regret

regret |riˈgret|

verb ( -gretted , -gretting ) [ trans. ]
feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, esp. a loss or missed opportunity).
noun
~ a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done.
~ used in polite formulas to express apology for or sadness at an occurrence or an inability to accept an invitation.

I’ve written about depression, guilt, and grief. But there’s another emotion, and it’s just as powerful and devastating as all of these emotions: regret. I say “just as powerful”, but sometimes it can be more powerful, simply because we can’t blame what happened on an illness, a doctor, fate, life, whatever; regret is all about something we feel we should have done differently, or not done at all. You can tell yourself that what’s done is done, and that you have to look forward, not back, and of course, that’s all true. You can talk about it, and cry about it, and that’s good, get it out. But from time to time you’re still going to hear that little “If only I’d….” voice:

“If only I’d listened.”
“If only I’d pushed harder, nagged louder!”
“If only I’d been there!”
“If only I’d taken her to get that checked earlier.”
“If only I’d done that for him more often.”
“If only I’d been more attuned to what she was going through. I should have sensed something was wrong.”
“If only I’d been more patient.”

The list could be a mile long and still not cover all the regrets ringing in the heads of millions of good people just like you right this minute. You can be the smartest, most loving, patient, competent person on the planet, but when the dust settles you’re still going to look back and, rather than remembering the thousands of wonderful things you did, your mind will chew away at your perceived failings and mistakes.

In the three and a half years that my husband and I fought his cancer, I did so many things right. If you asked me right now what they were, I’d have to think for a while to remember some, but ask me what I did wrong; what I regret, and immediately my mind hops back to the day at home when I had to give him a shot. I injected the needle and then he asked me if I was sure I’d expelled all the air. I was pretty sure I had, but I was so tired, I couldn’t say I was 100% positive, so I pulled the needle out, expelled all the air as he watched, and then….stuck the needle back in. BIG mistake. The muscle had tightened up after the first attempt and this second attempt really hurt him. Seven years later, I still feel the stab of horror I felt when he cried out, and I still cry when I remember that I caused him pain. Never mind that it was only my second time giving a shot; that he forgave me immediately; I have never been able to forgive myself.

Now you might be thinking: “She shouldn’t be so hard on herself, she tried her best.” This seems to be something that is much easier to think about others than ourselves, which is another reason we’re here. We’ll absolve you and you can absolve us, and we’ll all remind each other that we’re only human beings. If we could time travel we’d go back and do things differently and, no doubt, this would lead to a whole different set of mistakes and regrets. But we don’t have other worldly abilities, strength, or energy. We have to work with what we have and do the best we can for the people we love even as we’re feeling like frail and fallible creatures flying through a meteor shower on tattered wings.

 

 

75 Responses to Regret

  1. Cindy E says:

    I was looking for a place to put my thoughts today and I stumbled upon this page…I don’t think I ever ventured over here to “Regrets”. Jean, I love the way you turned it into an invitation to cast out some of the negative things we feel as we are on this journey.

    So I am casting these thoughts out into cyberspace…I am caregiver for my best friend Dianna who has a very rare form of dementia and tomorrow is her birthday. I have always been, and still am, extremely grateful for the day she was born.

    She was a light in my life (and so many others) that I could never describe with mere words. She was the epitome of friendship, love and loyalty. While she is still physically here, those special things that made her so wonderful are gone. She is nothing like that once vibrant, fun-loving, caring, selfless person.

    As I wrote out her birthday card, which she probably won’t even read, I broke down. I broke down for me! I am sad and I miss my friend. I miss all the things we were supposed to do together. I REGRET not telling her how much she meant to me when I had the chance. I REGRET the fact that it won’t make one bit of difference to her that it’s her birthday (well, maybe the cake will get a reaction out of her!) I REGRET that we don’t know how many more birthdays we will “celebrate” with her. I REGRET that her 8 year old son will never really know how truly wonderful, caring and selfless his mother was. I REGRET that we won’t have our rocking chairs on the front porch and grow old together!

    I am happy and so very grateful that God put her in my life. But, that just makes this that much harder!

    Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow (it’s today I see!) and especially pray for her son and her husband. Thank you all. And thank you Jean for being one of my angels on earth!!!

    • Betsy says:

      Dear Cindy,
      I hope writing out your pain helped a little. Those are some seriously sad facts you and your friends’ family are dealing with. I hope today, on her birthday, you were all able to find some bright spots as you celebrated the day your amazing friend was born. She sounds like the kind of friend we all would like to be. I’m glad her son has you to let him know what his mom was really like. Maybe someday you’ll feel like writing some of her story down for him. My friend asked people to send their favorite stories of my husband after he died. I can’t tell you how comforting it is to me and our kids to read them.
      I know what you mean when you say that having been friends with someone so special makes it so hard to lose them. I agree with you. So glad she has you to care for her now. You (and Dianna) are in my prayers tonight.
      Betsy

    • char says:

      Dear Cindy,
      Good thoughts and prayers coming your way today, and to Dianna and family.
      Regretting all you have lost, is ok, and venting is a must, we all need to do that from time to time. But, even thou your dear friend may not be the same, she is still here, you can hug her, hold her hand, kiss her, or if that is not possible, just be in the same room with her. She is still in there somewhere, and maybe she knows the love, the complete loyality, and the sadness you are feeling. I hope her birthday,is filled with cake and warm and wonderful memories of better times, between the two of you, and those memories will light your way today. I am hoping that you can find someway, to enjoy what you both still have, which sounds like a beautiful friendship. I lost my best friend 13 years ago to breast cancer, she left behind 2 sons, 8 and 11 years old. To this day regret not saying goodbye, but I was there, in her room, hours before she passed, and I chose to think she was aware of it, and knew it was our last goodbye. It’s hard to see a friend, loved one suffer, but we must go on, and you can be there for her son, to let him know the beautiful woman his mom was.
      Hoping this helps, thinking of you all today.
      ~Char

    • Ann says:

      Dear Cindy,

      Milestones, such as Dianna’s birthday, are always difficult. Though Dianna is still physically with you, her mental functioning has changed. This is a great place to vent and mourn the loss of your friend as you knew her. I hope that you can also take some time to remember many of the good, fun things you did together before the dementia became severe. I’m sure Dianna would remember you as a loyal, caring friend-even if you didn’t verbalize your feelings as much as you now think you should have. Maybe you can share some stories, memories, photos, etc., with Dianna’s son as he grows older…you could help him come to know his mother better through you!!! Realistically, if you grew old together and had your rockers on the front porch, one or both of you would likely have some other serious medical issue(s) to deal with. “Growing old together” sounds ideal, but realistically, it’s difficult to say what state of health you will be in during your “senior years”. And even if Diana had not developed dementia, there’s no guarantee she would be illness-free later in life.

      For now, it might make you feel better to focus on anything you can do to help Dianna’s husband and son. Maybe offer to bring a meal or help the son with his homework :-) I think that by helping them, you may feel that you’re helping Dianna…. I’m so sorry that you’re having to deal with this, Cindy. You, Dianna, and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.

      Love,
      Ann

    • Joan says:

      Dearest Cindy – My best friend, actually my second “mom” has alzheimer’s. Your regrets echo those in my heart. I love her so much. Only I am not responsible for her and she is in her 80’s, so her children are grown. I can’t imagine how difficult your situation is. Dianna sounds like such a wonderful person. I don’t know why these terrible illnesses have to happen, but I have to believe God is in control. Treasure your time with her and love her son as she would. One day she WILL know how you feel and will be so thankful for the care you are showing to her and her family today. My prayers are with you and Dianna’s family.

    • Jean Fogelberg says:

      Cindy, the worst regrets are the ones where we could have done something that would have somehow changed the current situation, and didn’t. Only one of your regrets is that kind: not telling her how much she meant to you, and you are making up for that in spades now. You have stuck by Dianne even when you were afraid for your own health and safety, and proven yourself to be a caring and loyal friend. What better birthday gift could a person ask for? ~ Jean

      • Ann says:

        Cindy,

        Jean makes a good point. You ARE showing Cindy how much she means to you through the faithful care you are providing her. And I’d be willing to bet that, prior to Cindy’s dementia, you did and said more things that showed her how much she meant to you than you remember :-) Give yourself a big pat on the back!!

