I left off the last Butterfly Journal entry saying: The biggest awareness challenge in my current situation, however, is in dealing with my mother. My mother has Alzheimer’s and I am one of her main caretakers. She is a very difficult person, to say the least, so figuring out how to handle her has been very challenging. She had other mental issues before the addition of Alzheimer’s, so “normal” positive interaction is sometimes futile. As this month goes on, I am going to evaluate as aware as possible how this situation affects my thoughts, feelings, and actions and how those affect her behavior and reactions.
As I mentioned in this entry on Truth, returning to my roots – childhood home and family – has been bringing a healing cycle full circle. Specifically, it has been about healing from my mother. Much of this I will go into detail in my upcoming book, The Journey of the Wounded Healer, but to sum it up here: I never had a mother-daughter relationship with my mother, and she was never a source of love, nurturing, or support. Beginning as a very young child, I often took on the role of housekeeper and mother. Though I did not return to the family home to take care of my mother, when I chose to return here, I knew very well what I was getting into. However, I also feel that I needed to return to complete my healing, though I was not fully aware of that at the time. I now see that it was important to come back, and instead of being the angry child for having to do most of the things my mother should’ve been doing, to fully accept and embrace all the mothering (housekeeping and care-taking) I would have to do with full awareness of the situation.
Over the past year, my mother’s Alzheimer’s has dramatically declined, and the Alzheimer’s accentuates her other mental issues. So on one end, you have a sociopathic personality who won’t or doesn’t want to cooperate, and at the other end you have the Alzheimer’s making her unable to process fully or remember what’s going on. She must be constantly watched so she doesn’t wander off to mail something that isn’t mail, or dump garbage down the laundry shoot, or burn away another kettle on the stove, etc. She becomes very frustrated that she can’t just do whatever she wants, and especially doesn’t like that I am the one there asking her to just relax and keep me company (over and over and over….). Most days she will have a few episodes where she erupts in violence – banging chairs, hitting things, throwing things, hitting me, and even hitting herself.
Getting back to the journal prompt: How does this make me think, feel, and act; and how does that affect my mother? Since we never had a relationship and she was never engaged in my life, I have no personal sense of loss or grief because of her situation. So in that sense, I’m probably the ideal person to be a caretaker. I understand that she has been suffering for a very long time, and though I know her brain won’t retain it, I do try to talk to her and tell her I understand that life and children were difficult for her (which she will randomly bring up on her own), so that her soul will know that when it completes this transition. There will be a brief moment of some acknowledgement from her, but then she goes right back to ignoring me. This is the futility of the situation. Both the mind/personality and the Alzheimer’s are greatly resistant to help. These brief moments of connecting to her soul are very rare, maybe a couple of minutes a week or less. As a healer, I am aware that I can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped or healed. And with all the layers of mental challenges, I can’t even assist for a peaceful passing.
Alzheimer’s is often seen by many spiritual teachers and healers as a very slow transition (death), and I had heard other psychics say that the soul is partially, increasingly, on the other side. From my own intuitive observation I would say that this is very true. In my prayers and meditations for her, I can even see her next incarnation. Besides sending love and light, and praying for some peace to enter into her mind (is this even possible with the brain deteriorating?), I feel the best way I can help her is to pray for her soul’s journey and growth in the next life.
And then there’s the daily violence. It’s so bad sometimes I have to forcibly hold her back until the temper tantrums stop, but then she may just erupt again. I believe that the only person you can control is yourself, but here I am in a situation where I have to control someone else. I have a couple times let her beat my arm until it’s red with broken blood vessels, but holding her wrists so she can’t tends to calm her sooner. There is no rationalizing or conversing with her to avoid these incidents. I try to give her things to do (which she can’t really do anymore), like read the paper, play cards, listen to music, etc. but she usually refuses any effort. Sometimes if I read out load or chant she relaxes, sometimes not. As you can see, this is a very challenging situation.
How do my thoughts, feelings, and actions affect my mother’s behaviors? Thinking thoughts of compassion and understanding, I hope, help her on the soul level. Trying not to be angry and staying calm but firm when she is difficult and violent seems to help, at least temporarily (though I do admit to yelling at her too which can be more effective, but I’d prefer not to get to that point). Any acts of helping and kindness are not really appreciated by her, but that’s not expected. All I can do is continue to be aware of myself in all that I think, say, feel, and do… and pray for peace.
To read all previous Butterfly Journal entries, Click Here.
To learn more about and read reviews for Butterfly Journal, Click Here.
For a glimpse into the world of Alzheimer’s, check out my article in Caregiver Magazine.