Rollercoasters

Rollercoasters any I have never been friends. Mostly because I have never liked them, and I think the feeling is mutual. I have always felt stuck when I’m on a ride, and it trumps any feeling of fun.

The twists, turns, ups and downs.  I remember feeling and saying, “make this stop!”  “Get me off!”  Yeah, I’m a hoot.

The rollercoasters of life, however, you can’t stop.  You just have to ride them through and hope you come out on the other side.  This is the story of my “ride”.

In some ways, I had become normalized to the reality of my mom’s inoperable brain tumor.  It was her second year post surgery, post heartache for my entire family.  She was different now.  It was a new normal.  We knew her life would be ending soon, and we were all in a hold pattern.

My boys were 6 and 3, high energy, and as all children are, a whole lot of work, time, worry and attention.  I stayed at home with them and would pace myself between them, home duties and spending much needed and slowly dwindling time with my mom. My Aunt was her main care provider, and I wanted to make sure to give her as much love and support that I could offer.

Enter my husbands parents.  They decided to move from California to be closer to us.  It was something that needed to happen, as my in-laws were slowing down and had serious health issues.  My mother in law was wheelchair bound from a grueling 20 plus years of Multiple Sclerosis.  Among other things, she was paralyzed from the waist down.  Her husband was her main care provider. Although in many ways, he was more unhealthy than she was.  His heart trouble and diabetes was a constant challenge as he cared for his wife every single day.

Having 4 elderly loved ones~three with life threatening conditions~ had its worries.  It seemed as though every week they would take a turn.  MRI appointments, falls, shingles, a stroke here, a lung surgery there, here a cataract, there a cataract, everywhere a ca-tha-ter.

Our appetizer plate was full of costco sized portions.  It wasn’t any surprise that something had to give.

My father in law underwent lung cancer surgery, and although he survived it, his heart couldn’t take the strain anymore.  He went into cardiac arrest, and onto a ventilator.  My husband and his family decided to withdraw care, as his father would have wanted.

Three months after his father died, we took in his mother.  She came with alot of equipment.  Shower chair, wheelchair, handicapped van.  She came with alot of work and time as well.  Since she couldn’t drive, my husband would spend his days off shuttling her to lawyers, doctors, the store and bank.   There was a helper that came twice a day to get her in and out of bed and care for her.  Needless to say, my house had become quite different than it was before.  Strangers in and out, privacy, time and space became sparse.

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Did I mention I don’t like rollercoasters?  Not even a little bit.

So now, my mother with pending death, my handicapped mother in law in our home and care, our two small children.  Right in front of us, a perfect storm.

Recipe for disaster:

Mom with inoperable brain cancer (saweeet!)

Add your handicapped mother in law into the mix (mmmm, yummy!)

Sprinkle a little grief from father in law passing for some extra flavor (A little dab will do ya!)

And don’t forget to put in a secret pornography addiction of your husbands in there!

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Really, Martha?  It’s so NOT a good thing.

This was one hot mess.  I felt as though I couldn’t do enough for everyone, and sometimes I would just put my hands up.  As the days and weeks passed, I started feeling resentment about my situation.

How could they lay this all on us???

Why didn’t anybody else step in??

Why didn’t his parents plan better?

WHY US???!

I knew we were in a tight spot.  It’s hard enough to raise children without taking care of your ill parents.  I always knew, however, that this would pass.  As soon as we could get his mother moved to be near her other other son in Montana, me and G (my husband) would get past this.  Having her there caused alot of stress, but we were strong.  Our love was strong.

So, when I found out he was being unfaithful during this time, well.  My heart sank that day.  The one thing I thought was immovable-moved.

I found myself saying and feeling those words yet again.  “Make this stop.  Get me off”.