A letter from the Editor
My mother wrote my husband a long letter in which she asserts my mother-in-law refuses to accept any help in caring for my father-in-law, suggests my father-in-law is at the brink of needing assisted living or nursing care and grossly mis-remembers, to my husband, where the last month of my father’s life was spent. It was a long, well written, well intended, thoughtful letter, but based on the inflammatory bits and pieces of information she can sort of recall.
I have recently written, to a close friend of both families, that my mother-in-law is competent to a fault. So much so that it is only because my father-in-law is so vastly improved on a new medication, that I do not worry more about her than him. Under the circumstances, they are now in a pretty good holding pattern, which includes my mother-in-law hiring help for household tasks that they either can’t or don’t have time to do.
Meanwhile, my mother recalls to my husband that she and my dad decided to spend the last few weeks of my father’s life in an apartment associated with the clinic where he was treated for leukemia, and the fallout of that treatment, for over 8 years. And that it was ‘easy.’ Really? My father’s last month was spent in two hospitals and a skilled nursing facility, not by choice, in two different towns and was the antithesis of easy.
I can let go of a lot of the rampant spreads of mis-information that my mother sprinkles around, all the time, but not this. In part because I’m angry she can’t remember what happened to the person she loved for over 50 years, I’m angry she’s sick, I’m angry she denies being sick (and if she denies my husband’s correction to this particular fault in her memory, the medical bills and death certificate will be presented to her), but I’m mostly angry that her inability to pick up the phone and call the doctor, despite my insistence, when my father complained of chest tightness, a week before he landed in the hospital with pneumonia, is probably what killed him.