. I pour out these heartaches and troubles and guilts, and I lay them at my Lord’s feet, and I say,
“Lord…PLEASE…I trust you, I love you. I can’t hold these..they weigh me down…please help me learn how to turn them into good. I don’t want them to fester and poison my heart. I want you to weed out these suffocating and toxic guilt’s and pains…and plant them anew. Plant new seeds of trust, peace, love, and compassion…because I can’t do it alone.”
And when I am done, I feel as if a two ton weighted stone was lifted from my back. I am free of the crushing worry and sadness. I feel His grace holding me…like an invisible had at the small of my back is keeping me standing up straight and tall…unafraid. And I know he will catch me.
It’s as if He is whispering, “It’s alright, I am here with you…walk in peace…have no fear…We’ll get through this together.”
And the more I surrender and stay attuned and connected through prayer and my faith…the more I feel His constant healing care and grace supporting me and guiding me.