When a Mother Picks the Wrong One to Love
I called my mother-in-law today to see if she would like to come with me to a family event and she seemed a little out of sorts. She turned down the invite and referred to herself as the black sheep. She seemed hurt and rather cold with me. I had been wondering why she never seemed comfortable with me anymore. I instinctively knew something was very wrong with her, even worse than it had already been. I started to probe a bit to find out what might be troubling her and she said, “I don’t want to be a bother to you anymore”. I ask her, “why are you saying this, what has happened with you, I thought we were in a good place now”. I reminded her of how much I love her and how we have been together almost every day for 16 years and I ask her why she felt I didn’t want her around. Your mother told me that you spoke to her about the mean things I said to you about her. She also told me about all the phone calls you said you received from me complaining that she was too much for me to handle. You also told your mother I wanted her out of my other house. After talking with your mother and explaining my side of this sad situation, I decided she needed to know about the concerns I had for her and what part you played in this whole thing.
Sister-in-law did you tell your mother that when I called you about her health I told you I felt uncomfortable having to be the one to scold her for things that she was not doing properly, like eating healthy, remembering to wash up or not buying her personal supplies she need. I told you she wasn’t willing to spend money on herself because she was saving every dime hoping you would come from Toronto to visit her if she could help you pay for it. Did you tell her that when you told me you were putting her in a home, I begged you to take her to Toronto to be close to you because she misses you? Did you explain to her that I felt it was your job to oversee her care and make the major decisions for her because you are her daughter not me. I was also wondering if you told her about the trip you just took in January were you spent several days visiting but only found time to visit her for one day, I bet you left that out, in fact I bet you left out the part about all the other times you tried to avoid spending time with her too. It was me that told her about those trips and it was because of me you ended up having to take some extra time for her. You played these games with her but you weren’t the one having to deal with the hurt, I was. I don’t know why I thought you might be truthful, why would you after acting like that. You say you are a Christian and maybe you are but we must pray to a different god because mine wouldn’t let me act like that.
The way you treated me is wrong but it breaks my heart that you would do this to your own mother. She is 90 years old and has a few years left at best and you live 3000 miles away. You have shown very little interest in spending any real time with your mother and your weekly phone calls don’t count. Your management of your mother is selfish and questionable. We are her family too and you are robbing her of time with us. I don’t understand your motives and I don’t know why you would want to isolate her any more than she already is. She lives in a one bedroom seniors home with people that are in far worse condition than her physically and mentally, at 90 years old she has very few friends left living that are able to visit, she has almost no one to talk most of the day other than the staff and she almost never gets out for social gatherings. I can’t wrap my head around why you are handling your mother this way considering you have no other commitments besides a day job. Your children are all adults, you have an extra room in your home and financially your mother could help you with expenses. You should take your mother into your home and spend these precious years with her before she is gone. You could have home care come in to assist you with her if needed. You and I both know she is still very independent and would actually be a benefit to you if that’s what you are looking for after all it was you that said you could claim her as a dependent. Maybe that’s why you came to town last year when your mother was getting surgery and changed her power of attorney behind our backs. Changing things over would have been a reasonable thing to do if you had planned to look after her but we both know how that is going don’t we. You mother and I have been friends for sixteen years and in many ways she was a second mother to me. I know she is your real mother, not mine but I have grown to love her and so have my children. Somehow for some reason you have managed to erase us like were never existed.
I thought you and I were close but I should have seen this coming. The warning signs were there, you fell out with other family members that you were very close to, you undermined your husband and his entitlement to your family home. You avoid your mother like she has a decease you can catch (all though that wouldn’t stop me). You my dear are anything but perfect and life is catching up to you. I stood up for you, supported you, I listened to you and I kept your secretes but what did you do for me?
I really don’t like to talk about the things I do for people but I think you need to know what I have done while you weren’t around. It all started 16 years ago when I met your mother. I would help her with her shopping, we would walk downtown and carry her groceries home every couple of weeks, I went to appointments with her, and we spent time painting and decorating lots of rooms in her house and mine. We laughed together, confided in each other, we cried together, we ate together and we even danced together. I cleaned her up after accidents, I stayed with her at the hospital many times, I made sure test were done so we could find out what was wrong, I advocated for her and always put her needs first. As she aged and needed me closer we bought the house next to ours and moved her in. It took Joe and me six months to gut it and rebuild it to suit her needs. I know who you would like to blame but before you do I want to clarify this isn’t about anyone but you and me. This all happened just before I became very ill and nearly died but Joe and I both continued on for her. I have many health issues that continued to torment me and threaten my life and still do but it wasn’t about me. I was with your mother every day and you were only around for a few days a year, if that. There were so many things that your mother and I shared and many more you will never know about. It was just over the last six month of your mother living in the home that things started to get difficult for her. I took my concerns to you thinking, you are her daughter and it is you she needs. When you told me you would not be taking her back to Toronto with you I decided we could sell both our homes and buy a bigger one. We found a perfect house with an en-suite and were going to move her in with us. You underhandedly took control when no one would have objected providing you intended to act on your responsibilities. Instead you put her in a home after I begged you not to and then you blamed me. You control her funds and claim her as a dependant but do nothing to actually help her; you have placed those responsibilities onto other people. To top off your selfish behaviour you are taking her away from me, the one person she has been with the most because you don’t trust me. We both know why you don’t trust me, it’s because you don’t trust yourself and figure we are all out for the same thing. You are not what you want everyone to think you are and someday you will have to answer for the wrongs that you have done. Let’s hope I still have a heart since you broke it! Carolin Palmer
When a Mother Picks the Wrong One to Love