        Love,
        Ann

    • Karen says:

      Dear Cindy, my heart was breaking for you reading your words here, I too struggle with a loved one with dementia, my mother. I took care of my mom at our house & then put her in respite care at a facility the whole month of August as we were traveling most of the month. When I came home, I realized I had suffered some kind of vision loss in one of my eyes from a swollen optic nerve, so with my own health crisis going on and the nurses assuring me she had adjusted very well to her new surroundings, I have kept her there for the time being while I continue to figure things out as well as continue to be out of town regularly. It’s not an easy situation though. I worry constantly and she has had some health issues since there from them not changing her regularly enough. We went to see her on her birthday, Oct 17th, and brought her a cake and she knew me and hugged me often, but then smiled and walked me to her bedroom door to escort me out and shut the door on me, the same behavior she does with anyone in her room. It’s heart wrenching, I know what you’re going through. I just went to my nieces wedding in FL recently & we were all crying how Barbara, my mom, should have been there. Recently, I saw a new treatment featured on a major news network they claim has finally had some success with “improving” memory, rather than just slowing down the onslaught of the disease progression, like Aricept, etc. The patients are inhaling nasally insulin, have you heard of this treatment yet? Maybe Dianna might be a good candidate for this, I don’t know…? I feel so bad for you and your dear friend and her family though. Dementia is a disease of the family though, as they say, because “everyone” suffers the consequences of it. We’re not sure what type of dementia my mom has either, no one has ever told me anything definitively. Her cognitive skills are good and physically she’s in good shape, but she cannot articulate words anymore or read the notes on her piano anymore either, but she still enjoyed sitting down and playing it her own new way. When you described Dianna as “vibrant, fun-loving, caring and a selfless person” the words touched me so deeply because they could also have described my mother and the person she once was as well. You still being there for her is the most selfless and loving act on your part any friend can hope to have and she is so very lucky to have you in her life. My mom has a sister she was always very close with her entire life and now that sister since my mom became ill has completely written my mother off as if she doesn’t even exist anymore. She doesn’t even call me to see how she’s doing. It makes no sense to us. So, I think you are an amazing person Cindy and I believe one day you will be rewarded many times over for your kindness and care towards your dear friend. Remember, in the grand scheme of things universally, we’re only here for a blink, and then after that, well, I guess, we’ll see. Take good care, Karen

      • char says:

        Dear Karen,
        How sorry I am to read that things are not going well for you. You are so sweat and loving, and or as a young person have so much on your plate. I wish there was something I could do or say to make this situation with your mom better. I am sorry you all have to go thru this, dementia is not easy for any of us to understand, is it?
        Karen, we are here for you, lean on us, and know that this site, will aide you as much as possible. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
        ~Char

        • Karen says:

          Thank you Char, you are always so thoughtful and kind. You have a full plate too, yet you are always so giving of yourself to the rest of us here. Your words of encouragement mean so much to me. You are adored. Yes, life is just a total mystery, so much beauty, so much pain in this strange but magnificent world we live in, all we can all do, is just keep going on for the ones we still have here and the ones that await us and do the best we can with our time here, making it matter. Everyone on this site is doing just that and it is an honor to be a part of such a unique and wonderful group of people. “Good people” as Dan would say. (Wink)

          And Hugs, Karen

  2. Ann says:

    Hi All, Please say your prayers for my dad. Apparently he woke this morning, was very dizzy and not able to get out of bed. He also was nauseated and started vomiting. I have previously mentioned that Dad is 82, and he had a stroke in 2007. Fortunately, one of my brothers and his wife (an RN) live just around the corner from my parents. I don’t know what we’d do if it weren’t for Brian & Judy (brother and his wife).

    The most recent report from my brother is that Dad continues to get dizzy when his head is raised (He’s now in the local hospital). They have ordered something for his nausea…hopefully a Phenergan suppository. Dad has always been much more emotional than Mom. In fact, I remember him tearing up/choking up more frequently than my mom.

    I think Dad probably just has a GI virus of some sort, hopefully not something like Meniere’s disease. He has become MORE emotional since he had the stroke, and Brian said he (Dad) was crying this morning. Apparently he felt guilty about having to take an ambulance to the hospital….poor Papa :-)

    I’m just crying myself now, because I’ve tended to keep my distance from my parents recently, but I used to be so close to them. My mom and I were very close until I finally got mad at her about something when I was 24 or 25 years old. She seems to have put up a wall and held a grudge ever since then. Now, we butt heads pretty easily….all of her children would concur that Mom has a tendency to be very controlling and has a know-it-all attitude. At the beginning of this year, I did offer to come down once a week or so, with the intent of giving my mom a break from caring for Dad that day. However, she turned me down. Mom has definitely been controlling about Dad’s care, so he has been at her mercy. For instance, when Dad first came home from rehab, Mom resented any health care professional coming into their home to assist her and Dad. She viewed these people as an intrusion.

    Quite honestly, and this is probably selfish, Dad has enough limitations that I find it difficult to do much w/him….though I would be glad to join him and Mom on one of their walks and would join them for their morning coffee gatherings at the local place where the seniors gather to have coffee and chat. Unfortunately, my dad has EXTREME hearing loss, which has just become gradually worse since he served in the Korean War (tank batalion). Since the stroke, he has more difficulty finding the right words, remembering people’s names, etc.(aphasia), so if he is on the phone with me, my mom is yelling words at him in an irritating fashion. Mom’s still very sharp and hardy, but for heaven’s sake, why doesn’t she just take more advantage of some respite care? They can afford it. In my “defense”, even during the summer, it was truly difficult to work around the girls’ busy schedules to find time to get away, though it is only about a 1 1/2 hr. drive to my parents’ home. My older daughter, Allison (age 16), much prefers spending time with my husband’s family-more fun, less pathology, plus she’s witnessed my mom saying and doing screwy things. I guess I could just bring Lauren to visit sometimes.

    Update: My brother will call me again when there is more info. Dad was given a med for dizziness, and that made him sleep. He continues to complain of abdominal pain….pray that it’s not something like pancreatic/liver cancer. Dad started smoking when he was just 14 (He and his friend used to roll their own). He did stop for a couple of years, and prior to his stroke had cut back significantly. However, for years he smoked a couple of packs of Lucky Strikes/day. Now he smokes nothing. Kirk and I both believe that the nicotine-craving portion of his brain was wiped out when he had the stroke.

    Thanks for letting me vent!!
    ~Ann

    • char says:

      Ann, thoughts and prayers coming your way.. Please let us know how things are going when you get a chance.

      ~Char

      • Ann says:

        Thank you so much, Char. I hate to make my mother sound so horrible, but she does bear some resemblance to Mary Tyler Moore’s character in “Ordinary People”. However, she DID do so many things RIGHT over the years-sewed most of our clothes when I was younger, ALWAYS had a home baked snack for us when we came home from school (including homemade ice cream roll!!), read to us, sang to me (I’m the youngest of 5) and my younger cousins as she rocked us to sleep, etc. She did always make me feel that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to, and I know she was proud of my accomplishments growing up (not exactly undconditional love, but the love she knew how to give). She never had it easy, living in the country, right next door to my paternal grandparents. And 5 children in my family were born in a span of 7 1/2 years….that had to have been h*l! All I’ve asked of her is an apology to my dad, me, and my sibs for the wrong and mean things she did and said, but that may not come until she’s on her death bed. Anyway, I’m upbeat that hopefully Dad just has some GI thing going on….. Will keep you posted, and thanks so much for your prayers, Char :-)

        • Denise H. says:

          Hi Ann. I’m in no position to offer advice to anyone (look at how screwed up MY family is & I haven’t even told HALF of it), but I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you & hoping for the best!
          Hopefully, your Dad just picked up a bug somewhere (I had one last week that I so graciously donated to my Mom). And maybe he needs his meds to be adjusted too.
          Keeping my fingers crossed for you & hoping that this is just a little bump in the road!
          Catch ya later,
          Denise H/ Neecie

          • Ann says:

            Oh Neecie, you are so sweet. Those from the outside view ours as the perfect family (my family of origin, that is). But we have had our share of dysfunctionality, as have many families. I’m just focused on my sweet Dad for now. You know, I don’t remember my dad every swearing (if so, it was rare, and I don’t remember him yelling for that matter). He has definitely become somewhat more fragile since his stroke, which I may have had more difficulty dealing w/than my sibs. But, like you, I think he just has some nasty virus. He rarely vomits and/or passes out, but more so than my mom. My brother let me know that he (brother) was headed back to work and that his wife or my mom would call me when more is known. My sister-in-law must have a good deal of paid time off, because she has a full time job in a pediatric clinic. I’m just for grateful for them looking out for Mom/Dad. Truly, I have told my brother that they he and Judy are a godsend

            And, Neecie, I believe that the majority of families have some degree of “dysfunctionality”….doesn’t matter how intelligent the family, how high the income. Most people who grow up under the same roof are bound to have some issues and problems. That’s life.

