05 August, 2009

The Crone wants to stay home - guest blogger Rhi Bowman

Day, uhm, day, hell, I forget what day into my recuperation this is, but it's been a while it seems. I took an Ambien last night so I could sleep (first time ever taking a sleeping pill). I'll just say this, next time I take one, I'm alotting 12 hours for sleep and time to wake up. Today's Guest Blogger is the fantabulous Rhi Bowman. Rhi Bowman is a freelance writer in Charlotte, N.C., where she lives with her wonderful husband and spoiled rotten cats.

My mother-in-law has never been an angel. In fact, she’s spent most of her adult life being a non-contributing burden on society.

I’m not being mean, I’m being real. But, take my words as you will.

You see, my mother-in-law is mentally ill. She’s also from a generation that didn’t know as much about the mind as we do now.

In the 50s, when she’d hit manic mode, they’d shock her out of it. She spent most of the 60s and 70s in a doped-up haze. Today her health is managed with a handful of pills and frequent doctor visits. My husband describes her as “loopy.”

Besides being cracked in the head, she’s healthy. Or, at least, we thought she was.

Last Monday we got word that she passed out in her drive way, right behind her car. Fortunately, a neighbor saw her and called for an ambulance. After almost a week in the hospital, she was sent to a nursing home for patients with mental issues. She’s actually having a good time. All these years of junk food addiction have caught up to her. Turns out she’s diabetic.

We are 13 hours away and relieved. We’re relieved she’s got watchful neighbors and good insurance. But, we’re still worried about the immediate future.

Not a day goes by that we don’t discuss what we should do, could do, will do when she finally passes. We can’t move there, my husband’s job isn’t available in his home town. She can’t move here, her insurance won’t follow. Besides, she doesn’t want to.

And, it’s not her passing that we worry about; we know what to do when that day comes. We worry about every day in between now and then.

I keep asking, “What if she passed out behind the wheel of her car?”

My husband, an only child, is still mourning the death of his father this past winter. He is trying his best to both look out for his mother’s best interests and keep her happy.

So, here we sit, in a situation no one wants, feeling bad for all we can’t do and guilty for this truth: We wish she’d died first.

It’s awful to admit, but it’s true. Dan’s father was a hero to many. His life touched and improved the lives of everyone around him.

His wife, on the other hand, is a taker. She’s an endless drain. She’s not thankful. She’s not loving. She’s never done anything to make our world a better place. But, she is still alive and we’re charged with her care.

We’ll do our best. We’ll smile and push through.

The Crone says she wants to go home, she wants to die in her bed. So, we’ll have people at her house daily. They’ll help her bathe, they’ll run her errands, they’ll clean her house. But, we’re taking the car keys away. And, we know: No matter how much money or time we spend, no one will ever be able to fill that woman’s dark heart with love.

She’s a Crone from a different dimension.

Because we love her, we’ll honor her final wishes and continue to feel guilty for wishing her winter would hurry up and dawn.

Blessed Be.


  1. Rhi,

    As usual, I can so relate to your writing. It's very difficult when a "child" is put in the position of becoming the parent. This happened to me when I was 25 with my mother. I tried everything possible to make her happy, help her, pay her bills, handle her legal affairs, etc., but it was never enough.

    We had her put into a mental facility a few years ago when I was her power of attorney. She stayed for a day or two and then checked herself out. She said she didn't need to be in a place with a bunch of "crazy people." Then, she revoked the power of attorney.

    There are a TON of other factors involved, but I had to eventually walk away. I couldn't handle it anymore. I couldn't allow her to make me go insane by trying to help her.

    Be thankful for your distance. It makes it much easier to say no when you have to so that this doesn't take over your lives.

    I hope that everything works out the best way that it possibly can. It's definitely not an easy situation. I feel your pain.

    Much love,

  2. Melissa, I just noticed your comment. Thank you for responding, first of all.

    Second, I'm happy to say that things are going better than expected. And, I agree -- the distance is good.

    Much love right back at ya, Lady!

    Rhi B.


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