I have been looking back over this blog, and it strikes me that earlier on, in the epic of caring for my mother, I was in better shape than I am now. Now, I do complain all the time. Now, it irks me to spend all my time with her. Yesterday, I blew up. This never helps, as she does consider it my fault when I lose my temper, it upsets me for days and often gives me a migraine, and sometimes, she doesn’t get back to normal for several days either.
There is so much internal conflict about looking after someone – actually, more simply, about living with someone that you don’t really want to be with all the time. How can I square loving my mother so much with resenting her presence? I have so much compassion for her, but apart from that, my emotions are truly, and not positively, stretched. How can my home not be a place of refuge any more? How can I want her so passionately to live and be well, when I know that the only way out of my situation is her passing? How can I feel so bad about something I so want to accept and carry on doing?
Part I know is that as my partner and family all acknowledge, ‘she’s a very difficult woman’. She doesn’t know when to bale out, retreat, stop arguing. She has an opinion on everything, most strongly held when she knows the least. She questions every decision I take, from deciding what’s for dinner to whether I need to return some dishes to a friend who has cooked me dinner. She is moody, stroppy, rude and disrespectful. She tries to send me to bed, criticises everyone, doesn’t want to socialise with anyone apart from her immediate family, orders the kids about.
I have a greater insight into my parents’ marriage than ever before.
And yet. She is a kind, anxious, capable, reduced, fragile, grieving woman who is trying her best and has lost so much. I love her very dearly. I just wish I could find a level of acceptance.