thatgirlsab in Atlanta is doing 40 things including…

mourn my dad, take care of myself and my mom

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Caring for Mom

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thatgirlsab has written 26 entries about this goal

not sure I will ever mark this "complete"

The anniversary of my dad’s death was March 30. Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom, my boyfriend and I went to Texas to visit my aunt (my dad’s sister) and visit his grave. I remember on the first anniversary (March 30, 2007) feeling like it was a very surreal day. This year, it was easier, but still surreal. I don’t know why, but the anniversary is a weird kind of marker that brings interesting feelings…feelings I don’t otherwise feel very often.

For the most part, those questions that haunted me right after Dad’s death have faded. Questions like “where’s Dad’s soul?” “What really happens when we die?” “What would he say to me if we could see each other again?”

Sometimes, though, something triggers a memory that causes me to just burst into tears out of nowhere. Once, I was watching TV with my boyfriend, and there was a military funeral, complete with firing rifles and folded flags. It was that slow, deliberate, mechanical salute from one of the officers that did me in. One minute, I was totally fine…the next, I was a mess.

Most recently, my boyfriend and I were preparing to cook out. We had gone grocery shopping and were headed to his house to fire up the grill. I started thinking about how much my dad loved to grill (don’t all dads?), and I remembered helping him and pictured him in his too-short white shorts, yellow tank top, and white baseball cap brushing barbecue sauce on chicken at the grill. That memory flooded my senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of all the times I’d watched my dad do that, and I burst into tears.

I imagine it will go like that for a while.

Fortunately, I usually have such moments in a safe place. They’ve often been when my boyfriend is around (probably because we spend so much time together). He’s really wonderful and is a fantastic support.

Meanwhile, taking care of Mom is still challenging. Her house has been on the market forever but is now under contract. Cross your fingers all goes well! She is doing well but is very difficult to manage. I don’t think she understands that she isn’t mentally capable of making the right decisions most of the time, especially when it comes to money. She also thinks she should start driving again, which I think is just an accident waiting to happen. And she won’t listen to me about most things, which is a major point of stress for me. Seriously, I have a very, very busy job, a serious relationship, and a myriad of other things that could totally be stressing me out, but my mom stresses me out more than anything. I’m sure she has no clue either. I love her to death but I sometimes wonder how I’m going to make it. Fortunately, my boyfriend is an objective outsider and is not as emotionally invested in the situation as I am, so he’s often able to help calm me down or at least make me feel like we’ll figure something out when Mom is being difficult.

I was about to say that this will be a journey…but where am I going? I don’t think this is a journey anymore. I think this is simply my life.

So I’m working on mourning my dad and taking care of my mom. Those are constants in my life. I could work on taking care of myself more. I need to get more sleep, drink more water, and exercise. I have been trying to eat better lately. I’ve gained a lot of weight and am SO out of shape. :( I’m doing a 10k on July 4, so that’s a start. I went and got my hair highlighted and cut today for the first time in many months. It may seem superficial, but it’s something. And I’m checking in on this goal, which is good for me. It’s been so busy and hectic lately that I haven’t had much time for 43Things. I miss the people, I miss the support, and I miss sharing more here. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time to spend here that I did before. But that’s okay…it has to be okay.

Enough rambling…don’t know if this made any sense or not. I’ll try to check in on this goal more often, because it still remains my #1 goal and probably will be for a long, long time.



:(

This is still hard. Very hard.



yesterday

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. I miss him a lot, and going to the Peachtree Road Race as a spectator really reminded me of him.

I don’t think I’ll ever not be sad that he’s gone. It’s weird to think that I will carry that with me for the rest of my life. I can’t even imagine losing my mom…I hope she’s around for a long, long time.

We’re at a physical therapy appointment today. She’s got weakness on her right side from her surgery years ago, and she had a fall recently so the doctor prescribed physical therapy to help strengthen her. It’s going well, so hopefully it will make a difference.



a struggle

This has been a struggle lately. We still have not put Mom’s house on the market but we are making progress to do so. I feel like I have a lot of work to do and have been very unmotivated to do it, to be perfectly honest. I have spent many weekends at the house cleaning, clearing, donating, etc. to get it ready, but it just doesn’t seem like enough.

