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Summer’s End

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When my mum came to stay with us almost three years ago, we had just put our summer clothes up in the attic. She came to stay because she had been falling out of bed and I believed – foolishly – that I was a good enough person to cope with having her live with us full time.

I was wrong.

Just as our t-shirts and shorts were packed away for the winter, so was our privacy, peace and sense of home.

I don’t think she has meant to have this effect but she can’t help herself. She is needy like a five year old – always wanting attention, always talking, and always watching bubblegum TV. It all got too much for me to handle so I asked her to leave and tomorrow she moves into a sweet little cottage in a sheltered housing complex in the village. (I don’t want to spend too much time talking about how I have felt about her over these years and what events led me to ask her to go. You can read about that here if you are interested.)

I have had the cottage decorated and carpeted from top to bottom and I have cleaned it more than if I had been going to move in myself. I have organised a phone and helped her apply for the benefits she is due.

So, you’d think I’d be happy, right? Dancing with joy at the thought of not cooking special meals for her, not having to watch Jeremy Kyle at top volume every day, not having to explain things fourteen different times before it sinks in?

Thing is, I’m not.

I have been looking forward to this day for so long and now it’s here I feel so, so sad. I know that it’s the right thing to do: most days are spent in misery trying to cope with the rage that constant shouting leaves me in and the stress of trying to keep her and my husband and daughter happy at meal times. But this IS still my mother and while I can honestly say that I don’t like her anymore, I do still care. She will be 80 this year and I am so sorry that I have had to move her out at this stage. But tell me, what more could I do? I have tried my best, really I have, but I’m just not able to cope with her. I’m just not good enough a person.

Today I took her to Tesco to get her ‘Big Shop’ for moving in and I went round the store, crying quietly to myself in between shouting to tell her what things were, what they cost, and trying to coax her to string together enough coherent words for me to understand what it is she was looking for. People stared. Why wouldn’t they? They probably think I’m an abusive bitch because I shout at an old woman. I’ll have to do this with her every week now so I suppose I should just get used to the stares.

So here we are, three years later and as we get ready to put our summer clothes away for the winter again, my mother moves into her own place. I know my t-shirts will be back next spring, but there is no way back for my mum. And that makes me very unhappy.

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Writer, photographer, creative fantasist.

7 thoughts on “Summer’s End

  1. It’s always hard to do something so difficult, even when you know it’s the ‘best’ course of action for everyone, given the circumstances. As you said, you’ve tried and better tried, but sometimes even trying as hard as you can won’t ‘resolve’ a situation in a ‘happily ever after’ manner. All you can do now, is try to enjoy some of the ‘normal’ life you’ll all get back, with as few feelings of guilt as you can manage, knowing that your mum is in as safe and enjoyable environment as can be managed. And go on caring.

  2. Aw Nettie that was a heartbreakingly honest post. 😦

    You are totally doing the right thing, both by taking her in in the first place when she needed you and by moving on now, for everyone’s sake. It’s totally natural to feel the way you are though.

    Hopefully this new distance will give you a chance to recover and to renew your relationship with your mum. Hugs x

  3. Aw Nettie, you poor thing.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with being a good person, it’s just being human and prioritising your own family. You’ve found an alternative and worked hard to make it nice so try and give yourself a break.

    My Mum told me a while ago that all I owe her is to make good use of my life. I believe that’s true.

    Hugs x

  4. This was hard to read. I just got a call from my sister that my 98 year old mother has refused to eat and get out of bed at the assisted living facility where she now lives. My sis asked me to write an obituary. I am thinking of you, with love. molly

  5. Hi Nettie
    We’ve never spoken before – Hi!
    Easier said than done, but please don’t think you are a bad person for being honest. You’ve done your best and it is good enough. Your posts have made me laugh and cry. Your honesty is refreshing.
    Don’t let guilt spoil the rest of the time you have left with your Mum.

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