Last spring I decided to move out of the house. In fact, it was Easter Sunday when I told my sisters that I couldn’t stay with Momma much longer. From the beginning of our arrangement, I had said that I didn’t know when I would reach my limit or what would be the deciding cause, but when it came, I would know. Well, I reached that point just as the chill of winter was beginning to wane. Momma’s needs had become such that I was not able to meet so many of them. This set me in a position of feeling like a constant failure.
Momma and I are like water and oil. Even under the best of conditions, we never did very well together for long periods of time. The teasing, antagonizing, combative nature of our relationship worked well for most of my life, but Momma can no longer hold her own; and I can’t always hold my tongue.
Momma is fragile now. Emotions have taken leadership over logic. She needs happy energy, positive attention, kind, loving words. She needs a safe environment for her negative spats and the responses to her need to be resilient, encouraging, cheerful. I found that I could do these things like a sprinter, but not like a marathoner. Facing my limitations felt like defeat. But the situation called for a higher level of steady maturity: it wasn’t time to wallow in self-pity. There is an urgency about Momma’s needs and I must respond appropriately.
A quick survey of her needs, balanced against my limitations, revealed very clearly that our living situation was no longer good for either of us. Living with Momma was requiring too much of me to battle depression; and as I struggled to stay afloat, Momma was suffering.
So last week I moved into a small apartment and we’ve hired a wonderful woman to come into the house twice a day to get Momma up, dressed, and ready for her day in the morning, and ready for bed each evening. Angela is able to do things I couldn’t do, so now I’m free to focus my attentions on Momma in a positive light. Indeed, this is going in the right direction.