Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017. It's Time to Simplify.

A new year has arrived and I'm very thankful. 2016 was rough to say the least. There were times I didn't think I would survive it.

Mom's Alzheimer's got considerably worse. Lee was home with her all the time and it was really wearing him down. She was just mean to him. He had no one to vent to besides me, but I hated hearing about it every day. It started taking a toll on our relationship. We were at each other's throats.

Enter financial difficulties. That alone can strain a marriage. He couldn't work because Mom couldn't be left alone for long. I couldn't keep up with our bills plus Mom's. Something had to change.

My anxiety and depression got out of control. I didn't want to talk to anyone or do anything. When I got home from work I just wanted to hide in my room. I prayed for relief. I prayed for help. I begged God to make things better. When the struggles continued, I felt abandoned. I remember laying in bed in the spare bedroom, crying, wishing I would just die, just not wake up in the morning. I couldn't keep going on.

Enter an angel. My Aunt Nancy. Now Aunt Nancy has always had a special place in my life, from as far back as I can remember. When Dad got sick, she was always there.  She was always there for me with Mom's illness, too. I knew I could count on her if I needed anything.

When her daughter, my cousin Rhonda, passed away over the summer, I felt like I had been betrayed by God once again. She and I had developed a special relationship and I was crushed. She was my champion and now she was gone. Not only that, but Aunt Nancy had lost her daughter and I couldn't imagine her pain. It wasn't fair for God to do that to someone I loved so much.

You know what? It didn't stop Aunt Nancy from being there for me.

I knew I couldn't keep Mom with me any more. It was going to destroy my marriage and I would lose my sanity. The passive suicidal ideations scared me. I was afraid I was a blink away from becoming suicidal or having a complete breakdown and ending up in the hospital. I tried to come up with a plan for Mom. Assisted living, senior apartment complex, even living with my cousin in Oklahoma (God bless her, she was willing to let her) were all options, none of them good. That's when Aunt Nancy offered to let Mom live with her.

I was torn. I was afraid of what the rest of the family would think. Would they feel like I was shirking my duty as a daughter? Would they resent me for putting this on my aunt's shoulders? It was more stress.

By this point, I was back in therapy, trying to save myself. I put our house on the market and time was short. I took Aunt Nancy up on her offer. It was a rough move for Mom, but it was the right thing to do. Lee and I were then able to pack ourselves up. It was a rush job because our house sold the second day on the market. I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, although I wasn't completely convinced that it wasn't a freight train.

After a stressful move, we are now settled into our apartment. Frankly, I don't know if I ever want to own a home again. I'm so glad we downsized. Things feel so much more managable.

I know things won't be perfectly smooth, but they are certainly looking up. I'm planning to keep things going in this direction by reminding myself of my word for 2017: Simplify.

We've simplified our living situation. It's time to simplify our stuff, too. We ended up with 2 storage units to hold all of our stuff and that's just more than we need. I'm looking forward to paring all of that down as well.

Simplifying our life will hopefully leave me with time to properly thank all of the people who were behind me. It will give me the ability to answer the door when opportunity knocks. And it will help me focus on my mental health.


  1. There has been many times in the past year that I wish I could hug you, none more so than now.

  2. 2016 was just a horrible year. I'm very glad that things are lighting up for you.

  3. I hear hope and goals in your words and both of those are good things ... this year has just got to be better than the last one.

  4. I'm so glad it all worked out for you, and that's a neck of a lot of change in one year. Never feel selfish for doing what's best for yourself as a caretaker. Caretaking is a compromise among all needs just like any other living situation. I did not move my mother (nor my brother) in with me, and I did not move in with her as everyone expected me to do in 2002. Both of them were far better off in personal care, more people and more events to keep them aware. I hope your Aunt Nancy finds caring for your mother helps ease her grief. Hope 2017 continues to improve for you!

  5. I just love reading what these wise women have written. You have such an army of incredible friends, and that is such a blessing. You and Lee have overcome incredible obstacles this year. Your care for your dad, and then your mom, is humbling. Now, 2017, it's time for you.

  6. You are an incredibly strong woman- stronger than you probably realize. I admire you for making such tough decisions. I'm an only child, and have faced a few issues this past year with my mom. Difficult decisions, instances that make me question her cognitive abilities, and her total shut down about dealing with her breast cancer have all left me wondering what to do. If I can handle my problems with half the focus and determination that you've shown with yours, I'll consider it a success. I admire you for your openness in dealing with your life, your capacity to find humor in almost any situation, and your compassion for your family of fur children and your SO. You may not realize it, but you inspire me to try harder to see the glass as half full and to try to be less hard on my insecurities and idiosyncrasies. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. ((hugs)) I can't begin to imagine having to deal with all of that. My heart goes out to all of you and I wish you wonderful and peaceful things for 2017.

  8. So happy things are working out for you. Simplifying is a good thing. My sister and I are now full time caregivers for our parents. It's exhausting and many days here end in tears. You post gives me hope. Thank you for sharing.