Mom had her stroke, suffered severe memory damage and lived near me in memory care facilities for 3.5 years. During that time my wife or I, or both of us, saw her everyday and sometimes I found myself asking why I was doing this. As I am writing this I realize that I have not asked my wife this question (needs to be fixed asap).
I could not answer that question, or more accurate, the times I did answer that question the answers were often different.
I promised my father I would do it—that was a formal commitment. He passed away first, they were high school sweethearts, she was “his prize,” marrying her was an accomplishment he valued all of his life. this is what he valued and this marriage and making it a successful marriage was a Great Accomplishment in his life and her life. They shared this. It was my responsibility that she not suffer.
When she had her stroke my brother, a doctor, who had agreed to take care of her, refused to do it and so threatened her medical/physical wellbeing, (my sister was in Japan with her own problems) and I hired a lawyer and in two months-plus mom was moved near me and I had power to make medical decisions. (My sister was very active and supportive during this period even while living in another country.)
Mom had serious expressive aphasia and someone needed to see her every day.
When I started I did not know how long it was going to be or even what it would be—it was a commitment I was seeing through because of the kind of person I am, but I had not thought it through to all of the implications, all unexpected and all unknown. I do not know if reading the writings of other would have made a differenced or not.
It was the right thing to do, I “should ” do it? Who knows?
The one thing that I did do was that every time I saw her I tried to have a common human experience, a one on one person experience, even if only for a few seconds— an experience in which we both shared the same experience as human beings.
She passed on about ten months ago, and from here it still makes no difference why. Fortunately my wife was a great help and she gave up 3.5 years of her life t0 do it.
Thank you Mieko.