It does not bring me any joy to admit that fate has probably dealt the worst cards possible for my mother. She was abandoned at 4, maltreated by her adoptive parents at 10, married to an alcoholic at 21, and abused until her husband died. As if such ordeals were not enough, my mother got diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (MPD).
As unsurprising as that diagnosis was, it still felt a little challenging for my little sister and me to accept. After our father’s passing, after all, Mom tried to raise us as best as she could. She had three jobs but never missed any school performance. She would come home exhausted, but we never heard her complain. Though Mom was a hero in our eyes, my sister and I knew that our mother needed us more than ever.
At the time, my sister was about to go to college while I was already working from home as a ghostwriter. I told her that I would become Mom’s primary caregiver and help pay her tuition.
Was it easy? No. There were times when my mother would believe that I was somebody else. Sometimes, she would insist that it was the 1980s. Having a social life was out of the question, too, given that Mom was deteriorating so fast. I could not leave her for more than an hour.
Despite our family’s hardships, another problem came around March 2020. I was tuning in to the local radio station when the reporter announced that there were five COVID-19 patients in our neighborhood. They were workers at the grocery store where I always went to get our supplies.
I knew I was careful not to touch anything with my bare hands at the store, but I could not be sure about not catching the coronavirus. The thought of testing positive kept me up all night. It was not because I worried about my well-being but because it meant being away from my mother for weeks. Still, I had no other choice but to care for her in indirect ways, such as:
Make My Sister Go Home
My first course of action was to ask my sister to come home. I trusted no one except for my sister to care for Mom at that point. It would also prevent my mother from noticing my absence too much, considering she had company.
Self-Isolate In Another Place
I also called in a favor from a friend who I knew had an empty house a few blocks away from ours. Most people would try to complete their 14-day quarantine in their respective homes, but I could not do it. Mom was there, and the coronavirus would not have an issue latching on to her.
Note that during my self-isolation, the hospital called and informed me that I genuinely got COVID-19. While I turned out to be asymptomatic, it did not make me feel better. I was still unable to come home.
Never Mention The Virus To My Mother
Whenever my mother’s personality was not switched, she would FaceTime me to know how I was doing. My sister told her that I had to go out of town, and she bought it, so I went along with it.
Before you say it, no, I did not want to lie to my only living parent. Despite that, I figured that letting her know of my current health condition would not be ideal for her mental health.
I only came back home yesterday, and Mom welcomed me with a warm hug that I knew so well. She had lots of stories about the last few weeks with my sister, and it made me glad to hear that her routine did not change at all. Although I could not look after Mom in person, I got to do it somehow by doing the things mentioned above.