Q: Growing up, I always felt like my mother didn't love me. She was critical and unsupportive, and I believe that she regretted having me at all. I am an only child and was unplanned.
My father did his best to show his love for me, and my relationship with him showed me how lacking my bond with my mother is and was. She has never once told me she loves me.
He died three years ago, and she just learned that she has terminal cancer. She's asking me to take her in. I want to make the moral choice and support her during her last days. I am in a position to do so but torn because of how she's treated me in my life. She doesn't acknowledge that there's any problem between us.
Am I a bad person to be unsure of what to do? How can I choose?
A: Not at all. Resentment and hurt are natural responses to parental emotional neglect. You'd be surprised at how many people suffer from these deep-rooted family dysfunctions that continue to hurt over the decades.
Even with the best intentions, some parents aren't up to the task. Rather than work on their damaged relationships, it's easier for them to bury the feelings and continue. Dealing with these bad memories brings feelings of guilt and failure, and many people find it easier to act dumb.
Your mother is relying on traditional roles of parents and children, but you feel she's failed to uphold her end of the deal. Because of her not acting like your mother, you struggle with the role of caretaker and daughter.
Ultimately, you are here because of your mother. But blood relations aren't the only things that matter in life.
Caring for someone isn't a decision to take lightly. Even those who want to do it usually find it an overwhelming task. Consider your options and all the variables.
What kind of care does she need? Are you capable of meeting your mother's health needs at home? Is there someone else who would serve as a better advocate for her?
Now might be your last chance to work on your relationship with your mother or find some closure. In the long run, holding on to grievances and anger will hurt you more than anyone.
The most important question to ask yourself is this: "How will I feel about myself for my choice after my mother is gone?"
Only you can determine the right choice for you. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Q: I'm 91, and my driver's license is expiring shortly.
I barely passed my last renewal test and don't think it's going to go well this time. I realize that I'm old, but I don't want to be stuck at home, unable to drive.
Is there any way to get around it?
A: No. Seniors have to take these tests for a reason.
If you're not up to driving, it's not safe for you — or for other people! Even if you could pass the test, it sounds like you know that you shouldn't be driving.
If you can't see around you or react in time, you are at a substantial risk to hurt other people. Driving slowly isn't enough; you can still cause property damage or hit pedestrians.
It may be inconvenient, but there are options for seniors in your same position. It's time to research other ways to get around town. — Doug
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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