Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So here’s what no one tells you when your mother gets sick.

She will turn in to someone you don’t want to be around.

Awful. Truly awful I know.
But I guess what I’m trying to say is that, in a normal day, when someone says something awful to someone, things get said, things get processed, things might get said in retaliation and then, either immediately or in time, things continue on.

But when someone gets sick, really sick. Sick enough that you honestly don’t think they will see their grandchildren hit their next birthdays, you say nothing. Because you can’t. Because what if they are the last words you say to each other and they are awful?

If you are a regular reader, you know my mum has aggressive cancer. She’s 76.

She’s currently riding the wild ride of surgery, drugs, depression, cancer pain, more drugs, stents, losing her home of 20 years, radiation, severe nausea and a whole heap of tears. It sucks to be sure.

So when I turn up to visit Mum each afternoon, more often than not I am confronted with a very upset, often incredibly cranky woman who has no one to take it out on but me.

Please don't get me wrong, I love my Mum and it breaks my heart to see her fading away and her getting so frustrated at the now incapacitated position she finds herself in.

When we found out Mum had cancer it sucked, but I guess I just thought, well OK, we’ll just get it treated and get on with it. Not so. It’s like walking the Kokoda track with no preparation or guidance. You’ve just got to hope you are at least fit enough to do the walking part and then have the sound mind to handle the uphill climb.

Today though, after being there to see her once again talk down to the nurses and refute everything they said, when all they were trying to do was help her, angered me. And the last thing I want to do is be angry with her.

I just wanted to shout at her and say exactly this “ You make my visits here miserable. I bring my daughter here after a long day at school, whilst my husband does double duty at home cooking, cleaning, looking after the 2 youngest, only to be told off on a regular basis and to hear nothing but negative"

But I can’t and won’t and I shouldn’t.
I think I need to remind myself I get to go home at the end of each visit. To do as I please and kiss my kids when I feel like it.
Time for me to cut her some slack and hope I can direct her in a more positive direction.
Perspective. I think I just got some.


Sheila (@stinginthetail) said...

When my mum was on chemo she was awful. Paranoid, selfish, and inclined to tantrums in supermarkets. She really wasn't herself, and was very over-emotional too.

Years later, she's intensely grateful for the time i spent. At the time it was misery. I unloaded long distance to my sister, but damn, i could have used a blog. Hang in there.

Brenda said...

You're doing the best you can Bern. And cut yourself some slack too. All the best.xx

Felicity Moore said...

Hang in there Bern. These things never last forever, even though it feels like it. And read what Brenda said before me. Read it again. And prolly a couple times a day. Cut. Yourself. Some. Slack.


emlykd said...

Bern, its not an easy road.. I wish I could say more.. I think that when all is said and done, you can only do what you can do.. As someone only starting out on this road, I wish I could say more, but you just gotta take each day as it comes... And do your best, no-one can criticize u for that.!

shon said...

Bern thank you so much for sharing this. So many people do not understand how a really ill person can become not so 'nice'. With my mum there are times when i just need to have a few days break because what she has said is too hurtful. Its been a long illness for her and as a teenage mum she is still really young so her fury at being unable to enjoy her 50's can at times envelope us all and I and my sister are oft in the firing line, esp when her pain is really bad. My kids will say 'nan's having a bad day' and it breaks my heart for them to see that side (with the pain meds she often has no recollection of the bad days). I wish everyday that it could be different for her, but its not, so we just take it day by day and it makes us who we are really. I cannot say I had such a capacity for 'forgiving and forgetting' before. I wish you and your mum all the best

Hi! I'm Alex said...

Stay strong, mothers are only people too.

When my mum got sick about two years ago she drove me insane. She still does. Sometimes I wanted to shout "The world doesn't revolve around you!" And sometimes I did. LOL!

We all just do the best we can

Sissel said...

Dear Bern,

I'm really sorry to see you all going to so hard times. Is raw and ugly, but it will get better.

You are doing great!
She will get better.

Take care.