My mom’s currently going through treatment for cancer.
Most of the time she’s ok, but I know that deep down she’s suffering. One of the ways she keeps herself going is by doing housework. She does the work in as thorough a manner as she did before she got sick.
I worry that she’s being too hard on herself physically. Also, I think she’s keeping her emotional struggles to herself to protect me and my father. She’s able to get some support from her best friend, who has also had cancer. But her best friend can’t always be there for her physically, whereas I live with my mom.
I want to help as much as I can. Also, how should I deal with the situation when I’m away at college in the fall?
What a beautiful letter. You’re obviously a very loving and insightful young woman and this is a gift to your mother. That said, I agree with you. Your mother is trying to take care of her family. As a mother myself, this is easy to understand. Your kids are your kids and you look after them regardless of how you feel.
But at this point, I do think it’s appropriate you switch places with her, and mother her for awhile. For one thing, you’re well equipped. Nursing comes easy to Virgos. You’re born to help the sick and I wonder if you just need permission to take the reins here.
For example, have you asserted yourself at all? I’m thinking you should just step in. If she’s scrubbing the floor, help her into a chair and scrub it yourself. I think she’ll let you if you play it right. For example, I caught the nuance in your post – her “thorough” manner. So take the time to explain to her that you’ve been watching her clean your whole life, and you know the way she wants things done.
While you’re at it, you can thank her for doing it right for all these years. Let her know this is something you want to do for her – that you INSIST you do it for her, and that to not allow you to care for her in this way would actually cause you pain.
Be sure and tell her that she can take over when she’s feeling better. But it’s your turn now, and regarding her emotions… wouldn’t it be nice if she could sit and talk to her daughter as she did the dishes?
I think you’re getting the picture here. It’s time for you to mother your mother, in as fine and as inspired a way as she did you. See where this takes you in the short term. I think you’ll find your way.
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