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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why Does She Do This To Me?

"I've given you power of attorney. My lawyer will send you the papers to sign. It means you will have control over everything, so don't deplete my bank account."

And I'm like....what?!?!?!?

I gently explained that I would never do such a thing, that I respect my father's wishes and will do everything in my power to see them followed through. That I would NEVER take something that's not mine. She knows me better than that. Why does she have to say such things? For goodness sake, she's given me this responsibility instead of my older brother, for the very reason she knows I'm more trust-worthy.

Then she tells me that I will be the one to make the decision on when to "pull the plug". Whoah there woman. No. I told her that she is quite capable now, of making her wishes known in that respect.

Does she wish to be put on a ventilator when that time comes? Decide now.

Would she want resuscitation if she goes into cardiac arrest? Decide now.

I told her I will make sure her wishes are observed, but I will not make the decisions for her. That she is able to put things into place now to document her choices.

I used the opportunity to open up a discussion about what she would like with regard to her final resting place. As, when my dad died, there seemed to be four different versions of what he wanted, depending on whom you spoke with. She said to me: "Just put me in the fire and tell them to get rid of the ashes."

Yes, I know, I know, she's obviously at odds with herself with the inevitabilty of her own situation. I know that I need to consider so many things that she is facing. But I was aghast. So I said, would you like me to bring you back to where Dad is? To which I got - I don't want any of that pallaver. I assured her I would do it quietly. I would even do it myself. I would do that for her. "No" was her answer.

It seems I'm supposed to tell the undertaker: Burn her and dump the ashes. Does she see me in that light? Capable of doing that?

My mother continues her battle, daily, with lung cancer and COPD. She has chosen not to undergo any treatment. She resists even palliative care, surrounds herself with, although well-meaning, sycophants. She presses them into arguing with me when I try to talk to her about the reality of her situation. Actually she's chosen to chase her own death. Her cigarette consumption is up. She misrepresents how she feels and what she is capable of, physically, to her doctors, making it hard for them to help her effectively. I know, I get the reports. She authorised their release to me, so she's aware I read her lies. She tries to engage me in arguments about it. I refuse to be drawn into them.

I'm trying so hard to help her towards the end gently, with all the support I can give her. I'm trying to be a good and true daughter. Why the hell can't she be a loving mother, even now?


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you're the one who's having to deal with this.
Fi, you're being more than patient. Just remember to take care of you, because all this shit is draining.
I admire the way you've handled this.

Steve said...

it sounds like she needs a lot more humility...i.e., a recognition and acceptance of what is really happening

Jac said...

Sounds like she's set you up for life, as her competitor for your dad's affection. So even now, she doesn't see you as an ally, but a foil. What if you didn't put up a fight? How would she respond if you just said, "Yes, mum. Whatever you want" to whatever outrageousness she throws your way? It would be hard for you, but at least you wouldn't have the heavy burden of saving her from herself.

Fiona said...

Sally, I guess I'm used to it...while it frustrates me, it doesn't hurt me like maybe it should.

Yes, Steve, she does, but she's in huge denial right now. My mother has never been one to show emotion in any way. I've tried to talk to her about being prepared, about this not being a gentle journey towards the end. But I guess we all deal in different ways hon.

Jac - I do belive you are spot on with your comment. I think the problem is, that I was always my dad's 'little Fi-Fi' and he confided in me and we had an incredible bond. I did chuckle at the 'Yes, mum' bit. You know what she'd do then though....she'd tell everyone that I don't care and I had been the one to suggest just dumping the ashes. That's how it goes unfortunately.

It's pretty much a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. So I guess it will be damned if I do for now. Thank you all for caring.

chele said...

Fi you can only do what you can do. You cant make her bend and she isnt going to on her own so its a no win situation. You do what you think is best and the rest be damned! You know whats in your heart and truth to be told so does she.

Fiona said...

I know chele....even when I write things, I know I can't change them. I just need to be what she needs me to be towards the end. The tough, reliable, sensible one. She's said it herself. Truth is though, while I might be reliable and sensible, the tough bit gets to me sometimes.

Sunny Delight said...

I too am sorry you must go through all this. She is not going to go gently into the night, or however the quote is.....somehow the drama of dying miserably is in her head.
You are in the right to tell her to make the decisions now.....it is way to unfair of anyone to ask these things of you. I know you will handle it with gentleness and kindness, because that is you. And no matter what she pretends....she knows that.

Fiona said...

'Do not go gentle into that good night'....I have used that with her. Those words.

She is slowly turning into her mother. The prospect of dealing with her like this in her final days scares me. I don't want to end up despising my mother the way she despised hers.

No, she won't go gentle into the night. And yes, I will do everything I can for her. Now, then, whenever she needs it.

You're probably right hon. No matter what she says, she chose me for a reason and I won't let her down.

Just sighs.


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