Besides that, Mom is really, really bored at her new place. There’s not much to do and she is stuck at home all day because she cannot drive. I have looked into the neighborhood senior center and hope to get her involved in some of the activities there, especially since there’s a lot of free stuff that our tax dollars are paying for.

Also, it’s been hard going through all the stuff with the house. I think I have unconsciously procrastinated dealing with it all. Now that I am having to take loads of Dad’s shoes, and perfectly good suits fresh from the dry cleaners to Salvation Army, it’s really, really hard.

I cried this weekend.

I want to cry now.

I feel like I’m just barely passing right now…like I’d get a D+ or a C- for what I’ve been doing lately. I’m not beating myself up for it, but I really need to focus on this part of my life now that work isn’t as insanely busy as it was for a while (it’s still busy, but I actually have time to pee and take lunches now).

Sigh.

My heart feels heavy.



over one year later

Mom and I recently went to Texas on the anniversary of my dad’s death. We visited the cemetery as well as a veterans memorial downtown.

This weekend, Mom moved into her condo, which is right across the parking lot from my new place. We’re still trying to get a lot of things situated (phone, TV, etc.)—but so far it’s really nice having her so close. I think it will be great once she’s settled in.

Now that she’s moved out, we’re working on getting her house ready to sell. There’s still so much work to do, but at least we’re making progress!



finally!

I just got a voicemail that my mom’s Social Security benefits have finally been approved. Yay!!!!!



busy busy

Yesterday was really busy, but we got a lot done. I took Mom to the condo she’s buying for a walkthrough at 9:30 a.m. Then we met an inspector there at 10 before heading to her first doctor’s appointment at 11. After that, we grabbed lunch in the hospital’s cafeteria before her 1:30 doctor’s appointment. Then we went to the closing attorney’s office to sign a power of attorney before going back to the condo to sign some final paperwork. After that, we went by Home Depot before finally heading home.

We’re closing on her condo this Wednesday. Then we’re having a wall knocked down before she moves in. Then I have to get her house ready to put on the market…shuffling furniture around that she’s not moving and getting rid of old furniture that won’t look good in the house. I need to get the painters lined up, and we need to have the exterior of the house pressurewashed too.

I think things will finally slow down in the fall.

Maybe. :P



they don't make it easy

Mom and I went to yet another Social Security doctor’s appointment to help them evaluate her claim for disability benefits. They make the process so difficult and arduous. My mom said she just wanted to give up, it was such a pain in the butt. But I told her that I wasn’t going to give up—that Dad paid into Social Security all those years he was working and she’s entitled to those benefits. It’s been over six months since we initially applied for benefits. If they deny her claim, I will appeal it. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!



woe is me

I was having a world-class pity party for myself yesterday. I had plans with a friend last night and when I called her to firm up the details, she asked me what was wrong…she could hear it in my voice.

Yesterday was hard. For the first time since my dad died, I really wished I didn’t have to be living the life I’m living. Mom threw a few unexpected tasks at me (shopping at Home Depot and Costco, replacing some flourescent lightbulbs, replacing her showerhead)...those things kinda threw a wrench in the schedule of activities I had planned for myself. I’m also thinking more and more about the fact that interest rates are low again now, but I can’t buy until Mom’s house sells because we have to live in the same community, and my commute is going to suck when I start my new job, and I miss all my stuff – my furniture, and my bedding, and my dishes – and I don’t have a space of my own where I can put pictures on the wall and cook dinner for friends.

Boo hoo.

I know it’s temporary. But it’s still hard. My living situation will eventually change. But the fact that I am taking care of Mom will never change. Of course I want to take care of my mom, but sometimes – honestly – it is hard when I am trying to balance my life, work, personal interests, etc. with managing everything related to her life and her household.

Okay…just needed to vent. :(

I’ll get over it…I’m sure. I’ve been called “a good coper” many times, whatever that means.



busy busy

There’s been so much to do lately. I had to drive a check out to our financial advisor to cover a tax withholding fiasco with some rollover funds from my dad’s retirement account. We’re still trying to get Mom’s disability benefits approved. I’m taking her to a doctor’s appointment Wednesday morning. And there’s so much to do around the house. All this on top of all the other stuff I have going on…it’s a lot sometimes.

I also miss my dad. Sometimes it hits me that he’s not ever coming back, and it makes me very sad.

I am looking forward to spring, when we’ll be putting Mom’s house on the market and moving. There’s just so much to do between now and then!



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