            I do so much appreciate your posting. So comforting that you are thinking of my dad and hoping the best for him :-) Thank you so much for being SO SWEET AND THOUGHTFUL, Neecie. Too bad we aren’t all as loving and caring as you!!

            Big Hugs,
            Ann

        • char says:

          Ann, we all need to vent from time to time, sometimes every day in my case! In addition, we all have family problems, after all we are only human. It sounds like your regret is weighing heavy on you. Take this time, when your dad is feeling better, and/ or has a diagnosis, to try to clear things up, between you and your Mom, it might make it be easier. Lately, I have been trying to understand that things happen for a reason, it is our task to figure out how to learn/benefit from it, positively.
          You all will be in my thoughts today.
          ~Char

  3. Karen says:

    Hi Char & Ann, thank you for the good advice regarding my thank you cake idea. I went ahead and ordered one yesterday and they’re delivering a big sheet cake today to the facility. When I called over there to speak with the admissions gal to ask how things went, she said mom settled in and did fine and if we ever needed them again to please call. I was so thankful for those words! I asked her if I could send a thank you cake over to them and she really liked the idea saying most of the time all they hear are the negatives, so it would be uplifting and very much appreciated by them. They also will do short stays which is great for us for when we need to go out of town for the weekend. I’ll be honest with you though, once I got her back here reality set in. I wanted to make a nice dinner Monday night for my husband and family for his first night home from his new job and I did, but I was not able to eat with them. When I went down to check on her there was a horrible mess and I didn’t finish cleaning everything up until 10:00 that night, so I ate alone after my shower at 10:30 and have been having an upset stomach since I ate late ever since. Last night, went to check on her, and had to clean her up at midnight. I’m doing wash usually all night long. She has had a bad diaper-type rash since she got out of the first place for a 2 week stay in June and this latest place was not able to improve upon it even with the help of the hospice nurses going there that I requested to keep an eye on it. Under my care, my mom has never had any rashes, but this is yet another reality of having her in a home, they will not receive the same type of care they would at home – unless she could be placed somewhere close by me that I could keep an eye on her daily, but that does not seem likely from what I know so far if she were to go in somewhere on a permanent basis. So, I’m in flux again. But enough about that.

    Happy Birthday Char! Wish we were all having a piece of cake together and a champagne toast to go with! We’ll have one in spirit. Prayers for your husband that he is still feeling better and healing fast.

    Cheers to Each Others Health and Our Loved Ones Health as well!

    Birthday smiles, Karen

    • Ann says:

      Oh Karen, bless your heart to be providing such stressful (and not very pleasant) care for your mom. As an R.N. and mother of 2 girls who are out of diapers, I just wanted to ask/suggest a couple of things. I probably haven’t read all of your previous posts, but it sounds like your mom is having a big problem with loose stools/diarrhea (??) Has this been an ongoing problem for her as her Alzheimer’s has progressed?….if so, I would think there would be some concern about her becoming dehydrated. I don’t know if her doctor would recommend Imodium or something else to slow down her bowel movements (not my area of expertise…just something I’d definitely address w/the doctor and/or care facility staff). It sounds like you have your own share of health problems, and your caregiving is also interfering with having some occasional, quality family time.

      Also, there has to be SOMETHING that can be done to lessen the severity of her diaper rash. For now, just make sure you get her cleaned thoroughly, and just as important, wipe after until her bottom is very dry. When my girls were babes/toddlers, I swore by a product calle Dyprotex, which I can’t find any longer-even online. I think it’s been discontinued. Again, don’t feel you have to deal w/this on your own…would you feel comfortable contacting the hospice nurse(s) and even the nursing staff that just cared for her? Did they send your mom home with any discharge care instructions?? I’m sure her interem caregivers would want to assist you in any way they can.

      Are you wanting to be Mom’s primary caretaker, Karen, or are there medical coverage constraints perhaps? In no way do I want to meddle in your personal issues/problems. It’s just that after reading your most recent post, I felt overwhelmed and concerned for you and your immediate family. O.K., now I did just notice that you communicated you’d want to be able to check in on your mom daily, if she were to be placed somewhere (other than your home) on a permanent basis. Have you been able to speak w/a social worker, Karen? The staff at hospice might also be able to provide you with some suggestions for long-term care, if you feel like you’re shouldering too much responsibility. In the meantime, I’d take advantage of the respite stays for your mom in this most recent care facility. And just don’t hesitate to ask questions-and expect to get satisfactory answers.

      Please keep us updated, Karen, because all of us here really care about the well-being of your mom, you, and the rest of your family. Best wishes to your husband in his new place of employment!! And as Char would say, Don’t Lose Heart :-)

      Much love,
      Ann

      • Karen says:

        Hi Ann, thanks so much for your concern. She doesn’t typically have loose stools, in fact, it’s usually the opposite and I give her stool softeners and Colace, but only PRN – as needed, or else I’ll have my work cut out for me day and night and I’ll loose my mind. I think what may have happened is they gave her a lot before I picked her up and then once home she didn’t use the bathroom b/c she wasn’t used to it yet and just used her hands in her room instead, which has been a problem for the last 9 months anyways, but this was the worst case I’ve ever seen of her making a terrible mess with it. I just threw out her clothes & sheets, I couldn’t deal with it. We never replaced the flooring since we tore out the carpet from a previous mess she made down there and it’s just as well. It’s bare concrete currently, but I’m glad I didn’t put hardwoods down like I almost did. I had to pour bleach straight on the floor to get the smell out.

        Today, the Hospice nurse came over & I showed her the rash right away which they knew about. In fact, Noxie, was the one that called in a powder for us to use that the nursing home was told to use on her at every changing. Well, I went & got the bottle and we looked at it & they never used it once. I put thick layers of A&D on her last night & this morning and it all ready looked better, but my concern has been the whole time as I stated to Hospice since June when she got this is that the rash on the inside of her right leg has circular red patches and looks different from the standard type looking diaper rash on her backside. Lida, one of the other Hospice nurses, thought it might be ringworm but we tried Lotrimin cream for 2 weeks and it didn’t change. Then, the doctor just before she went in for the latest respite stay called in a liquid antibiotic and it made her sick with a fever to go with it, so we took her off that immediately and she got instantly better, but not the rash. (Isn’t that strange how the antibiotic caused fever??) So today when Noxie and I looked at it, it seemed the best since she got home on Sunday probably from all that A&D I used and Noxie said use the powder first at every changing and then put the A&D over it. I really like the A&D with zinc which I sent with her to the nursing home and that tube didn’t come home with her, so I hope it was b/c they used it as opposed to not using it (like the powder)! I need to get a tube tonight w/ the zinc in it and I will just try to see if I can heal it that way and if not, she’s going to have to go to a doctor or someone is going to have to call something in that will heal her skin. I remember too, going through this with my baby, and I was trying all different kinds and mail-ordering different types and using friends homemade concoctions, etc. until realizing the A&D which the pediatrician recommended worked the best out of all of them b/c of the A & D nutrients helping to support the skin and helping it to heal. So, we’ll see. After 3 movements since she’s been home on Sunday, her tummy looked pretty flat today, so I’m hoping things have calmed down for awhile! I’m going to keep her off the milk products for a day or two as well. I’ll let you know if it improves after a week.

        Noxie voiced the same concerns about getting me some additional help today and is going to talk with the social worker about that. I had a call in today to her as well and I missed her return call when I ran out for 15 minutes to get myself a bagel to make my stomach feel better. I had 2 since then and it did the trick! First time in my life I ever ate 2 bagels at one time, not sure that’s such a great thing! You’re not meddling at all and those are great questions you’ve posed which I am actually trying to find out the answers to myself right now if we have more options available to us through Medicare for more assistance. The Hospice tries to assist you with a volunteer to come over once a week for an hour or two just to babysit essentially and that is of no value to me when they are not allowed to assist her if she needs help with toileting. Noxie seemed to think there may be possibly more options available for us so I hope so when I talk with Jen, our social worker tomorrow. If you have any knowledge on how it all works, do let me know. She has Medicare, not Medicaid currently.

        Thanks for being so caring Ann, I really appreciate it.

