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Re: Death of a Loved One (long post, but ...)

Posted by cait on May 11, 1999, at 20:21:36

In reply to Re: telepsychotherapy, posted by Amanda on May 11, 1999, at 15:17:56

Death of a Loved One

Although I called this morning to arrange the time, the doctor had to attend a meeting and was not in the clinic when we arrived at 2 PM. The trip was a long and difficult one, and I could not leave and return; there was no going back. We settled down in the reception room, my Loved One on my lap. I held her tenderly, soothing her fears away and reassuring her that she was secure in my arms. I smoothed the little curls up away from her eyes and rubbed her little neck and back. One hour of tranquility passed too quickly, one hour of companionship stored forever in my heart.

The doctor returned, and we were called back right away. He asked me if I wanted a few minutes, but I said no--we had our special hour and I could bear no more. The little blue muzzle was necessary, but my precious little girl managed one last nip. I spoke gently to my little dog as the vet slid the needle into her leg. He quickly removed the muzzle, and as I bent down to kiss her little face, that little pink tongue slipped out and licked my nose. I told her that I loved her dearly and that I was sorry that I could not do better for her. But death came so quickly. I can still see her looking at me, for she died before I could close her eyes. She was all I had.

Her name was Caitlin, and she was about six- human years-old. She didn't understand why our life changed so drastically when we moved to my parents' home to take care of my father. Cait loved my dad, and would literally jump up into his arms when we came for a visit. She didn't understand about his brain tumor or why he behaves as he does. Cait tried to love my dad, but he poked his walking cane at her one time too many; she snapped at him each time he put his hand down toward her little head, and did bite him a time or two. I imagine she was jealous of the attention that I gave to my dad; caring for my dad, straightening out financial problems, keeping up the house and the yard, and bi-weekly visits with my handicapped child left little time to devote to her. Cait eventually became my mother's shadow because my mother spends most of her time reading or watching TV or eating. My mother liked having a lap dog who was house-trained, bathed and groomed. But my mother was not willing to put Cait's welfare before her own gratifications. Poor little Cait began to be a responsibility to my mother. And my mother is not a "responsible type." All of this led to Cait feeling a bit insecure. Every person who came to visit wanted to pet Cait on her head. Cait always felt threatened by this action, and she would snap, not bite, at the person. A simple warning not to pet the dog worked, but my mother would never tell people this before it was too late. Cait NEVER attacked anyone. She only snapped at a person's hand when she saw it coming down on her head, and if the motion continued, she bit (with what few little teeth she had left). She felt threatened, and she just tried to protect herself. She always went to one of her little beds when so instructed, and she would remain there while visitors were here.

I am emotionally exhausted. I don't know what more I can do for either my father or my mother. I sold my house, used to the money to help them get out of debt, provided round-the-clock care for my father, put my career on hold, and worked almost every day to improve their living situation. But ... isn't there always a major problem that never seems to be resolved? The problem here: Mother/daughter conflict. She is a "socialite" and people person. I am pretty much a loner and responsibility oriented. My mother has been trying to put my dad into a nursing home since his first week home in June of 1998. When she can't cope, she takes a pill and a drink, and then treats my father and me to a barrage detailing everything that is wrong in her life and how she cannot live this way. I think that I am ready to raise my flag of *surrender.* I cannot carry the load alone, and my mother would be pleased if I left (then she could put dad in the nursing home!) She could have the house, her golf, her friends, and NO responsibilities. What a rude awakening she will have when she realizes that at the age of 72, she has no cash resources and doesn't even know how to pay the bills. She thinks that she can get my dad on Medicaid so that she can then have his Social Security check to live on. But $810 won't go too far...

I offered to stay until the end of July, which gives ample opportunity to formulate plans, make arrangements. I told my father that if he did not want to live in a nursing home, I would find a place where I could care for him. But naturally he is confused. He wants to be in his own home, but he wants to please my mother. Today she has convinced him that he will be happy in a "Personal Care Home" and she will live just across the way in an apartment unit of the Retirement Village. She told him that she would visit him often. Anyone willing to comment on that?




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