I have had to have to review the actions that my brothers and I have taken with regard to the care of our mother. Reviewing each chapter and each decision involves a little bit of reliving the past hurts and (the few) triumphs. Making the decision to help mom into the next phase of her life was hard. Reliving it was not as hard, but perhaps with less joy and focused purpose than the first time around.
My brothers and I love our mom and would do nearly anything to help her thrive. Sadly, we appear to have helped her survive, but that may be all that we could have ever done. Thriving is, at least partially, a choice of the individual. . .
When my father died many, many years ago, my mother shut down. Without explaining the details of that statement, let me simply say that she preferred not to stay involved with life without her husband by her side. She succeeded and withdrew. Almost entirely. She has survived but not thrive.
Today, when I have lunch with her each week at the care facility where she lives, she knows me, most of the time. Atrophy is an awful thing for the mind. What could we have done differently? I’m not sure I know the answer to that. Perhaps we could have made sure she was staying active, staying involved in life. But then, that was her choice.