1. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Hi friends

    Some of you will already know me. Mum died in November 2008. She hadn't had AD for long, abour 18 months that were problematic, though we now realise that symptoms were arising as much as 5 (or more) years ago. But Dad was alive until late 2004 and though he said to me "your mum is losing it", I took no notice and dad sorted her out without complaint. The symptoms developed very rapidly in the Spring of 2007 and she went into a Care Home. I hated "putting" her there, but I now realise I had no choice, and it was the best thing for her once she got used to it (which took longer than I thought).

    Her main problem was having no conception of time. Day was night, and vice versa. She would go to bed at 10 p.m. and be up again a 1 a.m. wanting breakfast. She was starting to get verbally aggressive, though I prefer the description "upset" as she would never have hit anyone at that time. In fact, in most ways she was a model resident, the staff said so.

    Her behaviour was becoming more problematic with her hallucinating and accusing members of staff of attacking her or abducting her, though during the daytime these accusations seemed to be forgotten mostly. Funding her was a nightmare, she was self-funding and I spent £55,000 out of the proceeds of the sale of her little cottage to buy an insurance plan, which in the end we never used. Managing the funding until it kicked it was a nightmare, and in the current economic climate my plan would probably have failed.

    But one day in November 2008, mum got up and had a fall. Not serious, but the staff noticed her wheezing when they went to check her out. They called the doctor, and called me, and I went over. At lunch time the doctor had not arrived so mum happily went down for her lunch - always had a good appetite. First bite and she appeared to choke. A member of staff applied the Heimlich technique and I think that within minutes mum was dead. They applied heart massage and mouth to mouth, but nothing worked. It was a shock, but hey, when your time is up, please let it be quick. That was my response. At the time.

    I never had a particularly good relationship with mum, well, never really had one at all. Apologies if I am repeating this to people who have listened to me before, but my mum was the woman who cooked my dinner, kept the house clean, washed my clothes, gave me my bus fare to school. She was also the woman who never told me what periods were till I ran home from school one day with blood in my pants and she said "here, put this belt on and attach a pad", and never discussed feelings. Mum didn't do feelings. She just got on with her life, and I suppose there is a lot to be said for that. But in the 1960s people started to think about feelings. Mum didn't move with the times. She remained a 1940s post-war housewife all her life. And she was only 23 in 1940.

    So, I never had a meaningful discussion about anything with my mum. Never had a cuddle past the age of about 3. I got a kiss on the cheek at Christmas. I was a latchkey kid from the age of 5, some big girls took me to school and brought me back till I was about 7, then I did my own thing. I hated them and they hated the responsibility of me. I used to go next door to borrow a key to let myself home from the age of 5, and shivered in the house in winter cos I didn't dare light the fire.

    When I was in my late teens, all mum seemed to want to do was "marry me off" to anyone and everyone who was male and had a job. She didn't seem remotely bothered as to whether they were suitable for me, would be good for me, or interested in thinking about it.

    Once I was married, all mum seemed to do was nag me to start a family. My husband and I had difficulties, we had 3 years of consultations with an infertility specialist and I had an operation to determine possible problems. Mum wasn't interested. I'm not even sure that I told her about the problems. Probably not.

    Eventually we had two daughters, wonderful people, now grown up. I had two major operations when they were little, the first when the youngest was less than 1 year old, the second when they were aged about 10 and 7. We shipped in my mother and father in law to help out, as mum made no effort to offer any support. I can't understand why. She just didn't. And we didn't feel free to ask. My in-laws were a pain (well dad in law was, mum in law was a dream really), but at least they helped. We have no siblings who could have helped.

    We saw mum and dad every Sunday after they both retired. I loved their weekly vists, cos dad always had something interesting to discuss, some plan for the future, some argument to resolve. But when he died in 2004, mum's weekly visits were a chore. She only lived 4 miles away, so it was hardly onerous to get her, take her to Tesco, bring her to us for a cuppa for a couple of hours and take her home again. But, oh so boring. We struggled to maintain a conversation for the duration of the visit.

