Everyone has an opinion. I always knew this was true but am amazed at how this becomes even more of an issue when your Mom is diagnosed with MS. Everyone has an opinion about Mom’s MS- they have an opinion about to handle the disease, how we should act, how Mom should be treated, what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong.
I was told this weekend via someone else that a comment had been made referring to how we are handling Mom’s MS. Yes this would classify as gossip on their end and gossip on my end. I also don’t care. The comment: “Their Mom is just really not doing well and I don’t think any of them are taking it seriously.”
My initial reaction: Are you kidding me?
But as I write this, I have let it settle and I’ve given it some thought. There are a number of issues I have with this that I have been thinking about. First of all, why do people feel like they have a right to tell us how to handle our Mom? Is it because of our age? Yes Sister K and I are 25 and 28 but that doesn’t mean we are children. I personally think we have done a great job considering the circumstances we have been given and how all of this has happened. We have also been given a big choice in all of this. A choice I am not sure everyone would make the same way we are- We could choose to ignore this situation entirely and let it rip our family apart, or we could fight it. We fight it. But no one commeds us for that. They just look at whatever it is we aren’t doing.
Which brings me to another issue. What aren’t we doing and how exactly are we ignoring this? We have gotten Mom a physical therapist, she is improving little by little everyday, we are trying to keep her attitude as positive as possible but we cannot force her to do anything. I think people forget Mom is 60, not 85 with a disease like Alzheimer’s. She is still cognitively very aware of what is going on and we do not control her life. This is not a situation where you are dealing with an elderly grandparent. I am dealing with my middle aged Mom. The circumstances are completely different.
Mom and Dad are working through this together. We are all working through this together. We are doing our best. There is no manual yet everyone seems to think they have one. There is also no cure for MS. This isn’t going to magically disappear. While I am incredibly frustrated by this one comment it is really just representative of other comments that people mention to us wherever we go. I don’t understand what gives people the right to tell us what we should be doing that we aren’t already doing and why they seem to know all the answers when they haven’t even dealt with a situation like this. For the millionth time and I mean this as kindly as possible- your Mom having Alzheimer’s is in no way the same as my Mom having MS. Your 85 year old Mom is not the same as my 60 year old Mom.
I need to be more assertive when these comments are made to me. I have made a promise to myself that from now on as comments like this are made to me I am not going to just politely listen and pretend to appreciate their concern. I am going to respond in a manner explaining we are doing the best we can. I am going to respond in a manner that is not rude but also not nice. Implying I don’t want anymore advice that I never asked for in the first place.
Why do you think people offer opinions when you didn’t even ask for them? Do you think this is a lack of social skills or something greater? How would you respond? Would you be bothered by this or do you think I need to blow these comments off? Have people ever done this to you regarding issues in your own life?