Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Guilt of Abandonment

How could I abandon, forsake, cast off, my mother whom I had promised to take into my home and care for her. Feelings of guilt enveloped me because I had made a decision to place my mother in an assisted living home.

It was true, I had lost my patience more than once, and it was evident when I spoke harshly to my aged mother.

It was also true that my husband’s blood pressure went sky high when he was awakened in the middle of the night to discover Mother trying to open the door to go outside. Our three dogs were there on the other side of the door and could easily cause her to loose her balance. My husband remarked to me that his body could not take the strain of all this stress.

It was evident that her memory was slipping. Each time we sat at the table to put together a simple puzzle, she did not remember ever having done this one before.

One day at a dinner at my daughter’s home, she told everyone not to eat the food because it was poisoned. That did not set too well with my son-in-law who had done the cooking that day.

I had recently taken her to visit my sister, and my sister remarked to me, how glad she was that I had mother and not her, as she could never take care of her.

It was true that I telephoned my brother to see if he and his wife could give us a three month relief, and take mother for a short while. He informed me that he had observed how she was at Thanksgiving time, and there was no way that he could handle her.

All that was true and yet the feelings came of remorse, shame and guilt at giving up the responsibility that I had promised to fulfill.

At the assisted living home, Mother seemed to be her old self for awhile. She prayed for the girls who took care of her, and one of the ladies became her prayer partner. The owner often received a prayer and a kiss on the cheek from her.

Several times, I took her to a church service, but she seemed not to enjoy what she had once knew. The care home was now familiar to her and she seemed content.

Some days I am reminded of my guilt, when I visit her and she closes her eyes, to block out the fact that I am there. I question and feel that she must be very angry with me.

As I think about God, I wonder if He ever experienced feelings of guilt when he allowed Jesus to die on the cross. As I continue to consider this, I remember that God did indeed turn his back and could not look at the situation, and all became dark. “Oh God Why have you forsaken me!” Was the cry of Jesus!

I wonder if my mother weeps with that same prayer? I fear she does not understand the Why?


Kristen said...

My mother in law has deteriorated in the same way. My husband and his sisters are struggling with the same tough decisions. Regardless of the outcome, there will be guilt and sadness.

Ann Kroeker said...

Oh, Hazel. What a tumultuous stage of life this is, for your mother and for you. I hope that I can handle it with the same amount of love and grace as you, both as caregiver and one day as the one being asked to accept the new situation and placed into assisted living. Thank you for sharing this story.

Randy said...

The LORD is infinite, and knew all along what would happen on the cross, and how the plan would be fulfilled. He was able to keep all His promises and fulfill prophecy.

We are FINITE, and have an end to what we can accomplish. You made a promise. You are unABLE to make it good. Don't feel bad that you placed her in a home. You were able to do that and to do it WELL. She is not abandoned. Her care is provided, and she has seemingly gladly accepted it. Understand that her ability to correctly react to events, and to plan for future events, has deteriorated. There is an increased risk of true and serious harm for such a one staying at "home". What you have provided is a way for her to be stimulated, watched, and protected, all the while retaining the ability to visit and interact.

She may not be able to grasp the importance of these things. That much is out of your control. Understand what you have arranged and know that it is love that prompted your actions - love for her and those that are affected by all of the pertinent facts of the situation.

You've done well. In time, you will meet with her with all faculties in proper and enhanced order, and understanding will rule the day. Be patient. Love her even when she can't understand...... anything.