Pauline Hayton, If You Love Me, Kill Me. CreateSpace. 158 pages. $6.99. Kindle e-book $3.99.
What happens when your life becomes a living hell? What happens when you reach your own retirement age and find yourself trapped in the most difficult, exhausting, and demoralizing job you ever had – caring for aging parents who have begun a long, painful decline that seems to have no vanishing point? How does one handle the battleground of resentment and guilt that turns your life into something very dark?
In Ms. Hayton’s case, things kept going from bad to worse. After she lost her father, whose caretaker she also had been, her mother went into a deep decline. It reached the point that the author could not have more that fifteen minutes between her mother’s frantic, fearful yet commanding calls to her to come back to her room. Ms. Hayton could barely get anything else done before having to respond to her mother’s voice.
Worse yet, that voice yelled out “Barbara, Barbara!” Who was Barbara? Pauline Hayton never figured that out.
The story begins with Ms. Hayton revealing that she had survived deep conflicts with her mother that had been resolved through counseling. The resolution had left the author with a somewhat detached relationship with her mother: “I accepted her and her controlling ways (that caused me to leave home when I was seventeen) without allowing her to have power over me.” She adds, “but I adored my father. He was a very special person.”
So, when it was decided that her parents, both blind, should not face their declining years alone in England (where Ms. Hayton was born and raised), it was also decided that she and her husband would take care of them. During the first three years, the situation was managed well enough, and caretaker Pauline became closer than ever to her father. But then his health plummeted, and his death followed soon after.
Her mother’s decline accelerated after the father’s death. At one point, Ms. Hayton became plagued with cancer. Eventually, her husband left because the stress of the situation was something he couldn’t handle. . . .
To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the July 3, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the July 4 Bonita Springs edition, the July 18 Naples edition, and the July 25 Palm Beach Gardens / Jupiter edition, click here Florida Weekly – Hayton 1 and here Florida Weekly – Hayton 2