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Lost my Dad and my Mom isn't who I thought she was

Discussion in 'Loss of a Parent' started by frecklesinthesun, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. frecklesinthesun

    frecklesinthesun New Member

    Hi everyone. I feel like I need to write out my story, perhaps to help me heal. I don't feel like I can tell my story to a lot of people because it is pretty messed up.
    My parents were married for over 50 years. I thought they loved each other, but since my Dad passed away in April, I am not so sure. My Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about a year and a half ago. My parents continued to live in their home until January 2018. My Dad was getting worse, he had his driver's license taken away and after what may have been a stroke, lost control of his bodily functions. They had home health aides coming frequently, but it wasn't enough. My Mom was taking on the majority of the care giving and has mentioned little bits of how their relationship changed, how my Dad changed from his illness. She says he turned mean on her. She said he would yell insults at her from the other room, interspersed with yelling "I love you!". For a long time he refused to wear Depends. My Mom had large plastic spatulas in all of the bathrooms, and I wondered why for the longest I realize it was to scrape the waste into the toilet. My sister tells me about the times he messed on the carpet and my Mom just covered it with a towel and ignored it. My sister ended scrubbing the mess out of the carpet. My Dad fell getting out of the shower on Christmas Day and went to the hospital. He ended up being ok, but it was the beginning of the end. My Mom fell in January 2018 and broke her wrist. This was the breaking point, she wasn't able to help him anymore and he was declining pretty steadily. They moved into assisted living and I moved into their home.
    My sister and I visited them every weekend at the assisted living facility. My Dad was steadily losing weight but seemed alert for the most part. We knew he wasn't happy there, but at least he was safe and help was there if something went wrong. There were no indications that my Mom wasn't the loving wife, making sure he was comfortable, suggesting things to bring to him from home that he might like. He continued to not wear Depends on a regular basis and my mom would bring laundry back to the house several times a week to wash. I knew it wasn't the ideal situation, the assisted living facility only washed a certain amount of laundry a week and my Dad was soaking blankets and sweatpants every night.
    Then came the week that we knew his passing was coming soon. He stopped eating, according to my Mom. He was put on a catheter. He was confined to a wheelchair, and then to his bed. We knew the end was near.
    My sisters and brother flew out to be with him. My Mom spent the days either sleeping in a chair or out shopping. The day before my Dad passed, one of the workers at the facility shared some information with us. She said that my Dad's oxygen concentrater had been found at 1 1/2. It was supposed to be at 3. It was always supposed to be at 3. She also told us that my Mom was never at the facility. She would leave in the morning and return at night. I have no idea where she went or what she was doing. They said my Mom would give my Dad her anxiety pills before she left so he didn't call her repeatedly while she was out. My Dad didn't want to go to the dining room to eat without my Mom. My Mom told us that my Dad slept through breakfast and when he woke up he would drink an Ensure. The facility staff member told us that there were never empty Ensure containers in the garbage. They took the trash out of all of the rooms and therefore would see the trash. It was so odd that other staff members were getting suspicious. One of the staff members would come into their room after my Mom was gone and feed my Dad oatmeal. She said he ate it all and sometimes wanted more. The night my Dad died showed my Mom's true colors.
    My sister's and I had headed for home and my brother stayed at the facility. He noticed shortly after my sisters and I had left that my Dad had stopped breathing. He told my Mom, she got out of her chair, looked at my Dad's chest and said, "You're right. We should probably call someone." And then she went back to her chair and went to sleep. She called my sisters and me shortly after it was official that my Dad had passed. We drove to the facility and she was there, sounding like she was crying but there were no tears. After about 20 minutes she went back to her chair and fell asleep.
    Now she says that she had some type of stress disorder and doesn't remember much of that night. My Dad's memorial service was this past weekend. My sisters and I were holding onto hope that she loved our Dad enough to be prepared for his service by creating a memory board. She created it that morning before the service with her granddaughter's help. She gave a eulogy with no emotion, no tears. She does not seem to care one bit that her husband of over 50 years passed and I think she assisted in the acceleration of his passing. I have no proof, only what I saw with my own eyes and what I was told from the assisted living facility.
    I feel like I have lost both parents. My Dad was a gentle, loving soul, my Mom is someone I am not wanting to spend time with. I know I don't know how their marriage transpired throughout his Alzheimer's disease. But I feel that what was shared with me from the caregivers and from my Mom's actions prior (and after) the night my Dad passed has changed our relationship forever.
    If you have read this far, I thank you. This is a cleansing of my soul and I don't think there is an easy answer for a situation like this. I suppose that if someone who comes across this in a similar situation will realize that they're not alone, and it will help.
  2. Emily Northcutt

    Emily Northcutt New Member

    First of all, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I cannot even begin to imagine how painful it is to lose a parent to Alzheimer's.

    I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's back in 2015. At first, the progressiom of her disease was slow, but the last two years of her life were filled with health issues, similar to your dad's. The major difference here was that my grandmother had lost her husband nearly 40 years prior to her passing, and my uncle was the primary caregiver, even after she was moved into a facility specializing in Alzheimer's patients.

    What I can tell you (and you probably already know) is that Alzheimer's is a disease that no one can prepare you for, and it sounds to me like your mother struggled with it greatly. To be the sole caretaker and provider for your father and to watch him lose his memory, his ability to care for himself, and his dignity is not easy on anyone, but especially a spouse.

    There are many emotions that can creep up into the picture...many times, those include resentment and frustration, along with extreme sadness and helplessness. Unless you have skills to cope with those feelings, it is very easy to break down. It sounds to me like this is what happened to your mom.

    Many times, people who are caregivers to a person with a terminal illness have emotions that an outsider might classify as "unnatural". They may experience relief at their loved one's death, and then the resulting guilt of that relief. I believe from what you said that she is suffering greatly with the conflicted feelings she has about your dad's passing, and she needs an outlet in which to discuss and process those emotions in a healthy way. I would suggest that she go see a counselor when she is ready if she is open to the idea.

    You have every right to ask questions, and feel hurt and disappointment (even anger) at your mother right now. You feel she abandoned your dad in his ultimate time of need. You have, in a way, lost them both. Your mother's life revolved around caring for your dad, and she spent 50 years with him. A part of her has died with him. I would also suggest if you can get counseling for the way you are feeling, it would be positive.

    To me, it sounds like your mom needed help coping with this a long time ago, and she is probably hurting and has hurt her in more ways than many of us could possibly understand. Unfortunately, we often don't realize we need help until it is too late and we're too deep.

    It saddens me to know that you are dealing with this on top of losing your father. Nothing any of us say will take away your pain, but just know that you are not alone.
    bluebell likes this.
  3. frecklesinthesun

    frecklesinthesun New Member

    Thank you for your response :) This new journey without my dad has been unlike anything I had ever imagined. My mom is seeing a therapist, and I am strongly considering seeing one myself. I am hoping that she is able to be honest with her therapist so she can begin to heal and restore the relationship she has with her children.
    bluebell likes this.