Somehow, I always thought that family blood bonds could not be broken, no matter what. Every family has its dysfunctions; I figured ours were no worse than most.
My mother is with my brother, and I have left. Chances are that I will never go back there. I didn’t want to leave my mother, who has late-stage dementia:
Common signs displayed by people with late-stage dementia who experience physical or emotional discomfort include: increased agitation, fidgeting, or repetitive movements; tense muscles, body bracing; increased calling out or repetitive verbalizations; decreased cognition, decreased functional ability or withdrawal; changes in sleep pattern; falling; increase in pulse, blood pressure, and sweating. A good deal of emotional discomfort in dementia patients comes from difficulty sorting out and negotiating everyday life activities.
But as my brother’s rage against me escalated, I realized that harassing me was more important to him than taking care of my mother, even if the resulting vocalized tension increased her agitation and anxiety.
So I left. I broke my heart and I probably broke hers. But my presence in my brother’s house seemed to be a constant source of irritation to him — irritation that slowly built into outright rage.
Because I fought back, finally refusing the burden of the last bullying straw.
And so I left. I left my mother in pain and bewilderment. I left my brother in a rage at me for something that had nothing to do with my care of our mother.
Tomorrow, a live-in home health aide is supposed to arrive. I hope that she is kind to my mother. I hope that my brother is kind to her.
I might never know.