    Anyway, she went into the care home in August 2007, and visits were similarly boring. But she relished them. I was her daughter visiting, and she would tell everyone who I was. She was so proud that I visited and even more proud when my daugters visited her, though less often that me. I visited about twice a week. I know I could have gone more often, but it was so boring that I couldn't face any more time of sitting there with nothing to say. What do you say to a woman with no hobbies, no interests, no interest in you? And never has had?

    I just sat there with nothing to say.

    And then she died.

    My first thought was that she always said that when her time came she wanted to go quick and without suffering, and that certainly seemed to be the case. So I was "happy" with that.

    But 4 months on, and I miss her. My dad has been dead for nearly 5 years and I loved him to bits, he was my best friend, but I miss my mum more. Is it because she was dependent on me do you think? I was her sole source of joy in her last 18 months, the sight of me lit up her face (this woman who had not really bothered with me as a teenager or adult). I find it all quite odd.

    It is bothering me. I am not heartbroken or similar, it is just bothering me. Why am I still so "attached to her"? Was she actually a better mother than I think she was? And I hadn't realised it? I don't know. I am so confused.

    Well that was going to be the end of this post, but part way through my husband decided to play an old video which included my mum and dad at a family celebration. There was my lovely dad, of course, but also my little boring mum - and on the video she wasn't boring at all, but a bright spark with my two daughters.

    Anyway, that's my story so far.

    I feel so flat.

  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Margaret - in that I had a great relationship with my mother, I'm probably not the best person to comment - I will do though :)

    It doesn't sound to me like she was a great mother. Some people probably shouldn't have children - maybe she was one of those. However, sometimes we have people posting here who's loved one has undergone a dramatic personality change entirely due to the dementia. Most often, sadly, they go from nice to nasty (or maybe those are just the ones we hear about). It's reasonable though, that at least a few people will go the other way. Don't forget - dementia involves damage to the brain., It's not just about forgetting; there's other stuff in there as well. Having said that, maybe forgetting might have something to do with it. If she resented you (perhaps she didn't feel ready for a child, perhaps she resented you father's relationship with you, perhaps....) maybe she simply forgot that.

    I think what's going on now is grieving but a rather complicated grief - you're not just grieving the loss of your mother but also all those lost years and the "might have beens". If her personality hadn't changed, well you'd still have the "what might have been aspect" but without the bitter-sweet aspect of have experienced a taster of what it was to be valued for yourself.

    It is very early days you know. You've had your own health issues as well, which may mean you haven't been able to process this whole thing as you might have done. Still, have you considered counselling? It might help you get to the bottom of why you feel as you do and allow you to move on.

  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Rachel Billington - Great Umbilical

    Margaret, first of all I am glad to see you have found the 'Dealing with Loss' section. Second, that you are opening up somewhere .......

    I found this book a few years ago - and still dip in now for some understanding of the complex mother-daughter relationship (or non-relationship) http://www.rachelbillington.com/books/the-great-umbilical/ - 'Mother, Daughter, Mother - the Unbreakable bond' (ISBN 0 09 174 769 4 if you want to try the library) ...

    It's a good but tough read if you're vulnerable ....... counselling support sounds like a good idea ......

    Love, Karen, x
  4. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Dear Margaret

    In order to be able to verbalise what you have about your relationship with your mother, you must have given it some considerable thought over the years. You may think that "of course I have" but it is not always the case. However, although that is a brilliant platform on which to stand, there are all the feelings associated with this that it seems you are now more able to deal with as well as the bereavement. Deep bereavement can be experienced by people with extremely poor or deprived parental relationships because death means the loss of 'hope that it could ever be any different'. Even if the person doesn't even know that they have this 'hope' it is often there somewhere dormant. In your case you have experienced the awakening of this and a part of you was able to experience your mother differently and this would bring up some very mixed feelings.

    My suggestion to you is to find a counsellor that can help you to deal with these feelings. You need to be able to be a much better mother to yourself than your own mother was and putting up and shutting up and getting on with it is not always what is needed.

