Mothering Mom

Dad’s funeral was a full catholic mass service. Because he was a veteran, he served in World War II, his casket was draped with the american flag just as he would have wanted it. My brother’s, Danny and Stephen, and I helped mom choose the music that would play during the mass and got permission from our Pastor to have the Marine’s Hymn sung as the end of the service as the casket was being taken out of the church. It was very emotional and mom kept saying “dad would have been so proud”. At the end of the service, Danny, Stephen and I walked with mom behind the casket to the waiting cars that took us to the cemetery for the graveside service that included, the blessing of the ground and casket, Marine’s giving mom the flag from the casket, TAPS being played and a full military salute! It was a very impressive send off. .

For a month after dad died, I spent the nights at mom’s house so she wouldn’t be alone. Everyone agreed that mom couldn’t live alone so we made the decision she should come to live with Bill, Shantel and I. We put mom’s house up for sale and it sold within the first week. Then, after Danny and Stephen took most of the larger pieces of furniture, we had a yard sale to eliminate what was left. I decided to give mom our master bedroom and used her comforter and bathroom things to make the room look just like the master bedroom she had in her house. I wanted her to feel completely comfortable and welcomed into our home.

Over the next few weeks, mom settled into our home and we all began settling into our new family life together. But, mom’s grief was more than I had ever seen and much more than I was prepared for or equipped to handle. She cried almost constantly and became very, very depressed. I took her to her doctor who prescribed medications for her but it had little effect. I took her to grief counseling but that did little to help her either. It became more and more difficult for me to get mom to go anywhere, and she lost all interest in seeing friends or neighbors from her old neighborhood.

When dad was alive, he did  everything for mom and she was happy to let him. Now, she just couldn’t see a life for herself without dad. I did the best I could to help her work through her grief, but she was now depending on me just as much as she had depended on dad, and I couldn’t give her that kind of undivided attention because I had my family, Bill and Shantel, that needed me as well.  Mom began to think she couldn’t even make her own phone calls to schedule her own appointments. While my heart was breaking for her, I was dealing with my own grief too. I also knew if I played into mom’s dependency on me, she would never do anything for herself again. I just wasn’t ready to switch roles and become her mother.

Next: Grief Is Different For Everyone

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Mar 02, 2012 @ 22:17:43

    Oh VK, you are so right. How easily it would have been to played into your mom’s dependency on you. Seems to be a theme that is surfacing and one that many can take lessons from…love you my dear!

    Reply

  2. Megs
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 19:22:37

    I have to totally agree with GG on this one. Guilt and co-dependency are hard things to break!

    Reply

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