Monday, January 10, 2011


I'm heading for a visit to the homecountry this week, or at least a visit to where my Mom lives now.

The big reason for the visit is the funeral of an Aunt. My Aunt was elderly and had a low quality of life in so many ways for so many years, that her death strikes me more as a release than a tragedy. But of course for her kids, I doubt that's true.

For me, it will be a chance to see and visit with some cousins and family I don't see very often.

I'm spending a week because I can, and because it's not nearly as cold there, (When people complain that it's cold there, I sort of have to laugh. I used to think it was totally, miserably cold there, too. Now, not so much.) and because my Mom wants me to visit.

The last time I visited for very long, I asked my Mom to do two things: to go to a special place about an hour away, and to eat out at ethnic restaurants.

We did neither. She didn't want to go to the special place, so we didn't, but went to a nice museumish place instead. We ate out once, for lunch at a fish and chips place (near the museumish place). She didn't want to miss meals at her residence place, mostly, I think, because there's a lot of cachet that comes with having your kid seen visiting and having all your friends meet your kid. Still, it was frustrating for me to be so close to good ethnic food and not go out to eat it.

This time, I asked to go to a different special place. I didn't bother asking to go out to ethnic restaurants. But no, she doesn't want to go to the different special place, but back to the museumish place and somewhere else she likes. I'd be happy to go to those places, but I'd really like to go to the different special place. If I named it, everyone who has ever been there would understand how disappointed I am. I think she just doesn't want to drive that far (it's a two hour drive each way, but there's a really worthwhile stopping place half way). But she wouldn't be willing to let me drive, either.

I'm more disappointed than I can say, almost unreasonably disappointed. But it's not worth arguing about, either. If she doesn't want to go there, and I want to go, I could just rent a car and go. But that would bring a lot of conflict, and there's nothing good to come of that much conflict.

I think my Mom is feeling increasingly unwilling to drive places that she's not used to, and unwilling to admit it. It's an uncomfortable thing, this dealing with an aging parent, and our history of conflict makes it all the more uncomfortable, since nothing I say about it will be taken as anything other than an attack.


  1. I know you are right about having a visiting child to show off in the dining room. From what I observed with my mother, retirement and assisted living places are pretty much like high school with cliques and constant battling for status!

    My mother became very timid about going out to unfamiliar places after living in a facility for a time. There are so few decisions to be made that residents seem to lose confidence in their ability to confront the wider world.

    It took me awhile to realize that my mother had undergone mental changes as well. Dementia is so slowly progressive that it has to get well along before we notice.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with your taking one or two days of your week's visit to do what you want. Can you rent a car?

  2. So sorry, Bardiac. Your history with your mom sounds a lot like my sister's history with our mom. It is hard for them. I myself am too lazy to get into conflict, which is not a very positive thing either.

    I hope you have a nice time despite the limitations.

  3. oy. can't you claim a professional reason to go do research or something at the place you want to go? that will sound important at the dinner table. :)

    good luck with the trip.