I started a new job so I have had little time to post anything! I so much loved to write and keep track of the goings on in our lives – it helped to sort out my feelings and the process of learning and adjusting.
We had a little incident that happened this week that is stuck in my craw. The aunt that was moved into a new care home was “visited” by her former caregiver. At first glance, it actually sounds like a nice gesture. The caregiver had opened up her home to our aunt, yes for a price, but it seemed like such a nice arrangement at the time.
At first, life seemed so happy for our aunt. She settled in and started calling her caregiver her “daughter”. I should say that we are grateful that this was the case for quite awhile. Then it started. Our aunt’s cell phone would be taken away from her. We couldn’t have conversations unless the caregiver was home to be in on the conversation. During visits, extended family could not really detect anything was amiss.
To explain a little further, this caregiver rented out a couple of rooms in her house as the cost of living in that part of the country was pretty steep. Those that rented space were happy to have a room while they got on their feet enough to find a place of their own. It was through these folks that my sisters started to get a different story than what was being shown during visits. Though no one could really prove anything, some of the tenants were saying that the caregiver was abusive, abrasive and uncaring.
So, there was an element of surpise when my sisters found out that our aunt had been visited at her new home by this caregiver! It was during this visit that the former caregiver asked our aunt to sign a document. Exactly what it was, we have no idea.
So many unanswered questions for now, but we all need advocates. We all need to know to say “no” if we are not sure of something. Even the best of us – nevermind the elderly or those like our mother that is suffering from dementia – need trusted advisors to help make decisions. I feel like I am of sound mind and judgment, but still ask for help. It is never a sign of weakness to ask for help, but it is a sign of love to be one who helps. I wish my aunt had known this – that she is loved and can always ask.
I am on Facebook with many of my friends – I am grateful to be able to connect even in a small way with those I have known over the last 40 years of raising a family, moving so many times, and crossing paths with truly wonderful people. For those that are my age and older, though the sharing is mainly positive – much of it has been about the struggles that naturally occur with aging and the passage of life and time.
I took a couple of psychology courses in college, but never quite understood some of the nuances of defining and marking stages. I suppose it was because at the time I was a young twenty-something and it was all academic information I needed to know for a test. Just like I wish someone would have mentored me through my mothering experience, I wish someone in the academic world would have stopped and gotten an older person in to simply share experience.
The other piece that is affecting us now but we did not correlate until now is the cultural influence on what is taking place in the lives of mom and her remaining siblings. My sisters and I did not grow up in a traditionally Filipino environment. It was very much mixed and who we are now is the product of being raised in a culture of mixed norms and mores.
Already the conflict is making itself evident in my relationships with my children. They don’t quite understand my stances or reasoning for why I do things. This and the fact that our lives don’t intersect often will create what my sisters and I are seeing in our relationship with our mother. We often misunderstand and misinterpret her values, what she is communicating, and how she communicates. Of course, this is just a blog so is not comprehensive. I am sure there are books out there that explain all this – that I need to read.
Maybe all this is why I feel a need to write it all down. Maybe that is why my sisters and I make it a priority to have an “us” time at least once a year without family – just us in a place where there is no laundry, dishes, or distractions. Maybe I want to do a better job of being cognizant so that I communicate, relate, and connect to those I love.
I see them on Facebook and in church and out in the community. People trying to connect, communicate, and relate. What do I want? I want to do a better job of connecting with mom in the time we have left where she is still able to share in her own way. Then, I want to do a better job of connecting with my family and it won’t be on social media using cryptic posts or tweets.