Thursday, August 23, 2012

Life as we know it

It's never quite how you think it will be, is it?  In Sept. of 2011, Steven and I became the ...ahem...proud surrogate parents of our nephew Nathaniel, age 13.  Reasons don't matter, and he is now safely back in the arms of his father but for 4 months we took the reins of his life and tho our impact on his future was negligable, we did manage to keep him alive until his dad could resume his own life.  Shortly after his departure, my mother took a spill and could no longer manage to stay by herself, so she came to live with us.  Our wonderful daughter, whose room had finally been painted and made girlie after years of looking like the inside of NASA headquarters, volunteered to move back into her old room which we had turned into a pantry  (not kidding).

What a difference a year makes.  We now find ourselves caring for an elderly parent in a scenario being played out all across this country....a club we never thought we'd be joining (did we think mom was never going to BE elderly?).  We've gone from helping her change channels and taking her to her doctor's appts. to carrying her to the commode and feeding her meals.  She is frustrated and sad and in pain and I am frustrated and sad and unable to make her pain go away. I'm crying because of the burden and crying with guilt because I consider my mother a burden.  I'm alternately Mother Theresa and Dr Mengele.  In the immortal words of young people everywhere...this sucks.

 But, there are rays of light in an otherwise dim reality. Family has been a Godsend; without their support, physical help (thanks Stephanie) and the cleaning ladies (thanks John and Ashley) we don't know what we'd do...certainly drink a LOT more wine. This weekend two of my brothers are coming, one from Napa the other from Pennsylvania and I look forward to lots of laughs, lots of help and...well....lots of wine.  God has been extraordinarily good to us.  Simply allowing us to care for Mom is a gift.  Spending her last months here has allowed us to see a kindness in each other, especially our daughter, that we might never have experienced.  There is nothing in the world quite like watching your 18yr. old daughter give your mother a manicure.  I don't want to think of what the next few months will involve, neither the workload nor the eventual grief is a happy expectation, but it's our world right now and so we accept it.  We get up each day and do what we have to do...because we have to.


Mostly we try to remember to tell Mom how much we love her....every day.


3 comments:

Kris Watson said...

This hits so close to home. Not sure if it helps you at all to know others are going through the same thing...but we are out here, as you noted. The guilt can be horrendous. Try not to let it sink in.

Maureen said...

...it does help, thanks Kris.

Jeano said...

Oh, Maureen... we will continue to pray for your and yours!