The subject of death has been on my mind a lot lately. Mulling the inevitable when it comes to my parents, my mother specifically; my uncle’s, whose funeral is Saturday on my daughter’s birthday; my own (hopefully a long, long, LONG ways in the future); and that of a complete stranger, an 8 year old boy who convinced his parents that he was old enough to walk home alone for the first time after his day camp and who will never come home again.

I don’t like to read about death. I certainly don’t like to talk about death. Right now, I can feel the crushing anxiety in my chest from just writing about it. That is why I must write about it. Exorcise what must be my biggest fear in life. The irony, yes?

My mother’s mental decline has been marked. She’s always been a bit “scattered” but now acquaintances pull me aside and ask if she’s OK and that they’ve noticed a change. She was fired from one of her part-time office cleaning jobs of which she had three because she failed to lock the doors, again. In a town of less than a 1,000 residents it wouldn’t have mattered except it was the bank. Her other two employers implore with my brother to convince her to quit/retire because she seems so frail, tired, and frankly, isn’t doing a very good job anymore. He curtly tells them that if she’s not doing the job then they need to fire her.

Easy enough to say, but they know she doesn’t work because she’s in dire need of cash, but because after all the kids left home she became lonely and bored. She even still makes the weekly 30 minute trip to our home to spend a day with her closest grandkids, Doodicus and Aitch. Unfortunately I see that may have to come to an end as well, at least with her being the sole care-giver while Sparring Partner and I are at work. The past couple of times we have arrived home to find Aitch still in her pajamas. Not a big deal, I know, but it would appear that she may also be in the same diaper, completely saturated and even full of poop. Lunch might consist of a couple squares of cheese, a can of soda, and some marshmallows. They are entertained by Nick Jr., movies and video games.

As I posted earlier, she forgot my birthday which was last week. I saw her this Monday and she never even wished me a Happy Birthday. I mentioned this to my sister who is visiting, and she said that when she was running errands with my mom, she told me how they had just bought some birthday cards for a couple of the grandchildren and then she asked my sister if she needed to get birthday cards for the same kids she had just bought cards for.

I mentioned earlier that I’m not just worried about my mom even though she’s who’ve I’ve gone on about, but you will come to realize if you haven’t already, is that I’m justified. I know we have the Circle of Life and all that shit, but this…living death… a body functioning/a mind failing is painful when you think about how many beautiful memories she will never have to tide over her resting soul.

That brings me back to me. Oh, selfish Yo-yo… I see new “freckles” every day and it sometimes feels as if six month check-ups aren’t often enough. I worry, worry, worry, worry, etc. I often imagine the worst: that my skin cancer had actually gone beyond the site on my leg and had been in my system, undetected for years. I won’t see my son finally graduate and learn that all the bullies and bullshit from school wasn’t worth the heartache and stress. I won’t see my daughter grow up and put her devilish smarts to good use.

Even more selfish? I won’t know who looks up to them. Who they will have an impact on? Who will remember them after they are long gone? And who will remember me when I have been gone even longer?

I won’t live forever. I don’t necessarily want to because no one’s mind and body can keep up with the ravages of time. My mother sure as hell doesn’t want to. She’s been imagining herself dead for the past decade with her constant, “Well, next year I won’t even be here,” response to planning family events. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make my heart ache to think about her no longer here. I am grieving over something that hasn’t happened. Wasting precious time, and grieving over that as well! I am in constant fear over something I cannot control. I hate that my fear won’t end until the thing I’m most afraid of happens.

5 thoughts on “Fear”

  1. I think it’s a part of parenthood to fear death before you’ve seen your children achieve all of their major milestones. I never cared much about death, but now that I have a little girl – things are different.

    I have been fortunate enough to never have had to deal with the loss of mental health. I’m sorry that your mom is losing touch. I wish there were some way to reverse that process.

  2. Fear of something you can’t control is awful; whether it be the big C, or Death, or being unable to help your mom’s declining health. All of it, yeah – fucking scary.

    I had the same thoughts as Summer did. Would it help to see someone? I don’t have nearly the stuff you’re dealing with right now and my sessions with my therapist have been REALLY helpful with helping me cope with stuff so that it doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s been really great for me.

    Hugs, hon. If I lived closer I’d take you out and we’d get drunk.


  3. It seems to me that you ARE grieving something that is happening. You may not have physically lost your mother but, as you said, mentally she is not there a lot of the time. And so you are grieving that.

    As for all the fears you speak of, it sounds like they are on the edge of being overwhelming. When I’ve had times like that, it helped me to see a therapist. Just being able to say some of those things out loud made them less overwhelming. Do you get any coverage for therapy now that you have health insurance?

  4. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease. My dad died a year ago (just short of his 85th birthday). Dealing with the decline of my mom’s mental and emotional stability has been WAY worse than watching my dad fight cancer and pass away. The thing I came to realize about my father’s passing was that it was so much harder than I ever anticipated…but that in dealing with it, I was a lot stronger than I knew in some ways, but way more vulnerable in other ways. The situation with my mom is, as you say, a living death. It is so cruel. My heart goes out to you as you come to terms with your mom’s declining mental capacity.

  5. God, this scares me so much to read. I am constantly on the watch for signs of mental decline in my parents. Every time they make a simple mistake or repeat a story I start to panic. It’s so upsetting to watch our parents age.

You can say it here.

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