Caring for our parents later in lifeAug 25, 2022
My mother passed away from Lung Cancer in 2020. For the last year two years of her life I took on the role of her caregiver, emotionally, financially, and physically. My relationship with my mother was always strained. She struggled with mental illness, borderline personality disorder amongst other diagnoses. She had a hard life. All of the struggles we had in our relationship I did not truly understand until I took on the role of her caregiver. I didn't understand her and why she acted and did the things she did. We constantly butted heads, I always felt like her entire life's goal was to micromanage every aspect of my life.
What I came to realize from taking on the role of her caregiver is that her behaviour was 100% about her and not at all about me. It wasn't that she wanted to control what I was doing because she didn't trust me, SHE was afraid of being alone, SHE never grew up and always wanted someone by her side to care for her and keep her safe. The second I took on this role our relationship changed. Was it perfect? Absolutely not by a long shot but I had such a better understanding of where she was coming from and WHY.
Taking care of your mom with an open heart while knowing you are going to loose her very soon is incredibly draining. The experience has changed me in a very real and permanent way. It changed my entire perspective on what is important in life, to choose my battles far more carefully, and not to sweat the small stuff. Most importantly, it taught me not to take people's actions personally even if they affect me. I have done some serious soul searching since my mom passed, and using journaling as a healthy outlet. Instead of getting into kitchen sink fight with anyone that will engage, I turn to the page and right down my feeling and emotions. Just getting it out usually makes me feel so much better and it always helps me to process how I feel and what is important to share with others, and what is not. I can look back on my thoughts and read them subjectively which allows me to be more honest with myself about action steps moving forward.
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