Posts Tagged ‘helping mom’

28 days of wonder #22

I have been wondering about the difference between the generations, wondering how we get to these new places of thinking and relating to one another.   When and how do we form the expectations for behavior in our relationships?  At what point did I come to believe that loving my husband did not mean letting him tell me what to do and think, how to wear my hair or what color clothing I should choose?  Last week I found out that mom loves blue, not pink or lavender (those are the colors dad likes her to wear).  A brief comment, a small moment, that has left me wondering for days.

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Day 14 – packing

packingIf it were not for the sense of urgency I feel, there would be a sadness about this task.  Helping my parents pack up after 21 years of wonderful living in a beautiful home.  There are more than memories in this house.  There is evidence of who they are, who mom was before the alzheimer’s began to take hold.  But with less than 48 hours before the truck arrives, there isn’t time for any more trips down memory lane.  There will be plenty of time for that when they unpack some of these boxes that hold paper and pictures that we couldn’t quite toss.  I am trying to hold on to the idea that these memories are also in my head and my heart, places that don’t need to be packed – thank goodness.

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may-3-002I have had a number of people tell me how sorry they are that my mom has Alzheimer’s and at first I did feel very sorry for myself.  When my mom stopping picking up the phone to call and chat, when our conversations felt forced and she couldn’t remember for even a few minutes the details of my life, I felt cheated.  I wasn’t ready to lose her.  But these last few weeks, sitting with her in the hospital, I have found that I am not losing her, we are just redefining our relationship.  She reaches for my hand and cups my face as I kiss her goodbye in a way that she hasn’t done since I was a child.  And she always asks about the wedding and the bride.  How is she doing with all the plans?  Is she getting nervous?  Is everything ready?  She talks more often of my own wedding which she pretty much planned on her own.  It amazes me that she is holding on to this piece of our current reality.  Just one week and our bride will be ready to walk down the aisle.  And it looks like mom will be able to come home and be with us for that important day.  So yes, there is loss and many changes that I would never have chosen, but there is also beauty on this new path that we are walking.

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Enduring grace

Mom has boarded a train that is taking us on a bit of a detour. After surgery, she had some heart problems and they moved her to the ICU for more tests. Seems her heart is just worn out and her valve is not working well so they are trying some meds to strengthen her heart muscle. She is not happy that she cannot get out of bed, all those tubes and pieces of machinery that she is hooked up to are driving her nuts and the worst part is that it seems everyone is telling her no. No, don’t pull out the IV. No, don’t get out of bed. No, don’t take that red thing off your finger or the cuff off your arm. They have had a series of sitters, nurse helpers who are responsible to make sure she stays hooked up. Tonight, even though she is terribly frustrated, she kept thanking her sitter, telling her how much she appreciated her help.
“I don’t want to do any of this but thank you so much for helping me. You are very kind.”

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I love this picture of our daughter.  She had such a way of communicating ever before we could understand her words.  Those raised shoulders say, “I’m not really sure what is happening here.”

Yesterday I went over to help mom do her legs.  She hasn’t been able to bend and doesn’t really remember how you get rid of the hair on your legs but at two recent doctor’s appointments, she has apologized about the condition of her legs.  So I picked up a tube of hair removal cream and headed over after work.  We got the first step done and I went to look for towels so I left her sitting in her shower chair.  When I came back she said, “This is lovely.  Are you doing this for everyone?”  No mom, just you.  I had to leave the room one more time and when I came back she asked, “Have you been doing this long?’  I laughed and said, No, this is my first time, how am I doing?  “Well, you are doing a great job!” 

I am not sure if my coming and going from the room made her think there were more people around or what.  It was a puzzle.  But it made me laugh.  In fact I am smiling as I write this.  Even in her confusion she can still make me feel like I am capable.  Thanks mom.

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