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  • Writer's pictureBeth

Talking to parents when 'you' need to take the parental role

I was in the position to take over the parental role a couple of years after my mother was diagnosed with cancer. For the first couple of years, she was doing fine in spite of the various treatments she was going through and she would still run the household, get groceries, etc. It finally dawned on me one day that they had begun giving my mother some serious narcotics to start dealing with the pain she had been enduring. Yet, she was still driving. She was no longer always stable on her feet and I felt that her driving was no longer safe for her or others on the road. This was a VERY difficult conversation to have with her!

Although she and I had very open communication with one another (we had been best friends all of my life), she was now losing her independence. I mentioned that perhaps we sell her car since we were so financially strapped due to the fact that I had been on FMLA and not making any money. Not only was I the caregiver to my favorite person in the whole world, but I was also worried about keeping a roof over her ailing head. Not a fun place to be!

The thought of selling her car was actually what made her cry. This is what made it so final to her that she would NEVER have her independence again; This also made me cry. I actually felt so guilty about this because it turned out that I didn’t sell her car until after she passed and I wished that I had never mentioned the idea of selling it previously.

Eventually, she became so confused (didn’t know who I was), violent (trying to break windows to escape and get home to her daughter . . . me) and was just no longer safe here at home where I had promised her that I would keep her while she passed away. This was one of the most emotional days of my life as I previously made a promise to her that I could no longer keep. I was told by Hospice; however, that it was no longer my decision. They would pull out the full-time care and I was not able to care for her on my own.

Her preferred way of passing was to have her family around her and she did have that. It was ironic, in my mind, as she was there when I took my first breath and I was there when she took her last!

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