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A sister's visit

December 19th, 2015 at 05:35 am

My sister and I haven't spoken since June. She hasn't seen my mother since March. But because I've been steadily keeping my dad (long divorced from mom) updated about my mother's deteriorating condition, including now, the fact that hospice has been called, my sister I guess decided it was time to see her.

I only know this because I got an unexpected phone call from Maplewood at work. I had already settled up with them with the bills after moving her elsewhere so I was wondering why they was calling.

She told me someone by the name of XXX had been there, wanting to see my mother. Because she hasn't called me, she didn't know that my mother hasn't lived there since September. I tell my dad everything, but perhaps he never mentioned this to my sister, I don't know.

She wanted to know where she was. As standard security procedure, they asked her for some form of ID. She got upset about that and left.

After she told me that, I called my sister, got her machine and told her that my mom has been living at Masonicare, and gave her the room number. I also briefed her on what security measures to expect.

I was working at the office yesterday. Around 3 pm, I called the 2nd floor at Masonicare to see how my mom was doing today. The nurse told me she had a visitor around noon. It was my sister. Nurse said she stayed a long time and was crying and trying to feed her.

I still haven't talked to my sister, but I feel very badly for her. It must have been a huge shock to see my mother in her current condition, although my sister made the choice to stay away these many months. In fact, withdrawing from the family is a choice she's made for many years now. Even when she showed up for major holidays and birthdays, she never shared much about her life. If you asked questions about how was so and so (her significant other), her job, her animals, whatever, she would answer briefly, like "He's fine." "They're fine." She never volunteered much at all.

Sadly, when I brightly said to my mom last night, "So XX came to see you today," she looked at me with a puzzled look on her face. She didn't remember the visit. I don't think I will do that again; much as I knew seeing her oldest daughter would make her very happy, it would also be upsetting to not remember an event someone else did. This is what they mean by remaining in the present with dementia patients.

I don't know if this will be a one-time event. I know my sister deals with unpleasant or awkward situations by avoiding them, so she may never go back. My hope and prayer is that she will return to give my mother what solace she can.

My mother was not talking much last night, and what she did say was unintelligible. As I always do, I told her I love you very much. Forever and ever. Most times she will say, I love you very much. Last night, she also told me Thank you so much. I was bending my head down to hers, and I barely heard it. It startled me. She DOES have some awareness of what is going on and it breaks my heart.

Earlier on, mom would often say, I'm so lucky to have a daughter like you. The first time I remember her saying this was in the hospital shortly after her hip surgery. She was sitting down, looking up at me, her face was positively radiant and full of joy as she said it.

Each time she said this, I felt bad...and guilty...because I always thought I could have done more. It also made me more determined than ever to stand by my mother.

And I remember the trouble spots in our relationship from years ago with great regret, regret that I did not understand my mother then the way I do now, regret that I expected my mother to be the perfect parent instead of just a person who loved me very much.

The hospice nurse i guess will be on the scene on Monday as I never heard from her on Friday. I will see my mother today with some dark chocolate, a favorite.

Although I have to work most of the next 2 weeks since I used up my vacation, I plan on working from home most of that time so I can sneak away to see my mother and spend as much time wit her as I can.

10 Responses to “A sister's visit”

  1. Carol Says:

    I think this time of being there for your mom will come to soften the hard spots of the past. You are giving her all the love and care you can-- this will make the memory of this time much stronger than your memory of the past. When you look back at her death, you will be able to say she knew she was loved and that you did the best you could. This ought to give you a feeling of peace around the whole hard time. (I hope--that was my experience.)

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    When you are the parent, you have the advantage of having been someone else's child, so you have quite an insight as to your child's point of view.

    When you were younger and struggling in your relationship with your mother, your mother understood. Your mother had once thought that HER parents should be perfect.

    Making mistakes is part of growing up and gaining wisdom. Let the regrets go. You did the best you could at the time.

    I'm glad to hear your sister made the effort to visit. I recall earlier in the year you stating your sister felt it was "too soon" to move your mother into a care home. Now surely she realizes that you were making the right decisions.

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I agree with Carol and Petunia.

    That must have been wonderful to see your mother radiant and full of joy when she told you how lucky she was to have a daughter like you. Radiant and full of joy!

  4. Mrs. Frugalista Says:

    ((hugs))

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Glad to hear your sister made the visit, I believe every family member should visit a dying family member so that the dying family member knows that they are cared about and they matter. Your sister could have done so much more but it's good that she went and saw her, especially for closure purposes. And you did so much for your mother, she is lucky to have a daughter like you. You gave her the care and concern that she would have given you raising you as a child. I'm sorry to hear she didn't remember your sister though.

  6. Turtle Lover Says:

    i have been reading here for almost 9 years and I've always enjoyed what you have posted ... everything from the finance... the kitties... and now. The other day you posted something about wondering if others were reading what you were writing ... I was in a hurry so I didn't try to comment (I've never done it before) but I just wanted to send big ((hugs)) for you and although I get very sad sometimes reading what you have written... it's a true experience and one that I more than likely will be going through sometime in the not so distant future. I appreciate all that you have to say! -C

  7. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm glad to hear that your sister has made the effort to visit your mom, even if it is too late for your mom to really know.

    Your mom knows that you have been there for her and have done all you can for her. It's now that matters most - when the times have been tough.

    {{hugs}}

  8. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    Petunia that perspective is amazing thank you for sharing it. I agree that time will help the situation perhaps between you.

  9. alice4now Says:

    I admire the relationship you have with your mom. My own family is not very affectionate, and although we love each other, we are not very good with showing it. I need to get over this as my parents age.

  10. CB in the City Says:

    I think it's good that your sister finally confronted her fears and saw your mother. Even if your mother doesn't remember, she did experience it in the moment, however she may have processed it. I visited my BFF's mom (along with BFF) not too long ago -- she is also suffering from dementia -- and she said, her face all aglow, "I think I did something fun today!" Too sweet.

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