Mother In Law

“If she were my mother, she’d be living here with us.”

The words just came out. My husband and son didn’t respond. It was something I’d thought about since the MIL was secured in senior independent living last March.

GrandmaShe was reluctant, feeling guilt for leaving her home after the death of her husband, whose plan back in the 1950’s was that they’d live there for the rest of their life.

She was acclimating to the new environs, prized possessions were transferred. She was interacting in social activities, cheering up a bit, improving her outlook. Everyone was relieved.

Then, a downturn; her family physician retired, the new doctor admitted her to the hospital for observation and testing. It did not go well, it scared her. She spent time talking to Jesus, praying to die.

Now she has isolated herself in her apartment, refuses to go to the dining hall, schedules her life around doctor appointments, nurses and therapists. She is no longer independent, favoring wheelchair over walker.

I feel like she should be living with family.

My husband is the firstborn; but her choice would most likely be the only daughter, who lives in another state, and runs a business out of her home.

She used to say, jokingly, that she would go live with “her lovely daughter-in-law.”

Was she was asking for an invitation, or just testing my reaction ? In many ways, it makes sense, we are retired now, and would be better company.

We do not like each other. There is love, affection, mutual respect. We are different in ways too complex to discuss here. There would be conflict, I would have trouble keeping my opinions to myself.

Diplomacy went out the window with menopause…for both of us.

But family is family.jokes-about-mother-in-law-8

I lost my mother at age 53. We had a troubled relationship. If she was in this same position, that wouldn’t matter. She’d be living with one of us, most likely me.

Time will tell. This story will no doubt be continued.

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46 Responses to Mother In Law

  1. I hope you find a resolution that works for all concerned.

  2. Erika Kind says:

    That is not easy. I couldn’t have imagined having my mother in-law living with us.

  3. Sue Vincent says:

    I can understand both the desire to ‘be there’ and the ‘not easy’… I’ve shared a home with family when it was needful. Not easy can be an understatement… but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  4. Thanks for sharing this part of your life! It is hard in all cases!

  5. Oh, it is a very difficult situation Van. I hope that it all works out for you both! 🙂

  6. I understand your wish to keep your mother-in-law with family, but be sure to take into consideration whether she may require more care than you will be able to give her, especially as she ages. Will you be able to afford a live-in aide or nurse? Is there a middle-ground solution? Perhaps you could bring her over on weekends, or visit her at her apartment more?

    I think we’ll soon be facing a similar decision with my mother-in-law. She’s already in a senior apartment, but it’s just a matter of time before we’ll have to move her into some kind of assisted living. I dread the day.

    • Up until this latest hospital visit, she was in pretty good health, CM, but you’re right..we might not be able to handle it, and I, too, dread the idea of assisted living. Time will tell. Thanks for your wise input. ☺

      • Went through it with my own mother before she passed. My mother made her own decision to go into a “rest home” when she realized she could no longer care for herself. My sister-in-law still suggested that perhaps she could take my mother into her own home, until we explained that with her busy life and her own mother needing care, it would be just too much to take on. For us, it was a good decision, and one we never regretted.

      • I hear you. And thanks for your honesty, CM. These comments give me a lot of food for thought, and are most appreciated. 💕

  7. LaVagabonde says:

    You are a generous soul, Van.

  8. Sounds so familiar, Van, and so difficult. I have to be honest, I couldn’t do it. My parents lived with us for 6 years and it wasn’t good for any of us. Every relationship suffered. I know there are many who feel that there should be no question, that the doors should be flung wide open, but for me quality counted and quality was hurting. My folks and I are hopefully coming to a nice equilibrium now – near but not on top of each other. Cordeliasmom had a pretty good suggestion – regular visits and perhaps weekends at your place as a pleasant break and boost. If anything, make your decisions carefully and honestly. My best to you.

    • If I’m being honest, it would bring up old wounds. Her choice for him would have been the hometown girl that he left for me decades ago. She is embarrassed by my directness,often apologizes for me to friends and family. Her outlook is conservative, mine liberal. My daughter has been estranged from her for years. I could go on, but , pointless really. I know in my heart, this might be a huge mistake. Still…Thanks for your thoughtful advice, Diana. 💕

  9. What a tough place to be Van. I love your heart and the words you share from it. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your husband and your MIL> ❤
    Diana xo

  10. George says:

    This is a tough one, Van and it speaks to your heart that, in spite of your past with her, you would still choose to take her in. Like you, I believe we don’t value or respect the elderly in this country as they do in other countries. My mother in law is going to be 90 soon and still lives alone even though she had a stroke last summer. She’s still self sufficient and I pray she stays that way because living with her would be near impossible. Even though we live about 45 minutes away we do whatever she asks. But living with her would drive me crazy. She is very opinionated, can be negative and judgmental about most people and that’s just not me or my wife. As much as bringing a family member into your home is the right thing to do, there are times when I think the stress that it creates is unhealthy. I hope were never placed in that position but I know it’s possible. My wife loves her mom but she knows who she is and feels the same way. Not easy for anyone, which is why I hope I never become a burden for my children. Good luck.

    • I’ve thought about that burden to my own children, George. It’s interesting that so many women in my side of the family died young, I never considered it to be a future issue.That changed when I passed 60, so many of them did not. Now, I wonder ??? Your MIL mirrors mine in the judgmental/negative attitude that is toxic to me. Everything is high drama..also troubling. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, George. ❤️

  11. amommasview says:

    A difficult decision. So many decision to make…

  12. olganm says:

    I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine about her mother-in-law today. In that case there’s a financial difficulty thrown it, but it’s never an easy decision. I’m an only child and it’s something in my mind. I hope things work out for the best.

    • Thanks, Olga, her husband did leave her with some financial assets, which is a benefit since this apartment is quite expensive. I have no idea what assisted living or nursing homes may cost..I can only imagine. Even with insurance, her medical expenses, prescriptions, etc are extreme.

  13. lbeth1950 says:

    What a hard decision. I hope it works for you. Be sure to avail yourself of whatever support services she qualifies for. She doesn’t need to wear you out when there is help. Good look.

  14. markbialczak says:

    May you both make the most of this portion of life, Van. Wow. I hope to read about successes.

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