It's almost 4 years since my mother passed from vascular dementia aged 106 on a cold afternoon in December. It was a great relief for me, and, I think, for her. She was ready to go and I last saw her with a small smile on her face. I had been caregiving in one sense or another most of my life due to my mother's mental illness - Borderline Personality Disorder and narcissism.
I find I am grieving a bit this year, probably because I am moving from my family home of the last 40+ years as well as remembering the years and years of difficult family relationships and very stressful caregiving. No more "crazy" phone calls, demanding emails, subtle and not so subtle put downs, rantings and ravings about my shortcomings. I know many of you get it.
My father died many years ago and that marked the end of any caring nuclear family. He was a nurturer. My mother died nearly 4 years ago. and once the estate was settled I cut contact with my sister. I recall very few kind words from my mother or my sister - ever. My sister smiled then stabbed me with a sharp remark. "What did you ever do to help mother!" This after several years of me being POA financial and medical, moving mother a number of times, dealing with problems at the facilities she was in and her progressing dementia. During one visit my sister made to a new facility she asked me if I had seen mother's room. I said, "Yes, who do you think moved the furniture and set it up?" She just looked blank. Never a thank you for what I did.
In some ways the slate has been wiped clean, although the traces of the past are still with me. I have worked hard to overcome and heal from the hurts, the dysfunctional ways of coping, the anxiety. The past is fading, slowly, but it is fading.
Can we really start again?