    I wish you the very best.

  5. Chrissyan

    Chrissyan Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    N E England
    Margaret,I think that it is much easier to come to terms with the loss of someone you Had a good relationship with than it is with the loss of someone you didn't, it leaves too many regrets.
  6. Vonny

    Vonny Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
    Dear Margaret, my son was 11 when his verbally abusive step-dad died. I'd given my husband an ultimatum about going into rehab when I realised my son was being affected, but he died a week later from a brain haemorrage.

    When my son started cutting himself I discovered he felt sad and guilty that he hadn't liked his step-dad more. I told him quite honestly that he had no reason to like him more after what we'd been through but he set himself on a self-destructive course which only ended 18 months ago when he was sectioned and spent 4 months in a mental hospital. He's been home for 14 months now and is back on track.

    Just goes to show how complex relationships can be, and how odd a guise grief takes some times. I don't think there is a "normal" way to grieve - it's such a personal and individual thing.

    Counselling has helped us both and I agree with Karen that this may be a good idea.

    Whatever you do, I am thinking of you and wishing you all the very best. Your story is very moving and I hope it all works out for you soon.

    Vonny xxx
  7. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Hello all

    Thanks for all your support and advice.

    My mum definitely wanted me as her child, I have no doubt about that. My dad would have loved a son, but according to him I was such an interesting daughter he decided against the idea of a son, and felt I would be a good substitute. And indeed he treated me as he might have done a son, and I have no issue with that. He built me a sledge and a swing the envy of the neighbourhood, he raced pigeons and I sat with him in the loft waiting for them to come home. My dad was fantastic. I was definitely his beloved child.

    Mum was just the woman back at home. She wanted me, I am sure, but she just didn't want to be bothered doing anything with me. I do remember her reading to me when I was about four, mum was good with reading, but once my first 5 years were up, she seemed to assume I was self-sufficient. It is odd, isn't it? I recall only one birthday party when I was about 7, three other little girls for tea, and that was it. I recall a fancy dress show at primary school and my mum couldn't be bothered to do anything about it, so I didn't go. Actually, it was probably not because she coudn't be bothered, it was probably because she had no idea what to do. Her life was about cooking and cleaning, not ideas about fancy dresses, she couldn't knit or sew, her imagination was zilch, I still haven't worked out why my imaginative and reourceful dad married her, but he did, and thought the world of her. I am trying my best to do the same!

    How I envy those of you whose mum's were so loving. Demonstrative perhaps, maybe you even got a cuddle. Nothing like that from my mum.

    I had several boyfriends. One was Dennis, I was madly in love with him, we had even talked about marriage. But he found another girlfriend when I was 19 and we split up. I went home to cry and mum just said "Oh get over it, it isn't the end of the world". No sympathy or empathy or even a kind word.

    I feel she was quite useless as a mother to me. So why am I so upset by her death?

  8. TinaT

    TinaT Registered User

    Sep 27, 2006
    As I've posted tonight - I too have a very complex relationship with my mother. She also has never, ever kissed or hugged me and never said if she is proud of me or ever thanked me for the things I do and have always done for her. I suspect she is as she boasts to her friends about my activities - but that isn't the same as her actually telling me she loves me or is proud of me. She adoresmy brother who is much younger than myself and who has never stopped being the baby of the family in my mother's eyes. He does very little for her and that is putting it mildly!!

    She drives me to distraction but I would grieve for her and miss her so much if I lost her. Your mother is your mother, no matter what relationship you had in the past. That bond is extremely strong and powerful and will never leave you. I'm glad that during the last months of her life she showed that she did love you and was proud of you and the wonderful family you have brought up.

  9. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    Dear Margaret,

    It is "regrettable" for you that your mum wasn't the mum you would of loved her to be. You can never be sure of someone else's circumstances and maybe your mum loved and cared for you the only way she knew how, possibly the same way she was brought up herself.

    Margaret, she was your mum and you cared about her that showed through your posts. You were there for her in her time of need and supported her. Regardless of your own feelings of rejection by your mum you never rejected her and that shows a quality in yourself.

