Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where in the World is Suzann?

This has been a hectic time. My client work is interesting and fulfilling yet very time consuming. My friend V arrived from Seattle late Thursday night and we are having a nice time just hanging out - talking, laughing, cooking, watching movies - yesterday, Deb came and we had massages - a nice relaxing time.

My mother had surgery last Tuesday night and was released from the hospital yesterday. She ripped the tendon loose from her knee cap = ouch! It was reattached and she has a cast from her hip to mid-calf. She is getting around with a wheel chair and a walker. Our family friend R is there caring for her right now. Blessings abound! She will have a home health care aid beginning next week. The cast will be on from 6 to 8 weeks and "then we will see." At her age, one does not heal as rapidly - we are all hoping and praying that it heals and she is walking again in a couple of months. We just don't know.

I was scheduled to depart for Colorado on November 9th for another week-long grief seminar at the Center for Loss and Life Transition last night I changed my reservation (Wow, was that expensive!) and am leaving for California on November 8th - I am needed at home. I have no other time on my calendar that I can be away without compromising client work.

I am disappointed about my training - I was so anticipating this next intensive course in the series entitled "Counseling Skills Fundamentals." I was also looking forward to seeing my teacher and being in the community of learners. No biggie, this particular training topic will be given next year - my mother needs me now.

The time has arrived to have the conversation no one wants to have with their parent - we need to make plans for her to sell the house and find a smaller, one level place to live. Of course, the current real estate market makes for a less than optimal time to sell but it needs to be done. I don't think we have to put the house on the market the week I am there - she needs time to heal and to adjust to the idea. There is no more denial - it is a matter of identifying the time frame and getting the real estate agent working on it. I will look at different types of housing options while I am there this time.

This is the thing I most feared, some type of incident that would force the issue. I watched and played a major caregiving role with my dear MIL - she stayed and stayed in her house, refusing to consider a move and when she finally was forced (by dementia) to move out, she could not adjust to the assisted living facility. The end came quickly.

In my mother's case, I think it is prudent to see how she heals, that will inform the type of housing she next needs to find. I have worked very hard at trying to understand - my mother is not incompetent although she has been in denial - she is walking a path that I have yet to traverse (if I live that long). I treat her with dignity and respect, she is not a child. I keep in mind how I want my own children to treat me as the years progress. Oh how difficult it is when you see some things very clearly - I have said for a very long time, "Mom is one accident away from bigger changes that she knows." I am truly sorry to have that come to pass.

The Autumn continues to be spectacular in the north country. This morning we are going to church and then out for brunch and a quick stop at the Farmers Market for the last corn of the season and a big ol' pumpkin for a Jack O'Lantern. Have a wonderful Sunday. One terrific thing is - there is wireless internet at mother's house - I will be able to post some great fall wine country photos.

More to come..........


  1. I am so sorry to read of your mothers physical problems...I hope she does heal well, dear Suzann. You know, I have come to see that "denial" at certain times is a really wonderful thing. It can lengthen someone's survival, truly.
    I had a friend who had cancer...and it was at a point where no more could be done. His attitude? "I'm going to beat this thing!"....And I tell you, this elongated his life far beyond what the doctors had predicted. Is that wrong? Well, I don't think so. It's was his life.
    Sometimes the depression that comes with hopelessness is worse than the physical disease or breakdowns that are present.

    It sounds like you have a good understanding about your mothers needs, including her need to be in denial. Sometimes, that is all we have to keep that little important flame of hope alive.

  2. I am glad your friend is there to share some of this beautiful autumn season. Sending best wishes for good progress to be made when you and your mon discuss the future. safe travels, suzann.

    my sister and i face a similar situation with our parents our situation is complicated by a mother with dementia and severly restricted mobility, and a father who is a control freak living in total denial. he resents any suggestion we make and lashes out with hurtful, verbal abuse over the simplest issues we try to resolve. he makes very poor decisions in regard to our mother's care because he is so self-involved. he has made our lives a nightmare recently, and his determination to change NOTHING has caused their lives to be so much more difficult than necessary. :((

  3. How well I know that process! One thing that worked well for us was to tell Mother this: "Mom, it would be irresponsible of us to let you live by yourself now." I think that helped a lot, but it still took a long time for her to accept that she would not be going home from assisted living. Rather, she *was* home. Allow her to grieve; let her be a huge part of the search for her new home. It will be tough for you both, but in the end you will know that you did the right thing, out of love, for your mom.

  4. Suzann, sorry to hear of the challenges you and your mother now face. Sounds like you are very attuned to the nuances of the situation. Decisions I had to make with my mother years ago were among the most difficult I ever had to make in my life. Fortunately, we had discussed all this and reached an understanding long before decision day. I still experienced the actual change as very emotionally difficult.

    Your fall photos are spectacular reminding me of my recent trip viewing the changing leaf colors in Michigan last week.

    My thoughts will be with you and I wish your mother a rapid successful recovery.

  5. that is a tough one when the elderly get to that point. I hope I make my own plans and accept reality but I know it won't be easy. My in-laws made the choice to move to assisted living apartments before it was forced onto them (although they were in their late 80s when they did it). My mom would have had a hard time with such a decision and fortunately died before it became required. Old age is tough and hard on the kids too as you do want to treat them with respect for making their own choice. We all will face it for ourselves, but it won't be easy when we do-- however we do it.

  6. Oh dear Suzann,
    you have really some hard nuts to combat.
    I know how long time it took to convince my mother to leave her home and accept where she now lives.

    The other side of the coin is that my brother moved into her home - for free. "to take care of his mother's home" - he is a Lawyer.
    Expanding the Laws, who does that better than Lawyers, and theirs message to their Clients? hahaha

    btw. very busy for the time beeing. That's great these days.

    Will come to old Europe next year?


    PS. Have been extremely occupied in the past in my new assignement - I love it, thinking about my young at heart age