Sorry Mom, but no.
November 5, 2011 9:00 AM Subscribe
I will no longer travel with my elderly mother. Do I tell her so or just keep changing the subject? Details inside.
posted by eleslie to Human Relations (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My mother loves to travel. I love to travel. Since my divorce several years ago, I have taken my mom on a number of trips to visit relatives, to see places she loves, etc. This has become increasingly difficult as her health has deteriorated. She is wheelchair-bound, has some dementia (remembers events that never happened, short-term memory loss, isn't sure of the date/time/day of the week), requires more physical assistance from me, and has become more cranky and negative. Two months ago I took her to visit relatives. We traveled by car and stayed in motels. She had a great time. I, on the other hand, came home tired and flustered from having to help her in and out of cars, getting up with her in the middle of the night, and listening to all her negative comments about my ex, etc. Last month I took her to Yosemite (both of us knowing this would probably be the last time she will ever go there.) She had a great time. I had a terrible time. I became ill so I had my own stuff to deal with plus I had to deal with my mom's issues. Getting both of us home ended up being a very difficult stressful process and I ended up in the hospital once we got back home.
For these reasons, I have decided that I will no longer travel with my mother. It's just too much for me. Please help me decide whether to tell my mother this outright or to just avoid the conversation. She likes to talk about and plan our next trip and can spend months reading articles and talking to relatives about it so I am sure she will very soon start making inquiries about where we will go next. At that point I could tell her that I will no longer travel with her. This will make her very sad. And it will make me sad for her. My other option is to just change the subject. I could easily see myself saying, "Oh mom, I will be so busy with the holidays that I can't even think about traveling until the spring sometime." Then when spring comes I could say, "Gosh mom, things are so busy with work ..." You can see where I am going with this.
Asking other family members to help her travel is not an option. My siblings have already drawn that line and said they will not travel with her and think I have been very patient and kind for taking her on trips like I have been doing. Her health continues to deteriorate and her dementia to progress such that by spring she will likely be physically unable to travel, something that she may realize herself at that point. She also may be too neurologically impaired to even think about traveling or to get pleasure from the planning process.
Any advice, mefites?