    It's good for you to talk about your feelings it will help you deal with them better. Maybe grief counselling will help you.

    Caring Thoughts,
  10. Mameeskye

    Mameeskye Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    HI Margaret

    My Mum was never demnstrative either. We were not a touchy feely family. She rarely appeared to have time as I was grwoing up, but part of me thinks that that was just the way her generation were. They had so much housework to do in comparison to us now and so little time, even if they did not work.

    Mum loved her arts and crafts though, but rarely did things with me as she lacked patience. I find as I grow older that there are traits in her that are now in me, that I didn't understand when I was a child.

    I also think though that there is a gap between "like" and "love". You can lover someone very very deeply even though you don't particularly like them, or their ideas etc.

    Curiously my relationship with my Mum inproved as I reached the end of my teens. Looking back I just think that Mum liked tiny kids, kids in need and adults...not independent self reliant ones!

    But I loved her ...even when we didn't like each other. I still love her...now that she is gone. She was my Mum.

  11. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Tina, mum was the same. Never said a word to me, even critised my for being a "career woman" cos I decided to qualify as an accountant before having children, but when she was in the home she was always telling people with pride that I was an accountant.

    In retrospect, I just didn't do what the rest of her family did. I didn't go to work in a shop (my cousin, whom my mum brought up for the first 5 years of her life cos her mum died) was a sewing machinist. If I had been a sewing machinist, mum would have been fine with that. But I was a trainee accountant after I married. Sadly, I wasn't a hairdresser either. No offence to hairdressers - we need you desperately.

    I am not sure why mum was so hung up about me having children, cos she rarely helped me with them, despite living only ten minute away and being retired. She never had either of them to stay with her. Never baby-sat (oh, occasionally from 8-9 p.m. coulnd't possibly have their evening meal earlier or miss the pub. When our second child was born (2 weeks overdue), we shipped in my husband's parents for that period in case I went into labour at a difficult time - which I did, midnight - so I knew there was someone on hand to look after the elder daughter.

    No way mum would have managed that!

    Ah its a funny old world.


  12. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire

    Yes I can agree with all that you say, too. It must just have been the way of the world then. I never felt anything for mum, and she never displayed any feeling for me, until she was reliant on me in her latter years.

    I don't know, but I bet my dad had tutored her on how to behave.


  13. ellie 123

    ellie 123 Registered User

    May 25, 2006
    Cold hearted mum

    I have the same experience but i discovered at the time of her diagnosis that she had a long standing mental illness and also there was a history of abuse from her dad. It certainly explained her cold, abusive behaviour toward me and lots of the blanks suddenly made sense. But then others opened up like how much did dad know and why did he never step in and protect me. In the end I had to give it up, it was too late for answers and I was just going round and round in circles.

    I have been shocked at how I am now feeling because three years ago I hated her and would gladly have danced on her grave. Instead I find myself distraught and the pain is unbearable. Perhaps it's because of all the suffering she has had to endure since diagnosis, I really don't know. But today I found that some of the sadness was due to my thinking how different things could have been if we'd been able to have a normal mother/daughter relationship. And also, although I'm 55 until the day she died I always hoped for a miracle in her attitude to me.

    Now part of my grief is due to letting go of that hope. I have a feeling I am going to have a hard time of it over the next months but I am aware of this and tried to act straight away, such as getting out with the dogs every day. Normally I would just have taken to my bed and shut down. Not to say this may not happen any way, it's just one day at a time.
    lots of love
  14. Sooe