        Smiles, Karen

        • Ann says:

          Hello Karen!

          I feel so much better after reading your updated report. Jen, the social worker, would be the best person to answer your questions about medical converage, options for long-term care for your mom, etc. Medicaid (Title XIX) is available in all 50 states, but I know that to be eligible the person/family has to have limited income and resources. I’m assuming that your mom doesn’t have supplemental insurance (???)

          You should be in good hands with Jen; you might want to make a list of questions to ask her as thoughts/concerns pop into your head. If you are serious about checking out any care facilities for your mom, make sure you get a thorough tour, have a chance to speak to the administrator, etc. Also, the internet can always provide a wealth of information….if the place you’re checking into has any strikes against it, you’ll be able to pull that up.

          So glad that things seem to be stabilizing with your mom. Please let me know how things go as far as getting addtl. assistance in caring for her :-)

          Love,
          Ann

          • Karen says:

            Hi Ann, yes, when Jen and I talk next we’ll see what else we can come up with. She does have a Medicare supplemental insurance plan. Regarding Medicaid, I wish I knew of a good book that can tell me the ins and outs of getting qualified. I have bookstore on my list of things to do and I should do a search too as well to investigate. Of course, elder care attorneys are an option as well, but so expensive and not sure that is necessary at this point.

            I’ll let you know how I make out!

            Thanks! Big hugs, Karen

            • Ann says:

              Hi again Karen!! I just noticed that Jean has a great page set up on this website….look under “Financial Aid”. Also, totally agree w/Char about making sure you’re looking out for your own health :-)

              Love & Hugs,
              Ann

              • Karen says:

                Hi Ann, I took a look at that section tonight and I actually had studied it and the links it provided intently several weeks ago and it does give some great ideas on how to get help and what to look into, so I printed off some subjects again tonight as reminders. (I know I did that a few weeks ago too and placed it on my husband’s desk area to peruse; but we’ve been so busy these past several weeks we haven’t acted on anything yet, but we’re still working on it.)

                You are such a sweetie for trying to help me, thank you! I’ll let you know how things turn out.

                Love, Karen

        • char says:

          Hi Karen, you seem to be on the right track, great ideas coming in from Ann. You now have to try to make time for you and your tummy too! Been there and done that.
          Please let us know how you and mom are progressing, things take time, and that for me is the hardest part. But I think you are doing a wonderful job.
          Thinking of you.
          ~Char

  4. Karen says:

    Oh my goodness! I just figured this out. “Almaletta Finks” is Jean & her mother’s children’s book. I just read about it on Amazon. I’ll be getting it tomorrow, can’t wait! I can tell right away, I’m going to love it!

    We picked up mom from the nursing care facility and she is back home resting comfortably in her big bed downstairs with her piano and big tv waiting for her to play with tomorrow. She seems her usual self. The only change as of the last few months is that unfortunately she cannot articulate her few words anymore. “Paperwork” her main word, has turned into “paperworth” and now it’s just “worth”. But she still is active and bright-eyed and still likes to put on her inside shoes when she gets in the house! Go figure. Tells me there’s still a lot of cognitive skills going on inside her.

    I hope this particular facility will take her back for future respite stays. The only negative I heard was that she likes to close everyone’s doors all the time. (Well, that’s why we placed her in a locked unit for “dementia” patients, so I hope they take that into consideration.) When I asked the admissions person if she could stay on a 2nd week, she voiced that concern/complaint and then went to ask the nurse supervisor who luckily happens to be a wonderful & compassionate person and she got on the phone with me and very warmly welcomed her to continue to stay saying she was doing just fine. I want to send the staff a thank you of some sort for taking such good care of her for me while she was there. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. The best thing I could come up with on my own is to have a large sheet cake delivered with “Thank You” on it so that way everyone could have some, plus a card of course.

    Another funny story when I picked her up was when I asked if she had any trouble knowing which room was hers while she was there and the med-tech gal laughed & said “she’s not in that room anymore, she done picked her own room out” and she pointed to a different room at the end of the hall! When I went in there, it was a nice big room with no one else in it (they originally had her in a companion room) and it had a better bed too. I guess, she liked her privacy! The location she picked, may have been easier for herself to find as well.

    My husband had a few well-deserved couple of weeks off once Sony Ericsson closed their plant down here and starts his new and excellent job tomorrow, so all in all we are very thankful for our many blessings right now and especially thankful we don’t need to relocate. As long as I can get this respite stay situation to keep working when we need it, I am in such a better place mentally these days than when I first signed on in the spring frustrated and mad at the world back then. I’m hoping my husband & my stress levels can continue to level out. He’s got golf, I have my wonderful friends. I need to have my wonderful gym or treadmill too though back in my life! As a matter of fact, I had my husband move the treadmill out of the back storage room yesterday before we went to get mom today, so that she would be used to it all ready when she sees it when she gets back. Last time we tried to bring it out, she started trying to move it and my husband said no way, she’s going to break it and he put it back away and then I couldn’t use it. I am starting to have even more pain than the usual norm in the mornings when I wake up and I know my joints are getting worse as I’m starting to feel pain everywhere now. My right hip is the worse, but even the other one is getting bad now, so I have to constantly switch back and forth all night long. I will make an appt. to go see the rheumatologist that I’m overdue to see this year. I’ve been really bad about taking my glucosamine and vitamin D regularly, so I really need to start paying closer attention to my health…I hope I can start making those needed improvements, I really do not feel like a physically very healthy person these days. My sweet little Springer, Wendy, she too, we just found out has hip problems as well at 4 years of age and the vet has her on a special glucosamine tablet as well called “Dasaquil” for dogs. I give them to her daily and not to myself. I took mine today though and will start taking them regularly again. My doctor told me I need to take 4000 of D, I’m at the lowest point on the norm and she says they like to see it much higher for optimum health. So, don’t forget to get your D checked at your doctor visits ladies, many people are low and don’t realize it.

    • char says:

      Hi Karen,
      I think your idea of a sheet cake with a big thank you written on it is great. It shows your appreciation, and gives the staff something nice to have during a break. Hope all is well with you, Mom and Wendy today.
      ~Char

      • Ann says:

        Hello Karen, I totally agree w/Char about the sheet cake. As a nurse (not practicing currently), I can tell you that staff members in healthcare settings are forever bringing in food to munch on, scheduling potlucks, etc. If you work in a hospital, nursing home, etc., you can count on never leaving hungry at the end of the day!! It’s very thoughtful of you to want to give back to the people who cared for your mom :-) Have a great day!!

        ~Ann

  5. Carolk says:

    Everytime I open this web site I end up crying. Regrets? Yes, so many, I can’t even talk about them, it’s hard enough to remember them all the time. There are no answers for regret, except to keep living and keep trying. There will be more regrets as time passes, we’re just human, we make choices, sometimes good, sometimes we don’t have a choice. Prayer helps.
    God bless.

    • Lisa M says:

      “You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better.” By Maya Angelou. One of my favorite quotes – so simple and yet so profound in how it reminds us that we are merely human in our attempts to do right and make good choices. It just doesn’t always turn out the way we hoped or wanted/expected. But at the time, I imagine you did what you thought was best with what you knew in that moment. I can’t imagine the burden that you’re carrying, Carol. Please try to be gentle with yourself. You’re in my prayers.
      Lisa

      • Ann says:

        Hi Carol,

        Lisa gave you great advice. If you feel like you want to open up more in a private 1:1 situation, check the left-handed column-PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS. You’d have a handful of people to pick from to initiate some conversation that’s more confidential. Just know that all of us here care about you and will help however we can!!

        Take good care,
        Ann

        • Carol says:

          Thanks Lisa and Ann..there is nothing to say, I read all the sadness here and I read of many people writing how hard they are trying, but they are just resigned to what has to be, and so many have lost loved ones, I have lost loved ones, It’s so sad to read some of these stories. They cause me to remember things I couldn’t help, things I couldn’t stop. We have to go on, and I am. But memories never leave us and that word “regret” is with us from the time we learn the word until the end.
          Thanks for your caring words, but I am fine..I just revisited some old painful memories and regret was on my mind.
          God bless
          Carol

  6. Susan says:

    Not sure where to post this, could be humor, but wanted to tell you about today with my mom. After getting up early to help a friend move, I come home and my mom is all done with all of her puzzles and needs more. C’mon Mom, let’s find some puzzles. We head to Target, Kmart and all over. She either has them all or doesn’t like them. We wind up at a used book store and managed to get her enough to get thru the week. Not sure what happens when she is done with this batch. But the best part of the day? Buying and having a cup of coffee with my mom at Starbucks’s, knowing full well she will not remember any of this next week. PRICELESS!!! Thanks for listening everyone. Hoping you are all having a peaceful and relaxing weekend. Blessings-Susan

    • Susan says:

      Sorry, I should explain I posted it here because in all of this, THERE ARE NO REGRETS!!!

