Peace of My Mind

I had so much on my mind that I didn’t sleep at all last night.

Around 12:30am this morning I read two thought-provoking articles regarding end-of-life issues. It’s important to me that I learn about what my medical future holds, what kinds of decisions I will be faced with, and the feelings I might have.

Author’s Note: This is the time, during a post, when I usually pause. I try to comfort everyone; I tell you not to worry, that I’m still fighting and keeping my hopes up. I’m just so worried about upsetting you, those I care for, too much. I don’t want to drive you away with gloomy thoughts or associate reading my blog with being sad. However, I realize that for this blog to work for me, I need to try to apologize less and write more. Here we go…

I had a small epiphany last night. There are just a few things I’m going to need so that, when the time comes, I can die peacefully. And of those things, there is one that will be very difficult to get.

Somehow – and I have no clue how – I need my mom to come to terms with my illness.

I have told her the truth (or 95% of it) since the beginning. But she has convinced herself that “they” will find a cure. It’s her coping mechanism: she can’t possibly accept the fact that her youngest child is dying. But at some point she must learn to accept the situation and somehow find the strength to cope.

I can’t do this by myself. And I feel like I have no help.

My mom has no close friends (save my brother and me). And she’s living in the middle of nowhere, with little to no support services. It would take her an entire day to drive to see either one of her children, and although she won’t admit it, her body wouldn’t allow her to do it in a day.

That’s one reason it’s so important that we sell the farm as soon as possible. We need to spend time together now. I don’t have the luxury of waiting. If I’m completely honest, one of my biggest fears is dying without her by my side.

And she’s going to need support. I’ve always been the strong one, but there’s just no way I can be struggling to breathe and comforting her at the same time. When my time comes, I need to know that she’ll be okay. Again, that’s where I need help.

I have been her primary support system for the past 18 years. And I’m terrified that if she doesn’t have others to help her through this, she will perish when I do. You just can’t imagine how heavy that weighs on my heart.

I guess this is a plea for help. If you know my mom, please call her often or send her a note. She’s not a social butterfly, but she really needs you.

And if you don’t know my mom, maybe you can continue to brainstorm ways I can sell the damn farm and move her closer to me. I just feel like it’s not a lot of money, and surely there must be someone who can help. Here is the link with the details.

I need to bring her closer to me, closer to family, closer to quality medical and support services. I need to know she’s going to be okay long after I’m gone. Only then will I be able to be at peace.

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8 responses to “Peace of My Mind

  • Shar Weaver

    Wow – I just checked out the farm posting! It’s too bad we live a bit too far away, and the only animals we have are 4 dogs. That is just a gorgeous setting. I can see why your mom would want to stay where she is… We just finished our “retirement retreat” last summer near Punxsutawney PA. I checked the directions from where we live, and it’s about 280 miles and 5 hours of travel – boo.

    I spent too many days in a hospital in Feb, trying to breathe through a COPD episode. They found a couple of “nodules” to watch in my right lung, so i’m really avoiding anyone who might pass along a cough. When you were doing your reading and thinking, did you consider a hospice program? With the right one, they could be very helpful with how to explain things to your Mom, that she’d understand your feelings and what you need from her. I know how important that is to you.

    • Jessica

      Hi Shar,

      Actually my mom wants more than anything to leave and move closer. If it were possible, we would pick up the farm and move it!

      Ugh, that stinks that you have nodules, but hopefully they will remain benign.

      I have recently started educating myself (and Seth) about in-house hospice. My preconceptions were very inaccurate. In fact, I plan to write a post on the topic soon.

      Thanks for writing! Jessica

  • karen

    this post spoke to me. and i know how hard it was to ask for help.

    i think at the heart of this, you need to tell your mom that you need her here. now. and work it out. i know you have been her primary support, but the support system needs to flex. it maybe needs to do a 180. i know you’re worried about her and i admire your dedication. i do. i want you to know: i get it.

    but to be honest? this is about you. your life. your struggle. you’re doing the best you can to maximize your time, squeeze every inch out of it. you’ve been doing this so well with your meds, adjusting them based on your reaction to them, and trying to maintain the best quality of life you can. you and seth are adapting and learning.

    i’m amazed by your strength. by trying to get out, enjoy seth, bunnies and life.

    this is not about your mom. it’s not about her animals or her property. if you need her, tell her. talk through it. if that doesn’t work, then get advice (i like the hospice idea for advice). at the end of the day, you two need to reverse your roles. you need to worry about you and your mom needs to do the same as a priority.

    you can’t live day to day feeling like you’re not doing enough when you’re the only one doing so.

    your body can’t handle this stress AND the stress of being sick.

    you shouldn’t have to take care of someone else right now. you should take care of you. your mom should take care of you.

    i realize what i am saying is idealistic and not in line with your background with your mom, life, family, and family history. but as Viktor Frankel proposed (paraphrased): if you hold a person to what you think they can be, they fall short. if you hold a person to a higher standard, they often hit the mark on what they can be.

    hold your mom to a higher standard. help her meet your needs. tell her when its not enough. and understand her shortcomings.

    what is important right now? is YOU. YOUR LIFE.

    i hope this doesn’t come off as uninformed (because i am inferring a lot here and one of those inferences is that your mom has the emotional aptitude to go with the ideal), but i really feel that she needs to find it in her, or figure out how to deal, so she can support herself right now; and i hope she can. your mom has her baggage. i get that. i do. you do. we all do. but… she needs to start thinking bigger. and you can’t be the only one to challenge her or find solutions for her right now.

    i know you’ve been her support. and as her support, you need to challenge her thinking and get her to think about new ways to get support. for her sake. but mostly for hers.

    i hope this comes across as i mean it. and if you want to talk, exchange ideas, etc. i am here.

    i miss you.

    • Jessica

      Hi honey,

      I do appreciate your candid comments, although some were a little uncomfortable to read. Quite frankly, I’m pleased with how she’s managed so far.

      It’s just not a fair fight for her. Take severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD, mix in complete isolation (few like-minded people, no Internet, no cell phone service) and top with loneliness and worsening physical impairment and pain.

      The goal isn’t to criticize her for not being stronger for me. I’m so grateful to have her in my life. I love her so much and just want her to have the tools and support to get through what might be the worst tragedy of her life.

  • Craig

    I wish I could add something useful here. It did take me a while to get my Dad and brother to stop saying things that denied my real situation. When I challenged them on their overly optimistic expressions they soon adapted, and then we just live in the moment.

    The farm looks nice. Maybe a realtor could try to solicit interest from neighboring farms or some big farmland aggregator?

    Best hopes,

    Craig

    • Jessica

      I appreciate your support. We have reached out to local rescues to see if they might want to expand their facilities. Great minds think alike. 🙂

  • Sjoukje

    It looks really pretty where your mum lives. I hope someone will buy it and that your mum will be close sweet Jessica!!

    xx

  • Portable Oxygen

    I’m sorry about the struggles with your mom. My best advice is to stay strong and keep her informed. Communication is key and I hope you have two have a breakthrough soon! Best of luck with the farm situation, it sounds beautiful you are sure to have some interest!

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