So far…Mom is doing okay.

Losing a parent has made me incredibly aware of holding tight to the parent I have left. My friend Megan – who also lost her Dad – said it’s actually a thing. Yep. It’s called “surviving parent guilt’.

This explains a lot.

This is probably why Mom gets away with getting SO MUCH MONEY from me. I don’t ask about it, I just provide it – fearful that if I were to say “no”, something would happen to her – she’d be torn away unexpectedly the way my Dad was – and the last thing I said to her was “no”.

So.

I give and I give and I give.

Then Mom was in hospital and the fear of losing her rose up again.

The memories of that 4am phonecall in June 2021 and the words “Your Dad died this morning” rang like a bell in the depths of my soul, along with the memories of Dad coming back ‘safe’ from surgery. He had successful hip surgery and was in bright green, striped shorts with a familiar daggy smile on his face.

“All good, Chook” Dad had said that day “I’m so excited for going home tomorrow”.

God misunderstood and took my Dad home all right. To Heaven.

I didn’t want to lose my Mom after her operation, so for the last 72 hours I’ve been breathing shallow, panicked breaths. I’ve been either at work or at Mom’s side in hospital. Guilt pushing me forward through the fatigue. Fear propelling me onwards even when I’ve needed to rest.

I can’t lose my Mom, God. Please don’t take her away from me.

Shaking, frightened, tired beyond belief and anxious, I visited Mom again today. She had her surgery yesterday afternoon (praise God) so today is much the same as it was with Dad…Mom looked well. Happy, even. Her face lit up when she recognised me coming into her hospital room.

Janny!”

I rolled my eyes at the nickname Mom has given me even though she knows I hate it.

“Hi Mommy – how are you feeling?” I couldn’t help it, I was automatically in ‘parent‘ mode, tidying the sheets around her and making sure her phone was on charge and within reach.

Mom passed me her hairbrush “Sweetheart, can you please brush my hair?”

Sure, Mom.

Because Mom’s left hand was in plaster and a thick bandage – simple things are much harder with just the one hand. I was glad to be able to be useful to Mom.

“You don’t have to be gentle with my hair – just get the knots out” Mom instructed.

I bopped the top of her head gently with her hairbrush “I know what I’m doing, Mom – stop being bossy”.

We both laughed.

I brushed Mom’s hair – frowning at the change in our roles and feeling a bittersweet pain about it because our roles didn’t just change today; it’s been this way for a very long time.

I’ve been parenting my parents for as long as I can remember.

Today was one of the days I didn’t mind.

I’m just glad to have Mom around.

Now I’m at the height of my fear…because my Dad was dead the day after he was returned to his hospital room.

All through today, I keep picking up my phone and tears fill my eyes – wondering when that text from someone will come through:

“Mom died”

“Your Mom is dead”

“You’ll need to sit down for this, Janet…”

Every time my phone buzzes with a text, I die a little on the inside.

I won’t sleep at all tonight.

Please God, don’t take my Mom away.

8 responses to “So far…Mom is doing okay.”

  1. πŸ«€πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. I feel exactly what you’re getting across. I guess it’s inevitable that the roles do change as everyone gets older. The dynamics change. I could feel the love you have for your mom.
    This is very beautiful, Janet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. I love getting comments from you. We don’t get to choose our family, we just have to do our best to love the ones we’re given *shrug* xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to say the first time I tried to do my own blog. I joined Tindr. I was sorely disappointed in the substance (or lack thereof) of the conversations people were having.
        Most of the blogs were about fashion, looking good, fitting in, and being cool. I just couldn’t bring myself to follow anyone. That would have been such a waste of time. After a while, I stopped writing on that blog.
        I’m so happy that the majority of those on WordPress are intelligent and care about things that matter. Even the lighthearted stuff is substantive.
        I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs. I don’t always reply because I’m having some real pain in both my legs. The pain is so bad it’s taking over my life. I need to call my Dr and tell her I can’t take it anymore. I can’t live my life feeling and thinking only pain.
        Well, I don’t want to bore you. Keep writing your posts! πŸ’œπŸ’œ

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh no, Kelly. I’m so sad tp hear you’re in a lot of pain 😞 I’m hoping the Doctors can sort you out and that you won’t have to wait long to see one.

        I love the WordPress community, there are so many genuinely sweet people on here.

        I’ve never tried Twitter and don’t think I will now! Haha. Doesn’t seem worth it.

        I get paid for writing “successful” blogs on Medium and have been really blessed to “meet” a group of supportive writers on there. The only thing is…everyone seems like an experienced writer and their articles are AMAZING so it’s making me work hard to get someone to read my work. I’m not used to having to graft hard but it pays off every month when I see a payment from there. Every month, it’s going up. One day I’ll have enough for a McDonald’s πŸ˜‚

        Like

  3. Oh, Janet. I’m so sorry you’re going through such a tough and scary time right now. I can understand the fear of losing your remaining parent and dreading when they will no longer be with us. It’s strange but very common for our relationships with our parents to reverse as they age.

    I was very aware of this with my own Mum, who had always been such a good source of support for all the years I struggled with my mental health and addictions. As she got older, it was more like me keeping an eye out for and supporting her, although she lived somewhere that wasn’t accessible for my wheelchair, and we didn’t see each other for years before I lost her. I lost my dad in 2012, but he wasn’t a nice man, and I hardly missed him at all. I phoned my Mum every day and more often as she aged. I was emotionally caring for her. I dreaded losing my Mum (six years ago now). She, too, was showing signs of getting better, having been in hospital with pneumonia following her stroke. I remember the nurse telling me, just before I left the day before, that Mum seemed to be picking up, but the next day, she was gone. I’m honestly not saying all this about my Mum to make you worry about your own Mom, which I know you are already, but more to tell you that you’re not alone with the feelings you are experiencing.

    It’s perfectly understandable why you have been so fearful that your Mom might not make it home from hospital, given that you lost your Dad in such unexpected circumstances. I am so sorry you lost your Dad in this way, too. It’s also very understandable that you keep checking your phone, waiting for *that* phone call. I hope, a day after you wrote this post, that your Mom is well and home from hospital safely. Please, let me know when you have a chance.

    Please, also forgive me for missing a couple of your recent posts. Although I read all your posts, I just didn’t find time to comment. It wasn’t just your posts but everyone else’s, too. I had my two grandchildren here for a few days last week and haven’t been able to catch up with everyone yet. I haven’t even written another post since my last one a few days ago. I never seem to catch up. I’m following so many people it’s sometimes impossible to keep up with them all, as much as I enjoy reading them.

    Oh, dear, I’ve written another dissertation! Sorry. Sending you very much love and heartfelt and comforting hugs, my friend. Xxx πŸ’“πŸŒΉπŸ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Darling Ellie, Thank you sooo much for your beautiful response. I’m so sorry you lost your Mom when your hopes were probably high that she would be on the mend. It’s devastating and my heart goes out to you.

      So far, I’m blessed to report Mom is “home” (she’s living at my brother’s) and seems to be happy and well. She missed her grandchildren – Sebastian is 5, and Lily is almost 1. Mom loves being with them and I’m so thankful she’s ok.

      You have absolutely nothing to apologise for regarding reading and commenting on my blog. I have a feeling that other people would feel the same. I understand how busy you are and how much you love time with your own grandchildren. I can imagine you all giggling in a tree house, having the best time.

      I cherish every “dissertation” from you but I need you to know I don’t expect them, Ellie. You have a lot on, you follow and support sooo many people. I hope to have more time in the next few weeks to catch up on your blogs and to leave lots of love and support for you. Sending you big hugs πŸ«‚ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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