The post I didn’t want to write

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and then immediately put off publishing it. However, today is my mother’s birthday, and it seems somehow an appropriate time to finally put this out there.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.


“How’s your Mom doing?”

These are the words that I dread to hear. Although I know that this is a question people ask out of concern and to show that they care, the truth is that there is no other subject I would least like to talk about. It’s sad and tragic, and talking doesn’t make anything better.

For the last few years my Mom has been suffering from a combination of Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. In essence, her brain has been very slowly shutting down. Against all denial, I’ve had to accept the truth – that¬†the woman who I knew as my mother is gone. I can’t call her for advice, or support, or to tell her about something funny that happened that day. I have to contend with the fact that she will never know her future grandchildren, and they will never know her. There are so many future memories that I had planned in my head that are gone, before they even had a chance to happen.

Despite everything, I still consider myself “lucky”. My parents were smart enough to take out long-term care insurance years ago, and it has enabled my step-father, Henry, to have in-home nurses to care for my mother seven days a week without going into debt, allowing him a break and to maintain whatever amount of a normal life that he can. I am blessed with family and friends who support us in whatever way they are able, whether it be cooking dinner for Henry or cracking jokes to keep everyone smiling. I have an amazing husband who will always hold me when I need to cry and has never questioned the cost of a plane ticket when I need to go home. I have to constantly remind myself that things could be a lot worse, and on most days I feel like my life is normal, if not blessed. But of course, there are other days when all that seems to matter is that I want my Mom and she isn’t here. Grief is more of a roller-coaster than I would have previously thought.

I have been debating writing about this for a long time. Because although I like to feel that this is my place to come and share parts of my life, there are topics that have until now felt inappropriate to post on this site. See those advertisements off to the right? They bring in money, however humble the amount may be, and although I have no moral dilemma with exploiting my talents with cooking or sarcasm, I would never want to feel that I was exploiting my mother or the situation she is currently in. Until now I have made a purposeful decision to leave her off of Pink Basil.

That is, however, until I read this post. After reading it I felt better, knowing that I am not alone. And when I reflected on how it felt to read the words of stranger and know that we were somehow connected, I knew that I wasn’t ¬†helping anything by not writing about what is such a continuous part of my thoughts every day.

This situation and my feelings on it are not something I can sum up in one blog post (I’m doubtful that I can truly put some of them into words at all). Nor am I going to allow them to take over this site. But writing about it can make anyone else feel less alone, or if I can use this place to sort through my own complicated feelings, then I hope it will be worth it.

Thanks, as alway, for reading. XOXO

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11 Thoughts on “The post I didn’t want to write

  1. becky on April 28, 2012 at said:

    Thanks for sharing. Hugs.

  2. Henry Johnson on April 28, 2012 at said:

    What a wonderful way to say, “I love you, Mom.” We had a fabulous birthday dinner for your mother this evening with your grandmother, two uncles, three aunts (including the infamous Aunt Sara), and me all sharing a lot of love. Keep thinking and penning great thoughts. Love, Henry

  3. I’m so glad you shared with us. I know this post will bring comfort to someone else in this situation to know they are not alone. Stay strong, and thanks again for being so brave :)

  4. Rich on April 28, 2012 at said:

    Tere and I are headed back for a visit over MD Weekend. We will give her a big hug and a kiss for you … and also try to keep a lid on the Infamous One.

  5. I’ve read so many of your posts without commenting, but could not let this one go without saying how much I feel for what you are going through. It’s a bizarre thing, seeing your mom go down a path you cannot follow or even really understand. Perhaps the strongest feeling I had when going through something like this just over a year ago with my mom was impotence. Being able to write about it, putting the situation into words and then putting the words out there, was somehow incredibly helpful to me. I hope you get some of the same relief. Hang in there!

  6. Thanks for sharing this with us in hopes that people will know that they are not alone. And happy birthday to your mom

  7. Mary on April 30, 2012 at said:

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult situation with us. I can’t even imagine what you must feel, but I hope it helps to know that we’re feeling for you!

  8. Much love to you, Caro. Thinking of you and your mom.

  9. Tere on June 7, 2012 at said:

    Don’t know how I missed this earlier but I”m so glad you wrote it. Bless your heart! The only thing for all of us, it seems, is to figure out how best to be with this, as much as we wish it was different, and hope she can feel the love. I’m in awe and deep appreciation for Henry, Sara, and the amazing care-givers.

  10. Molly on July 15, 2012 at said:

    Hi Caroline,
    I have read your blog and previous blog for a couple of years. I was catching up on posts and found this one. I know how you feel, as my mother just passed away on Mothers Day weekend. She was pretty much bedridden and while not having the illness your mother has, she had quite a few other issues as well as some dementia. I know exactly what you mean when you say that you can’t talk to her, that she won’t be around for grandchildren, etc. My husband and I adopted our daughters 4 yrs ago and my mother has been the best grandmother she could, considering her circumstances. My children miss her, I miss her, and finally last week I felt like I wasn’t going to cry every day for my mother. I spent 18 days clearing out her house and going through her belongings. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I knew my mom would probably pass away at some point (my brother died suddenly last year and my father who had remarried, in 1996) but when she did pass away (hospice was involved) I was unprepared for the amount of grief I felt (even though I knew and tried to prepare myself for it). Hugs to you and your family. I’m glad you shared here.

    • Caroline on July 16, 2012 at said:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Molly. I’ve definitely come to realize that losing a parent it something that no one can understand until they go through it. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to deal with the idea of losing her. It’s helped me to know that others go through the same thing, I hope it’s helped you. Big hugs back to you and your family.

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