    • Jean Fogelberg says:

      Had a long day with my mom, just the two of us. Ran a bunch of errands, went to lunch, grocery shopped – a lot of in and out of the car to her wheelchair so it was tiring for her, but we had fun. By the time we were driving home she was having some confusion, asking me where we were, where I lived. It was sweet – there was no fear in her voice, she knew she was safe with me, but she very politely asked me my name, asked me to name my sisters so she could repeat our names, apologized for being so muddled. After a nap and dinner (I made Dan’s Turkey Bolognese) she was clear again and before bed I started reading the finished version of Almaletta Finks to her and she is loving it.

      • Karen says:

        Hi Jean, I’m up late tonight too, just came over to my computer to relax for a few minutes before bed. I’ve been working all day/eve trying to catch up as much as possible from being gone from our trip because we’re picking up mom from the nursing home tomorrow to bring her home. We made it as far up to Acadia/Bar Harbour, made stops at Cappy’s and Lily’s per your recommendation and Frommer’s. I came back from the trip believing Maine is indeed a mystical place. Just beautiful. We ate lobster everyday. My guys played in the cold waves at several of the beaches. Great trip. I didn’t get a chance to see my moose or whales I wanted to see, but we’ll save that for another time.

        I can’t wait to see my mom tomorrow. I called everyday the first week to make sure she was OK and yesterday they said she was doing just fine. Reading about your day today just gave me such a feeling…I know exactly what you’re going through. It’s sad and beautiful all at the same time and I remember when my mom used to say the same thing to me: if she couldn’t say the word or words, she would say she “was sorry” and I remember how astonished that used to make me feel. I wanted to cry when she would say that and just hug her. They apologize for something that is not their fault…so heartbreaking. It sounds like your sweet mom is doing really well and still has lots of good cognition. She may benefit possibly in her early stages from some holistic supplements. A friend of mine took her mother who also has Alzheimer’s to a doctor that put her on a special supplement schedule. I haven’t tried it with my mom because she is in late stage, but I can pass the information on to you if you want to take a look at it.

        I’m so glad you guys are together right now. Give her a hug from me.

        Smiles, Karen

      • char says:

        Hi Susan, Karen and Jean,
        It is so interesting that we all ended up on this page today/last nite. I actually was posting a comment, about my regret/sadness/guilt I am presently feeling in not being my husband’s primary caregiver at this point. He is in a facility, getting IV therapy, PT and wound care. I typed it up and never hit the submit tab, it’s amazing not sure why I chose “regret” either. All of your stories involved your mom’s, and my 90 year old has just started “forgetting” certain things, which is making her very upset. This time I have been given, in not being Rich’s primary cg’er will go towards my mom. Funny how things work out. So amazing what we all have in common. I will learn from your comments and enjoy many hugs, laughs and coffee too. Thanks all and love to the moms.
        And Karen, it is my hope that I can get Rich well enough to get back to our beloved Maine, for the first snow fall!!!!
        ~Char

        • char says:

          ps: forgot this, one thing I do not regret, using the vistor’s computer at the hospital and adding DLH to their favorites. And now, on the the computer at the facility where Rich will be for 6 weeks. Can’t think of a better place to talk caregiver!!! See I told you everything happens for a reason!!!

          ~Char

          pss: Oh, and did I mention while re-reading Mrs. A. Finks… one of Rich’s doctors asked me about it, and he will be purchasing a copy for his young daughter!!!!!

          • Denise H. says:

            I loved all of your comments! I, too, spent the day with my Mom. Since I’ve been on 3rd shift, I don’t often get the chance to just go out & spend the day with her, visiting craft stores, flea markets & things that we enjoy doing.
            You all basically know the story of my sister; a drug addict who is always in & out of trouble & sponges off of my Mom (& stresses her out). Once again, she is in trouble & goes to court this week. Hopefully the judge will at least sentence her to some major probation with numerous surprise drug checks!
            We all know that Mom needs to toss her butt out on the street but I just don’t think the mother in her can bring herself to do it! We live in a duplex (me upstairs & them downstairs) so I can, at least, keep an eye on them.
            Anyway, I’m not so much a “caregiver” to my Mom. She is in good health & just has the normal memory slippages. I would say that a better description of myself is her “sanity keeper”.
            I would guess that my regret is that my sister doesn’t care enough about her mother & her children to treat them right ! She’s got great parents (although our Dad is dead & I’ll always be convinced that her antics probably helped him into an early grave) & she has great kids (2 of the 3 now refuse to even see her). I know that she can’t stand me because I tell her what I think & she doesn’t like it. Oh well, I can deal with it. At least her daughters love me!
            But Mom & I had a good day, so that is good!
            Take care, ladies, & stay cool! Love ya all!
            “Neecie”

            • Ann says:

              Hi Neecie, I’ve heard you mention your sister and her problems, but I don’t know too much of the story. Do you feel comfortable sharing whether or not “Sis” has ever been through a rehab program….or if anyone has coordinated a Drug Addiction Intervention? This has to be a hellish situation for your whole family to deal with. Her poor children…is their dad in the picture? I just care, but understand if there are some things you don’t want to open up about. I know an AWESOME woman, who had alcohol and cocaine addiction problems-SEVERE-and I give her a huge pat on the back for finally hitting rock bottom and seeking help. AA has been great for her, and that is where she met her significant other. Chris (friend) has now been sober for many years, has a reliable job, and thankfully her intelligence seems to not have been affected. She’s extremely bright and a trivia whiz!!

              Hang in there, and remember that your sister has to acknowledge her problems before she can change her ways. I gather from your degree of frustration that you’re not holding out much hope for her to even get to that point. Take satisfaction in all of the other POSITIVE things going on in your life!!

              Love,
              Ann

              • Denise H. says:

                Hi Ann. Oh dear Lord, my sister is a walking nightmare! She has been in so many rehab programs that it isn’t even funny. She does things & gets in trouble with the law (we have a variety pack of crimes to pick from here). She KNOWS that her butt is in trouble so she goes to the local mental health/rehab place. She signs up for the program, goes in front of the judge & says “I know that I have problems so I enrolled myself in rehab.” The judge says “Oh how wonderful that you realize that you have a problem & are taking steps on your own to deal with it.” She gets off with probation & having to continue her drug program. Probation ends, drugs start again! Kind of cynical, aren’t I?
                Her big “crime” was 8 years ago Saturday. She was arrested on credit card theft & fraud, related to drugs. She was arrested for this (in a different town) on the day that she was supposed to appear in court here for traffic & drug charges. Mom had paid her bail on the traffic & drug charges, so when she didn’t appear, Mom lost her bail money.
                She was locked up for the better part of a year (July ’til April) for the credit card stuff. My Mom had to take over raising her minor son & get an apartment that was close to his school so that he could walk there.
                When Mom came back from the arraignment on the credit card stuff, she stopped at a different grocery store than normal to pick up some stuff for supper. After loading her groceries in her van, she was pushing the cart back to the store & the wheels hit a small rock & caused the cart’s wheels to turn & tip the cart & knock her over. She SHATTERED her right forearm! She had to have surgeries in August & September to fix it (including some bone grafts).
                My parents were divorced but got along great & Dad offered to help with my nephew (taking him to school, etc). The week after Thanksgiving my Dad died unexpectedly. The jail said that my sister could go to his funeral but she didn’t want to because she would have to wear handcuffs! Earlier on this page you can read about the regrets that I have over Dad’s death.
                My nieces & nephew are all grown now. They each have a different father. The girls’ dads are both good men & raised them well. My nephew’s father was a piece of crap who was out of the picture while he was a toddler & never saw him again (which was actually a blessing). I was doing genealogy a couple of years ago & stumbled across his obituary in a different state.
                The funny thing is that my Dad’s oldest daughter refused to go to his funeral because of her own vanity (didn’t want to be seen in handcuffs), but two of her ex-husbands (the girls’ dads) were there for him & us! At the cemetery, it was cold & snowy & my Mom was standing there shivering. Her ex son-in-law saw it & came up behind her & wrapped his huge arms around her to warm her up (he’s 6’4″).
                The following day she was diagnosed with shingles on her face, due to the stress she’d been under!
                I’m to the point that I don’t think that she’ll get better. She will either die of an overdose, die from infections contracted from dirty needles (she’s already almost lost an arm & a hand that way), finally be put in prison or be in the wrong place at the wrong time & be killed. She won’t get better.
                As I’ve mentioned before, I would dearly LOVE to win a fortune in the lottery & pack Mom, the dog & myself up & just get out! But that won’t happen either so I just try to watch out for Mom & help her stay sane.
                I’m afraid that I don’t have very high opinions of rehab facilities. I see what my sister is like & I think “THAT is what rehab does?” I know that they say that the addict has to hit rock bottom but what if the family hits rock bottom FIRST?
                Oh well. I’m pretty much used to it by now. As my niece says, the mother that she remembers as a little girl died a long time ago & she is sad for her brother & sister that they never knew that mother. By the way, my sister is a heroin addict, if I didn’t mention it before. Actually, she is an addict of any kind of medicine, even Excedrin, but heroin is the biggie!
                Thanks for trying to make some sense of it. It ain’t easy!
                Love ya,
                Neecie

