Friday, March 26, 2010

The Visit - Part 8

(About ten years ago mom went back to her home town and reunited with her remaining family. The temple in the background used to be her elementary school. It has always been a temple.)

I woke up in a quiet house and started bawling. I’m leaving tomorrow and mom will be on her own again. I’m worried sick to think she has to do everything herself in her frail condition. There’s a limit how much friends can help, and mom hates to bother her friends. I can’t move here for a couple of reasons. It’s hard for her to move in with me for a couple of reasons. I felt gutted with no feasible solutions in sight.

We talked about it after mom got up. We both thought the senior home would be the last resort. Moving in with me would be the best way to go. I will go back and get things in order. I may have to sell my house and get a ground level unit to accommodate her mobility issues. I’ll have to think about the financial part of it. I felt a little better.

I made mom practice the buttons on the new radio we bought yesterday. She got frustrated by the buttons last night that she lost temper and wanted to return it. I assured her new gadgets nowadays were all alike--they are getting more and more complicated. Besides, this is the only model they have that plays cassettes. The only thing to do is to be patient (a real challenge for mom) and practice.

I encouraged her to do the exercise recommended by the therapist. She said she’d been exercising for forty years and look at her now. She’d rather die, she said. She does the bicycle pedaling everyday for forty-five minutes, but sits in front of the TV for the rest of the day. The stomach exercise is the most important one--it helps her stand steadily and upright, thus reduces her risk of falling. I’ll have to call her twice a day: once in the morning to remind her about the stomach exercise, over which she will no doubt have a fit, and once before bedtime to check on her.

I counted the capsules and tablets she takes everyday. There are fourteen bottles and about forty pills a day. Only one of them was prescribed by her doctor. All the others are either vitamins or supplements with magical powers. I worried about her vitamin A intake, which exceeded daily allowance by about one thousand eight hundred MCG. She told me she’d been taking it for years, and my worries were complete nonsense. I read all the effects of vitamin A overdose to her. She finally agreed to reduce the dosage by half. Maybe the one about hair loss got her attention.

Mom asked me if there were doctors in my area. I said why no, we use voodoo rituals to cure diseases. Surprisingly, she didn’t get mad. I felt bad for being a smart aleck.

The lawyer turned out to be a disappointment. She neglected to tell us a couple of things, and the fee subsequently increased to over one thousand dollars. Mom said forget it unhappily, then she got up and left. We forgot to ask if we owe the lawyer any fees for the tiny amount of work she had done so far. Mom didn’t think we owe her anything.

I’m still torn by the question of where she should live. The best choice for her is to stay here, but that means I have to somehow find work in her area so I will be readily available to her. I hate making decisions.

* * *

The taxi was a little late. Several times mom wanted to go back and call the company. I didn’t remind her with the fact that she didn’t speak a word of English. I stopped her each time and told her I had hours to kill at the airport, so five minutes was nothing.

She stayed at the building entrance as I ran out in the rain to the taxi. We waved briefly and the taxi pulled her out of my sight. I talked to the driver nonstop so I wouldn’t start crying again. I found out his original country, his educational and work background, and his near future plans.

There are choices to be made and none of them is easy. The best one seems to be for mom to stay in her house and for me to go there. That means I have to give up my life as I knew. Am I ready for it? I lost count of the times I cried during this visit. I will likely lose count of the times we fight over little things if we live together.

The minute houses laid out in neat square patches below the clouds. I looked at the picturesque land below and wondered how much sorrow filled how many houses down there. I used to think the view from the airplane windows were magnificently beautiful. I know now there are untold stories, some gut wrenchingly sad, are being played out as I write.


  1. Oh Sarah, my heart so know this story. It is not an easy journey but I promise you will never regret having the time with your mother. It won't be easy but it will be worth the end at least. I promise you, it will.

  2. I've been through those rough times before. The questions are endless and seem unanswerable. Somehow the answer does come. I agree with Marla about not regretting spending the time with your mother. I put my life on hold to do it and I am so glad I did. I can look back now and feel assured that I did the right thing. Best wishes hon. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  3. Sarah, I'm sorry you and your mom have to go through this tough time. You know I feel for you. Best wishes. I really hope it works out for you.

  4. marla, rae - i know it will be hard, but i don't want to have any regrets in the future. i hope as time goes on some of the questions will be answered. thank you for your kind words and support.

    tina - i think about you and your mom constantly. she is in my prayers as well. hope she recovers soon.

  5. I'm in the process of moving my dad up to live with me while he goes through cancer treatment.

    I haven't had the strength to write about it... I've never cried so much in my whole life as I have the last few days.

    But somehow reading your story inspires me. I wont be able to share publically for a while but I think I will write. And see what happens.

    Thanks Sarah. *sniff*


  6. oh charlene, i'm so sorry to hear that. i know how hard it is to see the pain and difficulties your own parents have to go through. your dad has a great daughter to lean on. my thoughts are with you. <>

  7. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

    I hate waking up to sad stories, Sarah!!!


    Old age sucks...sigh...

    xoxo (I'm always here with ya...even when it seems I'm not, kiddo!)

  8. Ive had similar (bad) experience myself. they even went to the extent of claiming that i still had 5 sessions left to go (when in fact i had actually finished) just to get me back to their place n brainwash me into continuing with them. i think ive wasted at least rm5000 on them. i think my hair fell even more when i shampooed using their products at home!

  9. Oh, taking care of your parents is the hardest job of all. I've been there, and I feel for you. But you're on the right path. Talking about the issues involved with your Mom is the best way to handle this difficult situation.

  10. msburb - thank you for being there.

    melissa - yes, talking is the way to do. it's hard to talk with her since her mind is going, it seems, as well. sigh...

  11. Apologies for my absence in commenting on your blog, Sarah- i've been awol for a while! So i've just finished reading all parts of 'The Visit.'

    I hope this was cathartic for you- writing it all down- getting it out. It sounds as if it needed to be.

    Going through a tough time at the moment. I hope it gets better. But i also agree with above comments. You're spending time with your mum. It may be difficult and draining but you won't look back on it that way.

    All the best. :)

  12. lou - no apologies necessary. been away myself busying with mom. yes, it needed to be out and thanks to all of you who put up with my long winding mom's stuff and all the support you provided.

  13. That is a very hard choice to make - but you are brave and wise so you'll make the right one x

  14. fish - thanks and same to you. there must be another winslet bosom who's not taken out there.

    kitty - thank you for the vote of confidence.

  15. It is not an easy path to go through but all the love and time you give your mother is so precious....

  16. Tough journey, Sarah. I'm doing it too. I gloss over it but it is majorly tough!!! Living together won't work for me so I have lots of guilt, lots! You sound like a saint! I wish you the best on this journey.
    Sandra M. Wilkes (FB)

  17. lorenza - i only hope my patience won't run out in the long run

    sandra - i can assure you i'm far from being a saint. i have guilt too as i go back and forth on whether to move in with her or not. either way it's hard and i completely understand the 'won't work for me' part. cheers!

  18. I am so glad I did. I can look back now and feel assured that I did the right thing. Best wishes hon. Keeping you in my thoughts.
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