It can be the most excruciating thing to do.. The simple question of asking someone to help you, just uttering these two simple works makes my tongue feel thick in my mouth, and my saliva pool at the back of my throat.
I have so much pride, yup, I do, and I’m like a belligerent little toddler, who, though, he or she, can’t see over the stroller, that she is supposed to be belted into, is determined to drive the thing crazily along the sidewalk, having no clue where they are going. All they say is “ let me..”, and “ I wanna,” anndd….”I do it myself!”
it takes the patience of a 10000 nuns to not grab the stroller, and place ever so gently, the strong willed little short human back into their seat firmly and securely.
I feel like the flight attendant giving the safety demo at the beginning of the flight with the oxygen, and the safety belt.. which nobody really pays attention to like they should… oh wait, perhaps I am the only one who lacks concentration in these situations?
Adult “ADD” is a real thing people, and even though I’m self diagnosing here, I hear the distant hollering of many of my peeps, who are chanting..” yes, yes, yes!!” In exhuberant unison!
I just get distracted is all.. now what is it that I was saying again?
Acknowledging that there are many things that I can’t do very well myself, but then not busting my tail feather trying to pretend I can, is such stupidity..
There are people who want to come alongside a person, and all ya have to do is text one, phone one, or drop over for a coffee… they are there.
I feel like Regis Philbin, on that game show, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?” Should I phone a friend, ask a friend, ask the audience,? Perhaps the forth category should have asked, should I just be the friend.. waiting, patiently in the wings, for when the friend doesn’t get the promotion, when the husband walks out on them, whose parent dies suddenly in a horrible car crash, whose child gets taken, or whose Mother starts down the bizarre, and challenging road of vascular dementia.
Wait.. that last one sounded specific.. and I guess it was. I’m trying to sort out these feelings of terror, as I see my own Mum getting lost, and forgetting where she puts her most important things, like keys, and ….memories.
I have hesitated to write about this, because I’m sensitive to her privacy, and I love her.. she is my Mother. I would never want to do her harm, and yet, my mind is consumed with state of mind, and comfort.
This time is brutal hard… I have developed a constant lump in the back of my throat for the last 10 months that will not dissipate. It feels like there is a large leather softball in there, and it’s threatening to block my O2 off, and wants to strangle me to death..
I’m fighting for her. I’m reading and researching, which is what I do when I am trying to wrap my brain around something, that is above me, and confusing my head, and heart.
I’m reading a blog right now, that has been so helpful and encouraging to me entitled, “ Welcome to Dementialand.” It’s very honestly written, and makes me understand that these feelings of helplessness, and the sensation of falling into an abyss, are shared by other caregivers, and children, loved ones, who stand beside, and watch, helplessly as their loved one changes right before their eyes.
My cousin Cory, very kindly, lent me her book by Jann Arden, titled,” Feeding My Mother.” It’s an excellent, beautiful, soulful, and honest read. She is ensightlful, and has many photos scattered throughout, as well, as many gooey recipes dispersed every so often, that makes me drool.. Comfort food.
These two words slung together give hope to the promise of delicacies, that for that first couple of bites, do comfort your jagged soul.
I like especially this bunch of words that she put together in her book.
”Humour is all
Laugh at all the heartache
Laugh at all the pain
Laugh at all the wrong
Laugh until you can’t be anything but true and strong.” (Jann Arden)
It appears we are always on a journey of coming and going, and loving and losing. It is the human predicament, and it hurts a great deal of the time. It can be lonely, and filled with solitude, where only the God above can calm the roaring and anxiety that is bouncing around inside my cranium.
Take a breath, then I self talk myself… you are not in this alone, and just acknowledge that this part of your travels requires more luggage and expertise, and “kid glove” handling than you might possess.
It does “ take a village” to come around, and support one another, when physical, and mental crowding of the mind is trying to steal your loved one.
I have not handled things well many times. I’ve felt ashamed of myself for my lack of patience. I’ve internally beaten myself up for being a coward, for not wanting to look, for feeling frail, and undone. I’ve lost my cool, and I’ve said things that I deeply regret. Fear creates such havoc within us, and can destroy us if we don’t just ask, “ help me!”
Our family has been so richly blessed throughout our years to have one of the very best caregivers on God’s green earth. Her name is Barbara Levy, and she has cared for my Father, John, my daughter, Bianca, and now, my Mother, Denise.
Barbara is “wonderwoman” in every sense of the word.
She is from Jamaica, with a lovely laugh, incredible singing voice, and an open heart that just bursts with hope and joy. She has loved on our family, and tirelessly given of herself, all the while raising her gorgeous children, and also adopting, and loving her grandchildren.
I cannot say enough…about her.. She takes such an interest in each person that she cares for, she organizes “night nursing,” to come and sit with my Mum, and her cooking is nutritious, and beautifully presented.
She is a woman of faith.. She hums along with the hymns that play on the CD player, and this often gets my Mum to sing along too. When I stand just outside of the room, and hear them singing.. tears fall down my face, for the amount of gratitude that I feel… it is overwhelming.
In the midst of caring for others, there are certainly so many blessings that flow out all over us. Caregiving has been a part of my family’s DNA for three generations now. I’ve grown up with it, and I’ve learned so much about it from others that have come before me.
I don’t know if I can think of anything more satisfying and soul fulfilling than caring for another human being. To step into the role, and give it everything that you have, and leave no rock unturned, no curb left behind, no stream uncrossed… and to be present in this situation, when it can steal your peace of mind, and disrupt your sleep patterns, not to mention make you consume too much wine.
Attempting to be present in a situation, and being patient with a person whom you love, but whom is changing, through no fault of her own, is challenging, and heart wrenching.
It chips away at my armor, and my resolve, and I don’t want to watch… again… while someone I love slips away… But.. this is not about me.. It’s about her.
I want to treat her with dignity, compassion, love, and understanding. These are the things that I truly do want to do!
We watch “ Gilmore Girls,” on Netflicks, and “ The Crown, “ which she really enjoys. I build a big fire, in the old fireplace in the family room, we sip wine, and just be together, with Brody the Westie, sitting protectively upon her lap.
It is a frozen and precious moment in time, and I continually remind myself to be present, to not leap ahead into the unknown, and fret and worry.
All we have is today.. this moment, this space in time.. that is all.. don’t rush it.
I attended a “celebration of life” for a dear little 8 year old girl a weekend ago, and watched with wonder as the family told of the tremendous impact this little girl had on all of their lives.
It was a priceless to be there, and to acknowledge their incredible, care and devotion to their daughter, and to their other twin daughters.. Such heartfelt joy, and thankfulness that they had been given this unique, and challenged girl, who had so much to overcome, and navigate every second of every day, but who had the ability to push through physical challenges that many of us will never encounter.
Seeing this “ Irish warrior girl’s” life overflow onto so many others, and bring people together in such a combination of great love and heartache was spectacular.
I am realizing that I will never, and I mean, ever, regret caring for those that need care. It is this quintessential act of care that jars me out of my self centered ness,( preaching to myself here,) and propels me, and others, into the uncomfortable, but beautiful part of living,and loving, when those that you care for cannot ask for help, but when they just want you to know that they need it, and can depend on you.
Maybe giving dignity to another person means caring enough to anticipate what they need… because we all know.. it’s hard to ask.