                • Ann says:

                  Hi Neecie, Gosh I’m so sorry I had to have you post all of this “stuff” again…I probably should have looked back further at your previous posts. Sorry-maybe venting again helped (??)

                  Man, your sister’s situation is much more concerning than I had realized. She’s one of those people who seems to have fallen through the cracks of the judicial system. The people that should be helping her are just just enabling her destructive and illegal behaviors. Now I can see why you’re not holding out hope. And it sounds like your mom’s arm injury and your dad’s death just happened in 2009 (?) You are one strong woman, Neecie!! I’m sure your mom REALLY appreciates all that you do for her and your nieces/nephew. I wish I could give you a big hug, send you on a vacation to a warm destination, and find a replacement person to live your high-stress life for a week (or two!!) Would that be like winning a mini-lottery??!!

                  You hang in there, and don’t feel bad if you are jaded about life at times. I’m so glad you found this website, because you add so much-especially great humor (!!) to it :-)

                  Lots of love,
                  Ann

                  • Denise H. says:

                    Thanks Ann. It really doesn’t bother me to talk about it (most of the time) because I’ve almost gotten immune to it! It almost surprises me when people comment on how bad it is because I think “you mean that other families don’t have this, it isn’t normal?”
                    No, the events with my Dad & my Mom breaking her arm & my sister going to jail for most of the year all happened in 2002. My sister was arrested on the credit card charges on her oldest daughter’s birthday…nice present, huh?
                    The thing is, my sister was supposed to straighten up & get a job & get back on her feet & help Mom out. Didn’t work out that way. She has been fired from every job since then (always for theft) & is still sponging off of Mom!
                    When my sister has been in rehab, she will come home & show us pictures that they colored in counseling. Now what in the hell does coloring pictures have to do with getting off of drugs? Now, when I give to United Way, I refuse to give money to the drug programs! I don’t know about anywhere else, but in this county they are a joke & I would rather it go to animal welfare or something else useful!
                    By the way, she went to court this morning on charges that she was selling food stamps (& I have no idea what she was even DOING with food stamps). She got off again. The judge said that it was entrapment. She’s in fine form today (as her son would say, she is “jones-ing”). She’s needing the drugs badly! She looks like hell & is a completely evil bitch! Hateful! I called my Mom to warn her about her behavior. I said that she will probably be at the hospital before the day is done to either get some kind of drugs or I am going to knock her ass there! Ha-ha! Oohhhh, I just thought of something. She probably IS jones-ing because she had to be in court this morning. It’s not a good idea going in front of the judge stoned (not that it would probably make a difference with OUR judges)!!!
                    Oh, if you are going to send me on vacation, don’t make it anyplace hot! It’s been too hot here all summer! Right now it is 79 degrees & it almost feels like winter…I LOVE it!
                    You know, there really isn’t much that I want out of life. I just mainly want for my Mom to be safe & happy & not have to worry about anything. I know that my sister can’t stand me but I don’t really care anymore. I kind of agree with what my niece said about her Mom dying long ago; my sister “died” long ago too!
                    Okay, I’ll stop playing “poor, pitiful me” now. It is what it is & I should be used to it by now.
                    Take care & I’ll catch ya later.
                    Love ya,
                    Neecie

                    • char says:

                      Neecie, I really wish there was something I could say to take away your frustration, pain, hurt, and your disappointed with your sister. I too would find it very difficult to deal with this situation. But, there are many out there, that would find my situation difficult to deal with and accept. So, trying to look at it that way, maybe you might be able to deal with it better. Bottom line, kid, I think you are pretty fab-u-less. You do what you have to do, work a third shift, and provide such a loving family situation for your Mom and nieces and nephew. I think you need to give yourself a big hug, glass of wine and a pat on the back GOOD JOB.
                      ~Char

                    • Denise H. says:

                      Hi Char. Really, I am used to it by now & don’t dwell on it. I mainly just feel bad for my Mom, she doesn’t deserve to be treated the way that my sister treats her.
                      I really don’t even think of my sister as a relative or anything anymore. She is just a person who once existed & now pretty much doesn’t. Actually, I’d be surprised if she is even alive by this time next year, but that’s her choice. She’s had every opportunity in the world to get clean but she screws over anybody who tries to help her.
                      The thing that ticks me off more than anything is that there are people like little Ronnie, or your husband, or Dan who would give the world to have the health that she had, or even still has. But she goes & sticks needles in her neck (yep, I’ve seen the track marks there) & other places & keeps destroying what health she has left. By the way, I was right about my crack that she’d be at the hospital before the day was over. She went there this afternoon (but I didn’t knock her on her ass to get her there)!
                      Her latest game is saying that she has sciatica. She goes to the hospital saying she is in extreme pain, they give her some kind of shot & a prescription for 5 days worth of medicine & tell her to rest her back & use crutches or a cane. She comes home, does what she wants, takes the 5 days worth of medicine in 2 days, goes back to the hospital crying & we start the cycle all over again! I know sciatic is painful but I suspect that she is milking it to get the drugs!
                      Basically, I am just resigned to the fact that she is what she is & she will never change. I just hope that when she overdoses that it is me who finds her body instead of Mom or her kids. I don’t want them to have to live with that!
                      Yeah, I look at you & what you’re going through, & what Jean had to go through with Dan & what she is going through with her mother. You don’t have a choice, these are actual diseases that your husband (& Dan & Mrs. Mayer) are fighting. They didn’t ask for them, they WANTED to be healthy! What my sister is doing is by CHOICE! I resent it like hell when she says that addiction is a disease! NO, it is a CHOICE; Rich, Dan & Mrs. Mayer have diseases! Once you have gone through rehab once (or, in her case, about 5 times) & gotten cleaned up, & then start doing drugs again, you have made the CHOICE to do them. These rehab facilities who call it a “disease” are just being the addicts enablers! They gave them the excuse to take drugs again & not take responsibility for it.
                      I don’t envy you your job of trying to nurse your husband back to health. You’ve got battles on a couple of fronts! But at least he is probably a willing participant in the battle.
                      No, don’t worry about me. I’m fine, I just get really p****d off now & then & explode.
                      BUT…the IMPORTANT thing is…WHAT DAY IS TOMORROW???
                      Take care.
                      Love ya,
                      Neecie

                    • char says:

                      Neecie, just know we are all here for you and your mom. You both have so much stress every day. I will keep you both in my thoughts I am sending good wishes, for health and happiness and cooler weather your way.

                      ~Char

                    • Ann says:

                      Dear Neecie, I just woke briefly and am headed back to bed. I’m no psychiatrist, but I do have a background in psych nursing….has anyone ever suggested that your sister may have an antisocial personality disorder (i.e., she’s a sociopath)? Or maybe you’ve already thought this yourself (?) Your description of her behaviors and lifestyle fit the bill for that diagnosis. Not that this would condone any of her deviant behaviors, but at least you’d have some explanation. I’d be interested in hearing what her personality was like as a child and teen.

                      Anyway, I wish you and your dear mother had a support group-or just others to talk to-to express your anger, fears, frustration, etc. I just can’t understand why hospitals allow your sister to be readmitted for “sciatica”, when it’s apparent she’s just trying to get her hands on more drugs. She must be one slick con artist.

