“the long and winding road”
At some point, I’m assuming we will all probably question our abilities on whether or not to continue to do a variety of activities, such as driving. I have not heard however from anyone, without at least a little bit of coaxing that it was time to stop driving.
I have always disliked being a passenger in anyone’s car. I usually did all of the driving whenever mom and I or mom, me and the kids would go anywhere. So eventually I was not a passenger with her at all, she was doing very little driving and the driving she did do was just local around town errands., which took place typically while I was at work.
Barbara (my older sister) would occasionally do errands with mom but she started saying things to me like “I’m only going to go with her if I can drive” or “ she scares me” and “ when was the last time you drove with her?” I just figured it was Barbara’s lack of wanting to be a passenger as well, so to humor my sister I would occasionally go somewhere around town and have mom drive, and it WAS a little scary, but I kept thinking it just wasn’t that bad. I always worried about her driving though and it was definitely starting to make me nervous.
Rob (one of my older brothers) came to stay with us for a bit.
At the beginning he did not have a driver’s license and mom had to drive him or he would need to wait for me to drive him to wherever he needed to go. He started saying similar things that Barbara had been saying and again, I didn’t want to deal with it. I knew what was coming, and it was getting to the point where moms reaction time was so slow and her peripheral vision must have been of f a bit because she was hitting curbs and it was damaging the car. Rob showed me the damage she was doing to her car.
Ok , Ok I get it , after all she was 85 years old!
In hindsight, I wonder if I just didn’t want the responsibility of having to get her where she needed or wanted to be. Or was I also in denial that her driving had gotten so bad or that she had gotten too old to drive.
Moms license was about to expire so I thought we would get serious about the “stop driving ” conversation but……. I didn’t want to and I certainly didn’t want to do it alone. I had been mentioning it to her periodically, and I added that all of us were getting worried and she needs to start preparing herself for non-driving.
She would usually say something, like “why? is my driving really that bad?” but basically she would ignore me.
At one point Barbara, Rob and I all talked to her about giving up driving. My children did as well.
But still when Rob went in for his license I brought mom in too so that she could renew hers. No driving test, no written portion, nothing, just a new photo and that was it. She needed an I.D. anyway so I figured it was good.
Rob had started working ridiculous hours, like 4 am to 7 or 8 am, so mom told him to use her car since none of us wanted to drive him at that ungodly hour. Well that was working out well; he was doing errands with her car and taking her instead of her driving, so I worried very little. However she was adamant about still driving.
And one day as she was going out the door, he asked her where she was going and I forget now what she said but he said “no, no, no you are not”! She was not happy with him at all.
Finally I had to insist that she stop driving, I did tell her it was all of us that felt this way, (all of us included my kids and moms kids) and that we would make sure she got to wherever she needed to go. It was by far one of the hardest things that mom and I have shared so far, we both knew more than we let on. We both knew this was for the best.
I was a very difficult moment and I could see the sadness on her face so I had to acknowledge what she must have been feeling and I let her know that it must be very difficult but that we all loved her and didn’t want to have her hurt herself or anyone else.
I wont forget that look; I think she knew then that she was getting old and dependent.
The women who use to drive me wherever I wanted to go and who taught me to drive was now going to be dependent on me for her transportation.
That was a sad realization for me as well; sad for her and for me because I also realized mom was old and dependent.
We have since transitioned into a different way now, Rob is no longer staying with us , mom is no longer driving , but the funny part is that she always says that she could still be driving if it wasn’t for Rob making her stop. I do try to stick up for him and let her know it was all of us that wanted her to stop.
He said he doesn’t mind taking the heat for it at all.
How and when do we talk to our parents about giving up driving? There is no right answer.