Looking Back 2014…

I’ve had a pretty mixed year, I think. On the one hand, I’ve spent some beautiful times meeting old friends, traveling and seeing new places, tasting new foods. On the other hand, the lasting memory of 2014 will probably be Mom’s hospitalisation and the hairy ride before she was discharged, and the difficulties we are now facing with repeated infections.

My relationship with Mom continues to evolve as we both change. Only last year, a friend remarked to me – you speak with your mother as though she were a child. She didn’t mean it negatively, she just found it novel and a bit cute. I only hope she understood why it were so. I had used short sentences, simple ideas, and a sing-song voice, just as one would when speaking to a young one. This comes naturally to me, and I find Mom is less confused and more cooperative when I do this.

Another time, a friend said – She must be terrified at what’s happening to her. This idea was news to me. Mom never spoke about her condition, and she never complained. In fact, she was more inclined to say she was okay even when she wasn’t, which is probably why we often miss the early signs of illness. Mom has a remarkable ability to accept the way things are and carry on. I don’t think she’s scared, more likely just baffled, especially at being unable to do physically what used to come easily.

It’s strange but a new insight into my relationship with Mom came from an acquaintance, who noticed my pet causes had a common theme – You’re pro-choice! Why is this? Could it be you felt you weren’t given a choice? Who took away your choice, was it your mother? A door that had long remained close in my mind opened, and I remembered what my mother used to preach – that children should and can always be persuaded to do what was right.

The problem was, who defined what was right?

I did not always agree with Mom on what was right, but on occasion I was persuaded. If she didn’t fully convince me, I sometimes completed the job and convinced myself, following reason instead of my heart. Believing “I shall overcome”, I have suppressed my deepest instincts to do something else. This has led to some pain, complications, duality.

This past year, I have reflected upon Mom’s influence in my life, and my own complicity in the decisions I made. I am more at peace with Mom, the niggling irritations that I didn’t understand have disappeared. A few years ago, before dementia was diagnosed, Mom said to me – life’s like that, it’s okay. I like to think she can still understand this much, even though the words are now missing.

6 thoughts on “Looking Back 2014…”

  1. I love reading your conflicts – because you express yourself so well. Conflicts that I imagine so many of us have had (and many still have) with their parents.
    Okay, I relate very well to your thoughts, as they hit home to me. I did come to a peace with my mother before she passed – suffering from dementia. It took a number of more years to bring peace to my own psyche. My mother did the best she could. She tried with all her heart. I am now trying to share that with my own daughter. I like to think we are much closer than I was with my own mother. The hardest part is to let her go, then she can reach back to me. (So far, so good.)


  2. I’m grateful to have met you through your writing in 2014. I can relate to the experience of changing with my mother, and having to re-examine what I learned from her as I make my own life decisions. Thank you for your honesty, and best wishes for the new year!


  3. This is such a moving post. The sentence about your mum’s ability to accept things as they are resonated with me becasue dad was much the same. He would look puzzled sometimes when his legs didn’t carry him or his hand couldn’t lift the fork to his mouth but he was always so incredibly calm and dignified about it.
    Interesting insights into your relationship and I hope you will feel you are doing the right thing in caring because it is right for you as well as her.
    Whatever 2015 brings, I wish you both peace and acceptance and joy in what you do.


    1. Thank you for your wishes. I do think it is the right thing even as there are good days and bad days. No regrets.
      Glad you understand about the “dignity” and composure. What you describe about your dad fits my mother too!


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