                      Well, Neecie, you know we are all here for you to lean on and give you support, so just keep posting. Know that we care so much about you and your mom. And even though your sis has put your mother through the ringer, I’m sure your mom is so THANKFUL she has you…and loves you very much :-) I’ll say a little prayer for the two of you before I go back to sleep…

                      Love & Hugs,
                      Ann

                    • Denise H. says:

                      Hi Ann. That makes as much sense as anything. I don’t really have time to tell you her story today, but I will tomorrow.
                      If anything, my sister is spoiled & sees herself as still being a teenager.
                      By the way, she went back to the hospital at 5 this morning & got another shot. That makes at least 12 visits since the 4th of July! Plus, she had the emergency squad come once.
                      Our hospital is a local joke. I know of at least two people that they have killed. In fact, a few years ago they had an investigation over the mysterious deaths there! You are better off going to a vet! So the fact that they are her enabler doesn’t really surprise me.
                      Thanks for being my “shrink”, ha-ha! Catch ya later,
                      Neecie

        • Karen says:

          Hi Char, that pretty thought got Dan’s “Snowfall” playing in my head. We had a few days of snow ourselvs in NC this past winter & I loved putting that song on the evenings and spending a quiet evening with just myself and a glass of red and watching the snow fall outside our windows to that unbelievalbly beautiful piece of music. One of my favorites in the summertime of Dan’s to listen to is “Sweet Magnolia” he really captures the sound of the South and tells a roamntic story to go along with it, reminds me of the “Notebook” movie…my husband is just walking in the door and is telling me to get ready to go get mom. We’re bringing her home to her family & piano today after a 2 week respite stay.

          Love to All, Karen

          • Karen says:

            whoops, typo, you guys know what I mean, “romantic” sorry! LOL!

            • char says:

              Hi Karen, how nice to have your mom back home and soon at her piano again. I am sending all the best to you and your family.. I have gone too long without seeing Maine, it is my dream to get back around Christmas, do some shopping in Freeport, and then the Harraseeket Inn for the nite, very romantic, with or without spell check:)
              Read you again soon, I hope
              ~Char

        • Ann says:

          Hi everyone,

          After reading all of your posts, I’m feeling kind of guilty that Kirk and I are not having to deal with Alzheimer’s amongst any of our parents. I know I shouldn’t feel guilt, but all of you seem to have your hands full with parents who have dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. My dad does experience some memory loss since his stroke, but he usually remembers when someone provides him with the correct words, names, etc.

          Though there is no history of Alzheimer’s in either of our families (so far), we have dealt with-and continue to deal w/cardiac disease, diabetes, skin cancer, neurological issues, etc. At some point, our parents’ health will obviously decline even more….so thank you all for sharing your accounts of caring for your own parents. I feel better prepared for my own parents’ futures after reading what’s going on in your lives.

          I was doing some research to find some good info. about diagnosing Alzheimer’s, because there’s so much I don’t know on the subject. The Mayo link below is great…on the left-sided column, there are some really good caregiver links :-)

          http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers/AZ00017

          Take good care,
          Ann

          • char says:

            Ann, please do not feel guilty about anything here!!! Thanks for the link.
            Today, while waiting for my husband to finish PT, I remembered your comment on the Estee Lauder Mani-Pedi product, I will be purchasing some this week, sounds delish!!
            Be well, and have no guilt!
            ~Char

        • Joyce says:

          Char, Glad to hear your husband is getting the care that he needs to heal from surgery. Maybe you aren’t his primary caregiver right now, but you are his cheerleader and you give the comfort and support that no one else can give. Soon enough you will be number#1 again. I understand you may be at a little loose ends right now, but consider the advice you give others.
          Breathe, putter around, meet a friend, read, just hang out, shop, relax and know your husband is in good hands. I mean these suggestions from my heart.
          I read the above and I can only imagine that it is difficult to care for elderly parents, I find myself a little envious since my parents passed away. I will be back east starting tomorrow visiting with my childhood friends. I always feel fortunate to visit their parents. It wouldn’t be a trip home without seeing them.
          Jean, It must be pretty special to read Almaletta Finks to your mom. Glad she is enjoying it.
          I will also be at a literacy conference sharing your books with others. The presenters are from Maine! Best to everyone, Joyce

      • Melisa says:

        You are a wonderful daughter and it shows. Your Mom must be an incredible Mom. A friend wrote this to me & Dan just today- “Enjoy every precious moment and then all of your moments become precious”. Jean, thank you for sharing. Your caring is what started this site. You are loved.

  7. Lisa says:

    Denise, I understand how you feel. Maybe, try thinking of it this way. What if your dad was the one who wasn’t able to make it to see you? Would you want him to live with regret and “if only’s”? Your dad knew what was in your heart. That’s what makes parents, (most) the coolest! Take it easy on yourself. I know, easier said than done.

    • Denise H. says:

      Thanks Lisa. I’m sure that he wouldn’t. He was the kind of person who could surprise you with his compassion. You would be sure that he would blow up but then he wouldn’t. The best example was when my sister (yes, THAT one) got into a traffic accident while she was drunk. My Mom EXPLODED! I figured that was mild compared to what Dad was going to do, but Dad went “Now, now; she made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes plus she’s hurt.” She busted her upper lip & it was stuck out a mile. He surprised the heck out of me!

  8. Richard Lambert says:

    Char,

    Regarding “Regret”; Your “physical being” may not have been in your Dad’s room before he passed @ Hospice. However, I can fully assure you that you were profoundly deep down in his heart and that’s the most important place you could of ever been. With this in mind, you WERE there in the room with him! Let go of whatever lingering regret still remains inside you…for you were with him and still are in a spiritual sense. Hence, love is truly eternal! Peace be with you! Richard

    • char says:

      Richard, thank you so much for your kind words, they hit home. You are right, just never looked at it that way. :)
      ~ Char

  9. Char/cm says:

    Love the invite, but I think several times I went to the party…. next time I will know better
    and decline with panache,and oomph!!!!
    As usual information provided here is much needed and given with such compassion and caring, and dare I say it gusto!!!! (I love using all those words in one thought)
    Char

    • Denise H. says:

      Ohhhh, I have one humdinger of a regret & there is nothing that I will ever be able to do to get past it.
      My Dad died in 2002 in early December, the week after Thanksgiving. I had to work on Thanksgiving Day. It was busy as hell plus I had the cramps & felt lousy. I stopped by my Mom’s house (my parents were divorced) on the way home. While I was there, my niece stopped by & said that she was going to go & see “Grandpa” when she left. I asked her if she would tell Dad that I wasn’t going to stop by because I was exhausted & didn’t feel good, but that I would see him next week.
      She told me that he was doing fine & he wasn’t upset that I didn’t come over, he understood. He died the following Monday & I never saw him or talked to him again.
      He had a closed casket because his body wasn’t found for close to a day & he was sitting beside the heater & it damaged his face. The neighbor had identified his body so I LITERALLY never saw him again.
      The positive thing is that I don’t have a picture of him dead, just as I last saw him. The “payback” is that I have to live with the fact that I should have gone over to see him on Thanksgiving Day! That is just something that I am always going to have to live with.

      • Jean F. says:

        Denise, your story made me cry for the burden of regret you’ve been carrying around. May I ask: if you had gone over on that Thanksgiving Day, what important thing would you have done that you didn’t do every other time you went to visit him? ~ Jean

        • Laurel says:

          Denise – I feel for you in this situation. But we can never know when a person’s last moment will come, and I have no doubt that you were a very good daughter and loved your dad. In addition to Jean’s message to you, I would encourage you to pull up a chair for yourself and another chair near you, get yourself a cup of tea or other soothing drink and just tell your dad about your feelings and let yourself believe he is listening. Let yourself cry if you need to, but please know you do not need to despair or beat yourself up. I am convinced our loved ones are near us, just not in a way we can readily see, and I am convinced they hear us when we call on them. I firmly believe you will be heard, and you can share whatever you need to. I would lay odds that you will feel relief afterward, and I believe you will know your dad understands.
          Sending you huge hugs, my thrift-store-going, doll-collecting friend!
          Laurel

          • Denise H. says:

            Thank you Laurel. I really try not to dwell on it too much but sometimes it just creeps up on me.
            I’ll have to tell you the stories, someday, about how I think that I HAVE gotten some “messages” from my Dad since he died. I always kind of figured that people who said that they received messages from the dead were nuts, but now I’m not so sure.
            By messages, I don’t mean that he talked to me. It’s more like something will happen & it will make you go, “Hmmmm, that is kind of strange.” Something odd will happen at a time that is really appropriate to you. It’s really neat & it gives you a sense of comfort.
            By the way, I did pretty good on the doll front on Monday. Found a 1968 Twist & Turn Barbie in GREAT condition for $2 and I found a ceramic doll by Lee Middleton for $4.99. I’m checking this one further but it’s really sweet. A mother sitting in a rocking chair, wearing her nightie, robe & slippers & holding her baby. It’s adorable!
            Take care & I will catch ya later,
            Denise

            • Laurel says:

              Denise — I do understand about “messages.” If you ever care to share your experiences, I would love to hear about them. A way to contact me: If you click on my name (in red) at the top of this reply, you will be directed to my blog. From there, you can just leave a comment on any one of my blog posts (don’t worry if it does not relate to the post in context). That way, I should be able to see information on how to contact you privately. I leave it up to you, but it is a way for you to connect with me without having to publish your e-mail address to the general public.

