I have invented a new word, ‘Underminers.” These individuals, along with the “Experts in Everything,” are the people identified by their uncanny ability to pose questions in the form of judgment. They freely give their expert opinion and dish up a heaping tablespoon of undermining.
The silver lining is that they have taught me two priceless lessons. The first lesson is I don’t give a crap anymore what people think. The care I give my mother allows me to look myself in the mirror every night and like what I see, and that’s enough for me. The second thing I learned is to let go of a lot unnecessary-ness (another new word) which, for me, defies gravity.
These two priceless lessons came in the form of Mom wanting dog after moving to her Assisted Living apartment. Mom had generously given her beautiful and loyal white German Shepherd, Chrissy, to me when she moved because I think, even then, she realized she could not care of her anymore.
Mom brought up the little dog idea daily. She never gave up on the idea, which, granted, can be a part of this disease. But this felt oddly persistent. When I would visit, I’d see pictures of adoptable dogs taped everywhere in her apartment, and our conversation about this ended the same way the 1st time as it did the 74th time, “I’m sorry, Mom, but no.” Then her tears would start, and I’d feel like the worst human being on the planet.
Within time, I learned the “Experts in Everything,” her well-meaning friends, were the ones stoking the embers on a daily basis for the little dog idea. The leader of the pack had sent out a group email (which did not include me) to get Mom a dog despite my opinion, after which they left note in Mom’s apartment for me to see. It was signed and dated and said, “We will take the dog if it doesn’t work out.”
I was furious and hit a new low in bad behavior. My blood pressure felt like it was rubbing elbows with a stroke or heart attack. I emailed the main, well-meaning culprit and tore her a new arshole so large it could accommodate a watermelon. Not my finest hour. But it was also my final lesson in letting go. So, I let it go.
Since the “Experts in Everything” felt they knew better what Mom needed without really thinking this through, I agreed by adding an amendment of my own to their original declaration stating they would “take the dog if it didn’t work out.” My amendment read:
“Congratulations on getting Mom her little dog! This will be a new, wonderful partnership for all of you!!
In addition to you taking the pup when it’s time, you are also responsible for:
• All vet appointments, transportation to and from.
• All shopping with mom to Petco, or PetSmart, etc., transportation etc., the first purchase being an automatic water and kibble feeder.
• If there is a problem or crisis with the pup at any hour of the day or night, Mom will call you for help.
• All carpet and floor cleaning immediately after any accident is your responsibility, I recommend the Bissell Pro.
• You will need to take the pup to your home when Mom visits or stays overnight at my house or the cabin. I will not referee three 85lb pups and a new, smaller one in addition to watching and caring for Mom 24/7.
• You will be 50% financially responsible for any and all costs incurred pertaining to this pup, a “pet deposit” to the Assisted Living Residence of $500 will be due when the dog arrives.
• Any and all issues not mentioned herein in reference to this wonderful 4-legged addition will be 100% your responsibility.
Thanks, and enjoy!”
I never heard another word about it.
WHAT IS TRUE FOR ME: “Experts in Everything” and “Underminers” exist around every shadowy corner. Their hearts may be in the right place, it’s just difficult to see it when we haven’t slept in 40 months.
Keep your life and your loved one’s life as simple as possible. Be patient with what you can be patient with and let go of the rest – you will find the world won’t fall off its axis if you do.