    Sooe Registered User

    Nov 10, 2008
    Hi Margaret
    Your post has left me speechless, your Mum sounds very similiar to my own, who left us 10yrs ago now (Yes and I still miss her every single day - even more so yesterday on Mothers day) I have always had the same feelings you are experiencing, tho to be fair Mum was not too bad, just not as close as I needed (and still need) her attitudes have left me unconfident, and not a very happy person on the whole - feels like so much is missing in everything. Keep strong and don't feel guilt or keep wishing things had been different, all relationships are complex but Mothers and Daughters I feel are the hardest. It leaves me with my own daughter probably feeling smotherd with the love I insist on showing probably hates the cuddles and love I throw at her constantly - never want her to experience the emptiness I felt. My relationship with MIL was/is totally different, which is why I miss the caring we shared before she was admitted to the Nursing home in Dec, more emptiness!! Oh My Gawd, knew I shouldn't have logged on today. Just wanted to wish you luck and here I go all mawdling again. Sorry.
    Big Hug
    Sooe xxxx
  15. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    Love to you all. I am absolutely surprised at how many of you didn't have lovely relationships with your mums. Isn't it odd? But helps to make me feel less odd.

    Yeah, your mum is your mum. You only have the one.


  16. Sam Iam

    Sam Iam Registered User

    Sep 29, 2008
    Hi Margaret, just stopped by to leave you a HUG XX
    And say the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence doesnt it? Before AD my Mum could be a bit distant and yes sometimes a bit cold toward me and my brother (eldest son is the cats pajamas) but Iam left wondering if she suffered from depression (long term ) as she has been on anti d's for 2+ years and is a wee lady most of the time.

    Margaret take care xxx
  17. Val3

    Val3 Registered User

    Aug 10, 2008
    Hi Margaret,

    I wasn't going to write tonight but feel compelled to do so after reading your thread.

    I can't believe so many people have had the same experience. I too had a difficult relationship with my Mother for most of my life.

    I can't remember a time when she cuddled me or told me she loved me, I know she must have done because I have seen photo's as a child with her, she is holding me and there appears to be affection.

    I have undergone councelling a few times for my relationship with her, it helped me come to terms with the way things were. I knew a long time ago that I couldn't change the past. I believe she was probably mentally ill for a while, she had been on strong antidepressants for many years. I think maybe she was starting with AD before she died of a heart attack as she went through phases of forgetting people.

    My Mum used to tell me when I was younger that she had the option to have an abortion when she became pregnant with me, she was 37 and I think I was an accident. My Dad always said 'but we wouldn't have', God love him! I just accepted her saying this because I had grown up with it, it was only years later I realised it was wrong for her to say that.

    The final thing was when she didn't come to my wedding, not because we had an argument, as many people thought at the time but because she had cut her leg (she had been on cortisone for many years which made her skin thin). She was terribly jealous and I think she was jealous of me as we both got older and I was more confident than she had been. She even tried to stop my Dad from going to my wedding too but thankfully he insisted on coming. I stopped having too many feelings about her after that.

    When she died in 2001 I had forgiven her, I didn't really grieve that much but made sure I got to know my Dad better. I wanted to try to show him love I couldn't express or receive from Mum. She had taken over so much of our lives before she died that I hadn't been able to develop a proper relationship with Dad.

    I made sure that whenever I spoke to him I would always tell him I loved him, it was hard at first because of the learnt behaviour I got from Mum. And he always told me he loved me and was proud of me.

    I am so glad I was able to do that because in the short time we had getting to know one another better until he died in January this year, I got more love from Dad than I can remember getting from Mum.

    I think that is why I am finding grieving for him so hard now, maybe I am finally grieving for my Mum too.

    Sorry to go on but just to let you know you're not on your own.

    Val x
  18. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    I have just read through everyone's posts again tonight, was feeling a bit down as I have just organised the amendment to the gravestone to add mum on to it. You are some nice people, I have read all your kind replies, your sensible suggestions, your suppport. Thanks to you all. Mum is at rest now, with her mother and sisters, Yeah she probably did her best as a mum - and better than lots of others. I shouldn't grumble. She is finally at rest where I think she should be.

    Hope you are all okay.

  19. Helen33

    Helen33 Registered User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Hi Margaret

    You have done wonderfully sorting out your mother's final resting place. I am sure she would be at peace with it and I hope you are at peace with making sure you've done your best for her.

    I will look forward to seeing you around on Wednesday when we are up and running again in a new TP home:)


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