Finally, here’s something a little bit amusing to report: My kids are already having the “What-will-we-do-with-Mom?” discussion.
It’s funny in a way, because I’m not even 55 yet and far from decrepit, and of course I still have a living, breathing husband (thank You, Lord!). But it’s also ironic, given the fact that I’d been thinking about it only this morning, and especially since they are in total agreement that I really shouldn’t live alone….you know, after.
It took a fair amount of intestinal fortitude for me even to admit to myself the reasons why I’ll need a little help. It’s not because I can’t manage the day-to-day aspects of living; it’s because there are times when I need someone to look after me. I wish that weren’t the case, but the whole family knows I’ve had dangerous mood swings in which I’ve experienced suicidal ideation, and that I’m at high risk for further episodes. I once made the mistake of texting my oldest daughter in the middle of contemplating an overdose of Ativan, and she’s been skittish about my safety ever since.
However……I’m too young and much too functional for a retirement home or an assisted living facility (which they swear they would never put me in even if I weren’t), but while I really wouldn’t want to live with any of the kids, I am apparently up for grabs: “Who’s gonna take Mom?”
My son-in-law half-jokingly suggested that I go to live with my youngest son, his partner, and his mother-in-law, who also happens to be bipolar. Imagine, if you will, the utter chaos that would reign with two manic-depressive females sharing the same digs……those poor boys (not to mention the household finances) wouldn’t stand a chance.
My younger daughter said “Hey, when I get back from Afghanistan (where she’s a civilian contractor) I’m gonna move to Washington (State) and you can come live with me.” Nice thought, but she’s young, pretty, and about to be single again…….I couldn’t do that to her, or to the next fellow who falls in love with her and wants to have babies.
Since moving in with the older daughter would be impossible—there are currently six people living in their ancient double-wide trailer—and taking up residence with the older son would be intolerable, there aren’t a whole lot of alternative living arrangements.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll go find a commune someplace (they still have those, don’t they?), join a convent (except I don’t think any of the orders are accepting new older nuns with mental health problems), or simply take in boarders (although the last time I did that, my sister didn’t pay rent OR utilities).
But you know, it touches my heart to know that my children don’t want me to live alone and are willing to tell me honestly why I shouldn’t. It’s a hard thing to acknowledge, as I am nothing if not an independent spirit who does NOT want to impose myself, my grief, or my illness on any of them. We’ve all seen what can happen when a lonely older relative comes to live with a young family, and I don’t want to put them through that.
Bottom line: since there are no attractive options, Will is just going to have to live another 20 years or so. I like that one the best anyhow.