I’m finding it very difficult to stay upbeat these days. Mom is severely depressed.

Mom’s still grieving the loss of her independence, even though it’s been years since she’s actually been independent. She’s grieving the loss of her home, the home she imagined she’d be living in until she grew so old she dropped dead in her tracks. She imagines that she has been ripped abruptly from a fully independent existence to this place, my home, where everything is different and things go by “my” rules.

I understand all of this on a conscious level. I know she needs counseling to go with her antidepressants. (It’s hard to find a counselor she likes and trusts.) It’s just difficult to be busting my tail day in and day out for someone who, though they appreciate it on some level, is miserable about being here. Dad isn’t much happier, I know, but he doesn’t express it.

It’s not like when the kids were growing up and they didn’t appreciate what was being done for them. At some point they DID understand, and at some point (I’ve heard) they move out on their own. I know that my dad’s Parkinson’s will get worse… is getting worse. My mom’s dementia is getting worse and so is her depression. Mom has it in her head that if she just gets her body “fixed” she will be magically transported to that independent state she was in 6 or 7 years ago. She wants x-rays and tests and procedures and surgery…. fix it. It can’t happen. Arthritis is irreversible. A bent spine is not going to get straightened. Pain can only be managed sometimes, and then it’s just barely. The end of this journey is truly the end, or a nursing home for my parents. Not a happy ending.

Sometimes I want to give up. I am not sorry I decided to care for my parents, but something has got to change or I’m going to be in a straight jacket or in a hospital with a heart attack. How do I take care of myself when my mother is so miserable? How?


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