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Thread: What would you do?
August 26th, 2013 02:20 AM #1
What would you do?
Okay, this is a long-ish story and I'm sorry if it's jumbled or fragmented...
My Mom has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. She is 63 years old, and *was* a heavy smoker. I am close to my mother, but we have a very difficult relationship at times and a BIG reason for that is because she is ungodly stubborn. I mean, reverts back to a 12 year old when confronted about something she did wrong or a mistake she made. I (among many others) have been nagging her for years to quit smoking and that it was gonna kill her one day and now it's all coming true and my first emotion is anger. I am so angry at her that she ignored her health for so many years and now we have to deal with this when Rowan is not even 2 years old. How could she be so reckless and didn't think about everything she had to lose. I know it sounds harsh, and I want to comfort her and be optimistic and have a good attitude so she will too, but it's so daunting and I honestly don't know if I have it in me.. I lost my Dad in 2007 to drugs and it was such a sudden death, with no warning, that I'm still reeling from it 6 years later. I'm not ready to go through this again.
I feel like when something serious happens, everyone else gets a pass to freak out and go absolutely mental and I'm stuck being the adult and picking up the pieces and keeping calm and putting my life on hold. We were getting too a really good point in our business, making some actual money, and pulling our heads above water, starting to think about TTC and giving Rowan a sibling... and now this. Our plans, our life, comes to a screeching halt because my Mom is dependent on me. I am an only child, all her family lives far away and they are all glorified mental patients anyway, her friends are all good people and would support her in any way possible but she would never ask any of them. So it's up to me. I just spent the last 4 days checking on her and forcing her to drink water while she slept in our guest bedroom. Which is fine if she was terminal or really felt terrible, but she was just diagnosed. The fight hasn't even began and she's already giving up and digging in her heels. What do I do? Get angry at her and make her do all the things she needs to do? Tell her what to do, and just hope she does it? Should I put off having another child due to this, for how long? Should I let her move in with us and accept the possible affects it could have on my relationship, my business, and my sanity?
Sorry for venting, but I didn't know where else to turn and I could really use some rational advice and understanding.My cherished daughter, Rowan Jane. ~b. 10/2011~
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August 26th, 2013 02:46 AM #3
Oh boy. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. What an incredibly difficult and complicated situation. I also have a very complicated relationship with my mom so I can definitely sympathize. And I 100% understand why you are upset/frustrated/angry whatever words you feel are appropriate. I am a big believer in the idea that all of us, once we become functioning adults, need to take responsibility for ourselves -- especially our own actions, our own health, our own well-being. But a LOT of people in this world really aren't good at that or even willing to accept it. It's much easier when everything that happens is someone else's fault or doing, even if that someone else is a divine being (oh it was God's will I get cancer, my smoking had nothing to do with it!). Most people hate taking personal responsibility.
Anyway, I could stay on my soap box about that for awhile because it frustrates me to no end - but that's not helpful. So I've been living with my own mom for the last year or so, because she was nice enough to let us move in when we hit a financial crisis and didn't have many other options. It's a very small house so it's forced us to find ways to live together peacefully and deal with our issues. It has NOT been easy - but, at least for the time being, things are pretty good. But I've definitely learned quite a few things myself over the last year that have helped considerably. The biggest one? Your mom isn't going to change. At this point in their lives (my mom is 65), they are who they are. Nothing we say or do will alter that. So that leaves us with one option: we can only change how we let them affect us. Much easier said than done, of course, but the reality is that's the only option. My mom will never stop making the critical remarks and saying the stupid stuff... but I can work to find ways to not let it get to me anymore. Because she does have a lot of wonderful qualities too and I try to focus on those and accept all of her, as is. I don't know if that makes any sense, I'm still working on it myself.
But in terms of you and your own life and plans, I would absolutely not pause my own life. This is definitely a personal choice but I just wouldn't. I would help take care of her in whatever ways I could but I would not let it interfere with my own life to that point that I would have to delay something as huge as having another child. You deserve to have your own life continue and to be able to continue to work toward your own happiness (and your husband and child deserve that as well).
Anyway, I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. Hopefully just venting here and writing your post and putting it out there will help all on its own (it usually does for me). But I wish you and your mom the best and I hope you can find a route to facing it all that works for all of you. Good luck and don't forget to take care of yourself too!Christine
Pregnancy #1: lost to mc, 10/11
Amelia Joelle arrived on 11/28/13 at 7 pounds, 4 ounces of pure beauty. Couldn't be happier to finally be mama!
Baby #2 - another GIRL! - due 8/1/16
August 26th, 2013 02:55 AM #5Member
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August 26th, 2013 09:07 AM #7Senior Member
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I have no idea what I would do, but I think Christine had some really good advice. My father had a brain tumor a few years ago, and it was awful, but it wasn't the same situation as you're in so I don't think I have a lot to offer, except compassion and hugs. It must be a very frustrating, sad and difficult time for you, having to be the grown up one for your parents isn't easy.My darling Marian Illyria Aphrodite, March 2013 & Little Bunny (a girl!) due 9th of February 2014
August 26th, 2013 10:04 AM #9Senior Member
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- Apr 2013
You have a right to be angry and frustrated, but it won't make the situation easier. Maybe your mom smoked to deal with an anxiety disorder she was hiding. Maybe she would have loved to have quit, but couldn't and was ashamed of it. People often give an alcoholic or drug addict sympathy for being unable to quit, but cigarettes are just as addicting (if not more so) and dangerous.
Perhaps you can suggest your mom sees a grief counselor or someone to help her cope with this - starting now, not later). If she won't take the advice from you, ask her doctor to suggest it. You might want to do the same. Cancer is a horrible disease, and it wrecks patients and their families emotionally, not just physically. Having a professional help walk you through dealing with both cancer and each other during the process will ease the journey immensely.Lillian Elizabeth 6.16.13