start this," she told me.
I had arranged to meet someone "for coffee". I knew she meant "I need to talk to you".
We met. I listened. I said almost nothing. I certainly did not proffer any advice. She was in no mood to listen. She was upset, very upset. There were tears in public from someone who is normally a very private person.
It was nothing I had done and it was really nothing to do with me. She just needed someone who would sit and listen.
I know this person needs help. She needs professional help, something I am not qualified to give. I may have some training in psychology but I am not a counsellor. I doubt even a counsellor could help at this point. It has been left too late. This person needed help years ago.
Part of the problem is that she does not believe there is a problem with her or the person who is being so demanding. It is, as always, "other people" who do not understand the situation. She believes her situation is unique and different from that of everyone else who has gone through the same thing.
Yes, she has put the person who has always cared for her and been there for her into a nursing facility. It had to happen. That person needs more help than she can possibly give them. Even making available around the clock nursing care at home, if they could afford it, would not be the answer. It just can't be done.
I know how demanding and unreasonable the person she has placed there has been in the past and how demanding that person can still be. The words "guilt trip" were made for these two. One can take the other on that journey with just a look. Tears, sulks, failure to cooperate, threats and demands are made all too frequently.
I am fortunate. The Senior Cat is easy to care for. Oh yes, he worries himself sick if I am out and return later than I tell him I will. I try not to do that. He tries not to do that to me. It is the one use he has for a "mobile" phone. When we were reduced at a later than usual time to commercially bought quiche for lunch the other day - for reasons beyond my control - he just said, "Well, that was nice. I'm glad you didn't have to worry about cooking lunch as well." There was no temper tantrum as there would have been from the other person because a home-cooked meal was not on the table when expected. He thanks me for meals, for doing the other things I do for him. Conversely I thank him for what he does. We may not always agree but we don't argue. Oh yes, I am fortunate - very fortunate indeed.
They "argued" constantly although I know that most of the "argument" would come from the one now in the nursing facility.
There isn't an answer to this. It needs professional intervention and that is going to be distressing for both of them.
I look at them though and I wonder what my mother would be like if she was still alive. I don't think it would have been any easier and that is why I will listen. I don't know if it really helps in this case but I will listen.