              I am so glad you told your story here; it gives others a chance to comfort you and you can gain the benefit of their experiences. I send you blessings.

              (The doll finds sound awesome. I use porcelain dolls in my art sometimes, and I have been a fan of Barbies since I was a kid. As children, we had Tammy dolls because they were less expensive and that was fine, but I always yearned for Barbies.)
              Laurel

        • Denise H. says:

          Yeah, I know what you are saying & in my mind I can understand it, but in my heart I still say “I should have gone.”
          It is just something that I know that I will always have to live with so I just try not to even think of it too much. Still, it will sneak back into the front of my brain now & then so I just try to say “Go away, go away.
          That whole time frame was such a freakin’ nightmare! My sister had been jailed that summer on drug related, theft charges & didn’t even go to the funeral (the jail gave her permission but she didn’t want to be seen in handcuffs, didn’t matter to her that her family might have needed her). My Mom had gone through 2 surgeries on a badly broken arm, that fall, that was received when she fell coming home from my sister’s arraignment. She also had to take over raising my sister’s son or he would have gone to Children’s Services (no father). She had to go find a bigger apartment to move into, for him. The day after the funeral she was diagnosed with shingles on her face & right beside an eye.
          Oh, & I forgot that my cousin, Dad’s favorite niece, died of breast cancer the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Her funeral was the day before Thanksgiving, across the state, & Dad went to that. Then he was dead just days later.
          He rode there with my oldest cousin, who has just been diagnosed with “prostate problems” & is “receiving treatment” for them. Yeah, read between the lines on that one & you are probably thinking what I am.
          So, my family probably puts a lot of soap operas to shame. The ONE good thing that I can think of that happened that year was that Ohio State won the National Championship in football!

          • Jean F. says:

            Denise, I’m stunned. What a @#&*$@% nightmare! There was so much going on! How could any of you think straight? Which leads me to present a few ideas for you to consider about that last Thanksgiving Day.

            If you had gone over, feeling as sick and exhausted as you did, your father might have ended up feeling guilty; like a burden, because his sweet daughter felt obligated to go and see him even though she was feeling so poorly. (Remember, regret and guilt go both ways.)

            If you had gone over, feeling as worn out and ill as you did, you might have said or done something, even the smallest little thing, that you would always regret having said or done the last time you ever saw him, even more than you now regret not going.

            If you had gone over, and in his weakened state, he caught whatever bug you were fighting, you might to this day be blaming yourself for his death.

            Perhaps it was a blessing that you listened to your body that day, and didn’t go to see him. You may have spared him, and yourself, an unnecessary bout of guilt and regret.

            He got your message from your niece. He was fine with it. He knew you were thinking of him and that you loved him. What more could you want him to take with him?

            Just some thoughts. ~ Jean

            • Denise H. says:

              Ahhh Jean, you are a sweetie! When you are going through crap like that (which you can probably kind of relate to, with Dan’s illness & minus the criminal relatives part), you just keep going & don’t stop to think. “Damn the torpedoes & full speed ahead”, huh?
              And you do have an excellent point about being tired & maybe saying something even more regretful. I did that this Christmas. I had a pinched nerve in my neck & it affected the entire length of my right arm. Horrific pain! I’m right handed so it made it even more of a problem. I couldn’t use my computer for longer than a few minutes, I slept sitting up in a recliner from early December until February. But I kept going to work everyday! It’s better now.
              Anyway, I got ticked off at my nieces for not visiting their grandmother at Christmas & blasted them. We’ve made up now & I realize that a lot of it had to do with how bad I was feeling (maybe even the guilt about not seeing my Dad that Thanksgiving Day colored the way that I was seeing it). The reason that they didn’t come was because their mother (my sister) was there. Boy, I could start a whole new chapter if I got into how my sister has treated her kids. Another story that would curl your hair! Tomorrow is her birthday (April Fool’s Day), it suits her! Suffice it to say, I think that some people should be required to have a license before they have kids!
              I do want to add that I am really not a whiner or a “poor, pitiful me” type of person. I keep most of this stuff to myself & show people the more light hearted face (I’m a Gemini…dual personalities). I think that you have a knack for drawing people out. If you ever get bored & need some more horror stories, I could fix you right up, ha-ha!
              Take care & enjoy the beautiful spring weather that I hope has headed your way.
              Denise

              • Jean F. says:

                Denise, have you read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, or Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs? They say “write what you know”, and I think you have the makings of a great book here. I know I’d buy it! And really, we’re here to support each other, so whine away. Maybe I should start a new section of recipes that are really hard, and I could complain about how difficult they are. I could call the section “Whine and Dine”! ~ Jean

                • Laurel says:

                  Jean — Your replies to Denise are tender and wise. Thank you for giving people your attention in this way; we all read your words and benefit.
                  Laurel

                • Denise H. says:

                  Ha-ha! Anything much beyond a microwave TV dinner would be cause for me to whine! I made my dog a pot pie the other day & she liked it…however, she now expects me to blow on each bite & hand feed her! If you sit it in front of her, in the little pan, she will turn her back on you & refuse to eat it…& give you mean looks like she is thinking “You KNOW that you’re supposed to hand me each bite, get it straight”!
                  In my horror story of a life I will tell you something that cracked me up. My step-parents pretty much fit into the categories of “wicked step-parents!” Both of them did not want my parents to have anything to do with us. I was still a teenager at the time. Both of them are now dead & I suppose that I should say “may they rest in peace”, but I really don’t care if they do or not & I don’t want to lie & say that I do.
                  Anyway, my ex-stepmother was not the brightest person on earth. You know when you are driving down the road & you see the sign that says that there is a weight limit on the bridge ahead? She (& all of her family) would lift their feet up off of the floor of the car to MAKE IT LIGHTER! And they were serious!
                  Oh heck, I just thought of something that happened right after my Dad died that I forgot to include in the horror story.
                  A couple of nights after he died, someone broke into his house & stole a bunch papers & stuff (probably looking for his checkbook & money). They then tried to burn his house down. Two of my cousins (the one with the prostate problem & his brother) went to the house & secured it & changed the locks before they called me & told me. They are good guys!
                  We found out later that the prime culprit was the grandson of my former stepmother (his ex-wife told us). He was never prosecuted. I’m actually kind of looking forward to when he meets Dad in the next life. It’s NOT going to be pretty!
                  Ya have to think that if I haven’t gone insane by now, I am probably pretty safe to hang in there!
                  I remember reading about the “Kennedy Curse”, where the ancestors supposedly did some bad stuff & the descendants are now paying for it. It makes me wonder what MY ancestors must have done! Ha-ha!
                  Enjoy the pretty weather…I HOPE that it’s pretty there!
                  Denise
                  PS…I’m going to have to look for those books, I think they’d be useful for Mom too.

                  • Jean F. says:

                    Denise, they’re both very funny (frightening) books about insane families/situations. They might help get you started on your own book……read about them at Amazon before you buy. ~ Jean

                  • char says:

                    Denise, I love the fact that you are here and writing about your “siutation”. You are one strong woman. I admire your tenacity and the talent you possess.
                    Char

      • char says:

        Denise,
        My dad passed at a Hospice in CT in 92. He was a private person, and was only at Hospice for two days before he passed.
        I DID NOT and could not go into his room. I knew in my heart of hearts, he would not want me to see him like that. Do I regret it, yes, hell yes, but guess what, the bottom line is what he would have wanted, what he understood. You did ok, stop beating yourself up, your Dad really knew and I truly believe still knows now the sitation you were in. Jean is right on with her question to you.
        Char

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