Hello, I Must Be Going

Note from the Eldercare Underground:  Marriage Edition

My mother has never liked my husbands. Either one of them—past or present.

That is, until I get divorced and then that husband becomes the greatest guy that ever lived.  When I try to remind her just what a putz Husband #1 was during our 10 year marriage, she blithely replies with “People can change.”

This from the woman who never met an opinion that she wouldn’t cling to beyond all attempts at reason on my part.

In other words, don’t confuse her with the facts.

Husband #2 and I have been married for 35 years.  He’s done his darnedest to do everything he could for my mother since she moved here 12 years ago.

Sometimes she has been appreciative, but most often he just makes her nervous.

Today when I went to see her at the Hotel, she asked if I was still living with him.

I had to laugh at that one, because it came from so far out in left field.

When I asked her why in the world she would ask that, she said since I don’t bring him with me she was wondering if we were still together.

Wishful thinking, maybe?

If she really wasn’t all that crazy about him, why would she want to see him?

She said:

“Well, I may not be wildly crazy about him, but he could visit me once in a while.” 

Go figure.

Hello, I must be going.

I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going.

I’m glad I came but just the same I must be going.

For my sake you must stay, for if you go away, you’ll spoil this party I am throwing.

I’ll stay a week or two, I’ll stay the summer through, but I am telling you, I must be going.

21 thoughts on “Hello, I Must Be Going

  1. Once my Grandma hit a pretty nice plateau of dementia she would ask each of us visitors if we’d seen Herald (her husband of 60 + years and by then, several years dead) on our way in. What’s to prove or argue about? Her reality, her life. We agreed early on to add that we saw him on the way in and he was heading out on an errand to a localplace she would remember and then we could talk about those long ago places. Cost us nothing, slight lie but what the hell, she wanted to know that he was hovering around.

    Another tidbit, years before she was full blown alzhiemers, she told me that “Harold wants me there with him for a forth for bridge”. “OK, what did you say”. “well I said get your own forth, I’m not dead yet” Who knows what goes on in that plane? I certainly don’t.

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    • Good comment, Laurie. I agree—what’s the point in arguing about things like who’s been long gone? Before all this started, my mother had mentioned that she got cards from a particular friend of hers every so often. When I told her that this friend had been dead for a number of years, she expressed surprise at the news. Later I decided that nothing was gained by telling her that bit of information and I should have kept it to myself.

      That’s funny about Harold wanting her for a fourth for bridge. Several times since my dad died my mother has had vivid dreams about going on picnics with him. He probably wanted her to bring along one of her boysenberry pies she used to make. Can’t blame him for that.

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  2. My mom never liked either one of her son-in-laws – after all, they were taking the attention away from her. She wanted us there 24/7. Whatever we did, it was never enough!

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  3. sometimes you can’t win…

    although my husband stopped showing up at my family events for about 5 years, not one member of my family asked where he was. they figured anti-social engineer type… i didn’t tell them i was divorced for about 6 months. they probably would have never noticed.

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    • The thing is, she saw him at Christmas and asks me every time I see her what projects he’s working on at home. I think she misses watching him like a hawk when he would come over to her house. “What’s he doing out there in the kitchen?”

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  4. Yup, we just have to walk along the road that they are on. We love them that much. It’s not easy to be part of it or be witness to but we hve no choice but to be there.

    Now I see it as a funny thing, back then, not so much. Somebody programmed my phone for speed dial #1 for Gram. Yippee! I took a hundred calls per day of “Gram” calling. Back then, a pain in the ass, now, in my memory, a treasure.

    “Oh HI honey what are you doing”, “Well, gram , I’m talking with you, what’s up?” Nothing, just wanted to talk, ok, great, what’s changed since we talked five minutes ago. Nothing, ok, bye, love you, love you too. Repeat ten times per hour. I hope some angel has a hold of my hand too.

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  5. I may as well start calling you Cousin because our mothers HAD to be related. The first ten years my husband and I were married, Mother would ask me, “Is he being good to you?” After that, it was, “You’d better take good care of him. You’ll never find another one like that.” Periodically she’d call him to ask was I doing a good job.

    Didn’t you tell us not long ago about something very nice your husband had done for your mother? Can’t remember what it was, but it was something that was well beyond the marriage vows concerning mothers-in-law.

    How is she liking her new digs now?

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    • Yeah, but you’re still married to Husband #1. Mine only attain sainthood upon divorce. 🙂

      Husband #2 does EVERYTHING above and beyond the call of marriage vows for my mother.

      She’s settling in pretty well, thanks. Today they had a visit from the Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs—a Brussels Griffon (I think) and a huge white standard Poodle named Tashi. The latter all groomed and trimmed and gorgeous. My Chihuahuas would have torn the residents’ faces off, but these guys were great.

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  6. Oh, my. You might be a saint.

    My mother was always afraid I was running men off. If they cheated or were mean or smoked pot, she was pretty sure I’d run them off. Either that, or I hadn’t fed them enough. Shoot me if I do that to my kids.

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    • I’m no saint but I did come up notch in my mother’s opinion of me yesterday. The Hotel had a couple of therapy dogs visiting and my mother’s dining room tablemate was enjoying them with us. Her daughter, who used to be our insurance agent, was there and she and her mother got into a discussion over someone they knew who had our last name. The mother had the facts wrong, apparently, and her daughter contradicted her several times while she was trying to tell us about it.

      Later my mother said the daughter should have let her try to figure it out on her own, and then she said “At least you aren’t that bad. Most of the time you give me a chance to remember things myself.” Score one for our team.

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