When I am not with my mother in law, I have many anger feelings directed towards her, which then makes me feel guilty. She's dying for gosh sakes and has been for close to two years. Being one of only two active participants in the same house overseeing her care week after week has been quite the journey. I have watched her lose weight bit by excruciating bit to uncover bones, as well as writhe in pain, suffer with anxiety, lose the ability to dial, and then answer a phone as well as work a television remote. And she found fault with the phone and the tv week after week. She has lost the ability to walk, speak coherently which she is aware of, to stand, and now to eat on her own. This is a lot of loss and I have no control over it. Maybe that is some of the anger. Watching someone die is the ultimate loss of control and this is between her will which is very strong and God. She is fighting tooth and nail to live while what I see is such a massive loss of quality of life.
I struggle because for the last few years I have been cultivating a new relationship with how I experience feelings when they arise, especially those that are uncomfortable. Now, I want to be curious about them, not scared and panicked as I have been but lovingly acknowledge them and allow them through instead of blocking them, and pushing them down, and then stuffing myself with food. But these anger feelings keep coming up again and again?
It finally dawned on me that I'm not mad at her for what I think I am. Anger is the ego blocking our need to work on an issue within ourselves. After I visit with her, and the armor that I have to put on to do so comes down, I grieve. While she is still alive through this prolonged terminal illness, I have lost all of the person she was. There are no characteristics left of who she once was. She is somewhere between living and the great mystery. She doesn't look like the same person. There is no warmth, no smile, no conversation. She cannot express her fierce love for my offspring. We can't laugh or joke anymore and all of this has disappeared over time and now in the last weeks, communication has diminished to me guessing what she is trying to say. She use to come to our house often on the weekends and spend the night. She was our clutch babysitter. She sat on the floor and played with the girls and engaged with them actively. She crawled into the crib when Riley was young. She went on vacations with us. She even did my laundry and dishes and enjoyed doing so!!! And she was an ally, we talked about important issues in my life and did so by agreeing to disagree if need be. I needed to learn how to agree to disagree. This was huge for me. I, the people pleaser, with what felt like no voice growing up, could have a conversation with appropriate boundaries. And now week after week, I see that person disappearing.
I now know that perhaps the anger is she is leaving us.