Tuesday, December 9, 2014



I was tossing and turning all night (even more than usual), stressed and worried about mum. I'm going to put it all down here to help get it out of my head. This is not to moan about my hard life, poor me, (I'm not the one with cancer!) it's just that I think better when I write it down.

Firstly of course I am very worried and sad and scared about my mother. She may only have months to live; and even if this medication helps, between now and the end there will be all the pain and indignities of a terminal illness. And the indignity is not a minor thing for her. I'm a bit surprised she is even talking about me coming to live there and help her because when we've talked about it in the past she has always been horrified by the thought of a loved one seeing her humiliated by things like help toileting. She would much rather an impersonal nurse. But she is not at that point yet so maybe it will still come to professional care. Our family tends to live a long time, her own father is still alive at 96 and living in his own home, so her probably dying in her early 70s is a big shock. My children will grow up without either grandmother.

My other big worry is leaving my husband and children to cope without me. It won't be so bad in a couple of weeks as we'll all be on summer holidays and they can come with me to Sydney or travel back and forth or whatever suits us, but for the next couple of weeks my husband is still working long hours and we'd have to organise after-school care for the kids. Maybe different friends could take them each day. It would be hard for my husband to get more time off right now, he has just been borrowed by parliament house for some important work for a couple of months and he already insisted on taking his Christmas leave right in the middle of it because we'd already made plans. (Of course we may have to cancel our beach holiday, I have already warned the children about that.) If mum needs me soon, it will be a real scramble to organise. And Tim is very out of practice in the kitchen - I am imagining them all eating at midnight every night. And when will he have time to shop?

Staying at mum's house is a big problem in itself. My brother lives with her. He is two years older than me, 46, and has never had a life. He has OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder - with a germ phobia and no empathy for others and strong resistance to change. My daughter recently realised he is very like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. Except Sheldon manages to have a job and friends. It is funny to watch on TV, not so funny to live with. He has also become a hoarder in recent years, mainly of food. He is gradually filling the house and garage with rotting food that he never wants to throw out. The bags of out of date packaged food in the spare room aren't so bad, but the meat and dairy and vegetables gone bad are just disgusting. Slimy, fly-attracting, and horrible smelling. Since mum got sicker it has got more out of control because she just can't deal with it. She had a cleaner come for a while but when they left she didn't look for a new one. Too embarrassed. If I am living there, there are going to be lots of stressful fights with him about it. Of course I will throw stuff out when he is asleep, if necessary, but I know he will just buy more. I'll need some space in the fridge for me and mum, he had taken over both fridges with just one tiny corner for mum.

Even once I get rid of the rotting food, the kitchen is falling apart and horrible. Mum was never very interested in cooking, and she knew Darren would just destroy any new kitchen if she renovated. He opens cupboard doors with his feet, stuff like that, because he doesn't like touching things with his hands.

The inconsistency between him having a germ phobia and hoarding rotting food is obvious to everyone but him. Mental illness isn't logical.

We only have one car and I am very out of practice with a manual like mum's, so I may be quite trapped once I get there. Luckily the shops are within walking distance.

And the bed. I took my single bed with me when I moved out and I'm not sure where she got the spare bed from but it is so saggy it is quite difficult not to roll out during the night. Very uncomfortable. I will have to organise buying a new one as soon as I get there.

Ok, I have got that all out of my head and onto the page where I can be less emotional about it. I can cope with any or all of that stuff. I'm glad to be able to look after mum when she needs me. I need to get on with getting things organised here so I can be ready whatever happens.


  1. I'm so sorry you have to deal with all this stress. I'll keep you and your mom in my thoughts.

    1. Thanks. It is a stressful time but I really am glad that despite all my little problems I am very able to go and help when she needs me to.

  2. Replies
    1. She said previously that she wants to stay near her medical team, who she is happy with. We don't have a spare room but the kids could move in together. I should bring it up with her again, but I don't think she will want to. Thanks for the suggestion though, it is always good to look for alternate solutions.

  3. When the time comes, you will do what has to be done. It may be horrible but you will deal with it and you will survive. Oh...the last 2 weeks of my dad's life were TERRIBLE (sorry I know that is not encouraging). (((hugs))))