Kate asks Kay: How have you felt about taking things over that your parents can no longer do, e.g. guilt, frustration, angst?
Kay responds: As it became very obvious that my parents were struggling, the first emotion I felt was anger and it was mostly focused on my mom. For more than thirty years, my mom had told us “Don’t worry, we will take care of everything so you won’t have to take care of us.” I wasn’t angry about helping, it was that she believed what she said so thoroughly, she was and is still unable to really accept help.
When I showed up to help my get my mom to the neurology appointments after her stroke, she would bounce between appreciative and confrontational. At the time, she knew my dad was unable to help her so she accepted my help. As she got stronger she worked to push me away and started denying she had the stroke.
I moved to frustration when my parents would start asking for help, then deny asking for it when I showed up to assist with the task.
Today, I’m just sad. Not only did I lose my parents but they are doing many things in public that are eating away at their reputation and dignity. They don’t recognize it or remember and they won’t allow anyone but a family member to be with them. We now hear from their friends within the retirement community about their behavior.
I am more than happy to help manage bills and the household, but my parents can’t accept it and will do things that make helping them twice as difficult (double paying bills, paying bills from old accounts, misplacing mail). They will not allow the bills to come to me and the one saving grace has been setting up electronic bills through the bank account.
The only option we seem to have is to spend time with them (which doesn’t really control the bad behavior, we just get to witness it). The retirement community is recommending we pursue guardianship and place them into a controlled access assisted living arrangement. It seems like stripping them of their self-worth and it’s not how we choose to spend the last few memories our parents may have of their children. Which leads me to depressed.