My Mom

What do you do when the caretaker needs a caretaker?! Let me preface the following by stating that I love my Mother! She is my best friend, mentor, hero, inspiration, and my entire world. I am strong, tenacious, brave, empathetic, compassionate, caring, opinionated, passionate, giving, smart, sincere, loyal, protective, and too many years other traits to list, because of my Mom. As we’ve both faced adversity throughout our lives, we’ve been there for each other unconditionally. We may not always agree; but we find ourselves on the right path, regardless. We are always there for each other, good times and bad. She is my support system and I hope I am hers. She has been my rock all of my life and has never given up on me or turned her back on me. Even when it was deserved. In the past four or so years, as my chronic illnesses have rendered me unable to work, I have come to depend on my Mom for financial support as well as emotional. I have tremendous guilt over being a burden, but that is for me to deal with, not her. I feel that she did her part in raising me, and now it’s my turn to help her any way I can. The sicker I get, the harder it is for me to get to my numerous appointments for therapy, treatment, and testing. Besides the food store, pharmacy, and occasional lunch out, I don’t get out much. Which means Mom doesn’t get out much. More guilt! We haven’t made many friends here for various reasons and we are both extremely social people, who don’t do well without the social interaction. Lately, I’m much more comfortable at home, where I can hide and not worry about presenting a brave face to the rest of the world. I do occasionally feel too ill to make it to these scheduled appointments, and there goes more guilt. I push myself hard, but some days my body wins out over my mind, and I just can’t get out of bed. Mom does what she can, more emotional support, since she is unable to drive, due to vision loss from Macular Degeneration. She feels guilty for not being able to do more and that upsets me. It’s a vicious cycle of guilt, depression, anxiety, and panic. We are handling the situation as best as we can, tackling each new challenge one day at a time. Who would have ever thought that getting to a doctor appointment would be a challenge?! Our lives have changed dramatically as I’ve had my medical and emotional issues to fight through. And Mom is learning to cope without driving, a huge blow to her sense of self,  freedom, and independence. I have the extra “burden” of getting Mom to her own appointments, sometimes weekly, monthly, or on demand. The “burden”  is something I put on myself. Healthy or sick, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her without batting an eye. Especially after all she’s done for me my entire life. It’s more pressure on myself to not let her down. Ever! I can’t say no to her, as she asks for so little. All I want is to be able to give her everything! Not too much pressure, huh?! We are feeling our way through this crazy, scary, unknown future one hour at a time. But we’re doing it together!  I worry endlessly and obsessively about losing her and wonder how on earth will I cope on my own? My consolation is to remember everything she’s ever taught me and keep using these skills in my day to day life. I’m also in therapy to help me with coping techniques as this entire experience with chronic daily migraine and pain is uncharted territory for us both. But, in the meantime, we are going to enjoy our lives and be thankful for every sunrise and each beautiful new day. And together we will #AlwaysKeepFighting! and #StayStrong!

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Hope! 

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