Tuesday, November 1, 2011


      There was a high window, so she couldn’t see out, except to see the sky.  It did make the room a little dark.  We talked it over, again, and finally hired a contractor to install a large sliding door and a deck with a railing around it, just outside the door.  This way she would have a good view of the back yard, with the beautiful flowers and the shade trees, plus she could go outside for some sun and fresh air, if she wanted to.  We planted some of her favorite flowers along the edge of the deck and put some brightly colored potted plants on the deck to brighten it up.  She had always grown lots of flowers and we thought taking care of the plants would make her feel a little more at home.  When we finished, it was quite lovely.  I think she liked the flowers; they seemed to make her happy.  It was worth the expense just to see her eyes light up.
     My husband and I are golfers and we always attended a golf tournament in Reno, sponsored by the bank I worked for.  We were left with the dilemma of finding someone to care for his mother.  Hiring someone was out--it was too expensive for twenty-four-hour care.  Our daughter, Casey came to the rescue with the suggestion that Grandma move into her house for the four days that we would be gone.  It was going to be difficult for her, with her small child, but she knew we needed a break.  Of course, Mother hated the arrangement and let her know it, as well as giving us an earful when we got home.  But, we had our vacation and we relished every minute.
     Even though my mother-in-law was a handful, I’m glad we took her into our home.  If she had spent her last years in a nursing home, she would have been devastated.  She would have felt that she had been discarded like an old shoe.  We couldn’t do that to the woman who had worked hard to raise a good son.  She was our family and we wanted to be sure that she had the best of care, in our home.
     Sometimes it’s hard to get past the resentment of having your life turned upside down.  However, it does pass, especially when you realize that you have truly helped your loved one in their hour of need.  After all, they raised you, nurtured you, sat up nights when you were ill, and didn’t complain.  Now it is your chance to return the favor.
     Even if they make life a little difficult for you, they are family and family cares for family.  Your efforts will be returned a hundredfold someday.  Remember, you will be old one day and you will be in the same boat as your loved one.  Who will care for you?
     Don’t feel guilty about your feelings.  They are normal.  Just remember that you are doing the right thing.  You are taking care of someone you love, someone who can no longer take care of herself---your mom, God love her.
     It may make you feel better to know that others share your frustration and resentments.  What follows are either reports I’ve gleaned from the Internet or stories related to me by other caregivers.
     Here’s a story from a caregiver named Connie:
     Sometimes I feel like I am a member of one of the most dysfunctional families on the face of the earth.  They aren’t dumb people.  I know that they must understand just how sick Mom is, so that leaves me wondering if they are just selfish, and if they are, how in the world did they get that way, and how do they just go on with their lives like nothing in the world is wrong here.  I just don’t understand anyone like that.
     I really feel for anybody who has to take care of an aging loved one by herself.  My husband died in 1972, and I only have one child.  She is twenty-four and married and busy with her own life, which is as it should e.  I have one brother and he is busy with his family.  He stops by for about five minutes every week, and never asks if we need anything.  As I said, I just don’t understand, and maybe I’m not supposed to.  I have heard it said many times that God takes care of us when we can’t take care of ourselves, and I know that it is true in my case.  Sometimes, though, I have to find a place where I can yell and rave and rant and let it all out.  If I didn’t I know I would be as crazy as a loon.  Maybe I am now, and I just don’t know it..

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