Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Emotional Day

I don't even know where to start. And quite honestly, I will be crying through most of my typing.

Today was the day I chose to start looking at nursing homes for my mom. I spent all morning yesterday calling and talking to administrators. Today was the day to go visit. I was going to do it alone since Jim had to work. At the last minute I realized I just couldn't. I called my mom's "baby" sister. Aunt Yvonne is over 20 years younger than mom and my mom was like a second mother to her. She said yep she'd be glad to go with me. She admitted later that as soon as she hung up the phone she sat down and bawled like a baby.
So, off we go.
The first home we visited was AMAZING. The administrator was a character right out of a story book. She had this long graying hair flying everywhere. Her office was chaotic (and that is being nice). The reason? The "family" has access. The patients love her. She was like, "oh they come in and take things and that is fine... I know it will always turn up somewhere". They were decorating for 4th of July and the patients were doing the decorating. I was just amazed. They were smiling and taking care of each other. People at my mother's stage of the disease were being walked by others who were not so bad off. My aunt and I broke down and cried several times because we felt such an emotional bond between these people. You would think we would have stopped there, but we couldn't. We had to check out all of the possibilities.
I need to note here that my mom and dad are very "structured" people. They don't like hubub and noise. This is where I want her, but I'm not sure it is where dad will want her. So we moved on to the next home.
This home was like an institution. Do you have the code? No? Ok, hang on and I'll get someone who does. It was clean but I honestly never saw a smile. A big X and let's move on.
The next home was a cross between the first and second. The administrator was very personable. As we toured, she knew each patient and called them by name. But I didn't feel the connection of everyone to each other that I felt at the first home. But I can't think of ME. How I would feel. I have to think of mom and how she would feel. So, maybe this is the right place. Definitely not a no.
On to the next one. This one wasn't expecting us. It is a very new facility and more snobbish. I honestly think it is the one dad has in mind, so I will take him back there. We weren't able to get a full tour (which bothered me). I will just take dad back with me next week and have taken a wait and see attitude about this one.
I felt pretty good all in all, though. My aunt and I cried together. Hugged and cried some more when I took her home. Putting a mom/dad/aunt/uncle/brother/sister - anyone you love into a nursing home is just not an easy thing to do. But I know it is time.
So, after an emotional day, I have mom and dad out for supper tonight. Mom is crying and crying. I can't figure out why. I finally get her to make enough sense that I realize she thinks she is pregnant! Oh my GOD! I'd cry too! I FINALLY convince her that this is not possible. Dad just rolls his eyes. LOL she kept saying, "but I didn't get that close to him!" Oh, what a dreadful disease Alzheimers is.
The day should be done, right? Nope.
Phone rings. Our yougest daught is on the other end. She is hysterical. Now, I have to back up 12 years.
Twelve years ago Julie got pregnant when she was 15 years old. The father of the baby was a friend. By a friend what I mean is that our families regularly get together (yea it is present tense, we are (that may soon change) still friends. She and Luke experimented when we had a New Year's Eve party. Adults were upstairs, kids were downstairs. We don't make that mistake anymore. Anyway, Julie got pregnant. Luke wanted nothing to do with her or the baby. Ok. Jim and I do. So, we took guardianship until Julie was able to get on her feet. We treated Travis as our own child for four years. I still feel like he is mine (and now I pause to cry again). Let's just say we are very close.
More history. Once Luke graduated from college without having to pay a dime of child support, Julie went after him for support. He refused to pay anything. His parents got him one weekend a month and if it was convenient for Luke he would drop by and say hi to the kid. He often said he "just wanted to be a favorite Uncle". Nice. To bad he didn't think of that before he fathered a child... but I digress. So that is how things went for years. Luke would see Travis once a month (maybe), didn't pay a dime, and never called to ask about him and never made an effort to see or call him on his birthday. Yep, daddy really cares.
After Luke graduated from College, Julie asked for child support. By this time she is already married with a step son and another child of her own. Luke says refuses. She goes to child support and they start garnishing his wages to the tune of $150 a month. Yea, that supports a kid. But that is what he is paying and Julie let's it go. He still is making no effort to see Travis more than once a month, and that only because his mom and dad are still getting him. This goes on this way until this year.
Fast forward. Travis is twelve. Luke is now in a relationship (no married) with a woman with two kids. They are both still married to someone else but have filed for a divorce. Ok, that is the way some do it these days. I'm not going to judge (well, at least I'm not going to admit to judge...) Now all of a sudden Luke is interested in Travis. Huh? Yea. He starts calling him. He starts asking for him. Hmmmm. The other two kids are yonger... is he wanting a babysitter? Who knows. Anyway, Julie gives in whenever possible. For one thing she doesn't want him taking her to court. I think it is not right but try to keep my mouth shut. Until tonight.
Back to the hysterical call from Julie. Luke has called. He calmly tells Julie that he's decided he wants joint custody of Travis. And, oh by the way, he wants him to change his last name to his (he currently has our last name). WTF?????? Julie said she yelled and screamed and Luke and then hung up. Then called me sobbing. "What do I do, mom? I can't afford an attorney".
Now I go to the Harry Potter series in my mind. Ladystyx's blog just asked what charachter we would be if we were a Harry Potter charachter. I chose Lilly. Styxy said, maybe Professor Dumbledore or Neville or Mrs. Weasley. Well tonight I became all of the above. I told Julie that Luke was going to get Travis over my dead body. She was to take the gloves off and fight like the mother lion she is. That son of a bitch will NOT get Travis without a fight. I don't care what it costs. I counseled her like Dumbledorf would have Harry. I told her to anticipate what Luke would counter with and write down what she would answer back. I told her to not back down. I told her to tell him he cannot have him this weekend (his normal weekend to have him). That his grandmother wants him and she comes first. That she needs a cooling off period to think through what rights she will allow him to have moving forward. I would mortgage my home if I have to to keep that SOB from getting Travis.
Here is the sad part. Luke's mom and dad are our best friends. They are the ones we travel with. Patti is my soul sister. We call ourselves the evil twins because we think so much alike. We had to agree early on that we cannot talk about Luke and Julie. The mother lion comes out in both of us and we have fought fiercely about it. I have no idea what this is going to do with our friendship. I can remain her friend as long as we continue to not make Luke and Julie's problems our problems. But it is becoming difficult to do that. Losing her as a friend would be a huge blow to me. But if that is what it comes to, then so be it.
I know this has been a marathon blog, but ever since I was a child if something bothered me, I would write. I literally have a cedar chest full of journals dating back from when I was six years old. So I am writing. I understand if you pull this mess up... say OMG and move on. I just had to get this off my chest. Please God, let tomorrow be better.
(by the way.. I have typed and not looked back. All spelling, grammar and repeat sentence errors are a result of hysteria lol... well at least a result of I don't care).


AliceKay said...

Wow, Punkn. You need a huge hug from all of us. I read and it overwhelmed me just imagining the day you had today.

I was with my mother at the hospital the day we had to have my grandmother moved to a nursing home. It was a long distance from us, but it was the best one around as far as it being "homey". I went with my mom as we followed the ambulance out over the mountains to get there, not really knowing what to expect. My grandmother's mind was perfect, but her health was failing her. Just know, that whatever decision you and your dad make, will be the right one. It's the only way you can look at it.

As for your daughter and Travis...she has to fight to keep him. If if comes between you and your "soul sister" it will be hard, but it's what you have to do. I hope it doesn't come to that. You have my thoughts and my prayers, my friend. *HUGS*

Intense Guy said...

Oh gosh. It both, literally and figuratively, poured when it rained.

*Gives Punkn the biggest hug he can muster*

I can only imagine what trying to deal with your mom is like - you grow up being taught to repect (as in respect, pay attention to, and behave as they ask) your elders and your parents in particular so you get conditioned to doing so. And then the bewilderment sets in when the irrationallly starts - your mind just can't accept it and your world(view) breaks down.

With the help of others, like your Aunt and Jim and your friends, you will somehow get your mom situationed where she can be cared for as fully as she can be. I have faith in you... far more that I have in myself for when (and if) the day my much feared turn comes.

As for Travis - what a horror. The only thing I know about such things is the courts in our country *ought* to see the facts (He has not been there for years and isn't welcomed and should be denied a good deal of what he is asking) however, our legal system is disfunctional at best - and saddly is as irrational as your mom is today. :(


ChicagoLady said...

*Sends a big hug to Punkn*

What a tough day you went through. I agree with you, fight with everything you have, every ounce of strength, your very soul if you have to. Luke has done nothing to deserve custody of Travis. Hopefully the courts will see it that way. Unfortunately, bastard fathers get things they don't deserve. Pardon my french, but it's how I feel.