Lisa has started a new exercise for us called . Each Wednesday, for a year, she will post a word to prompt us to talk about our caregiving journey. She has aptly named this One Word Wednesday. Today the word she has given us as a prompt is Nurture.
I never thought that I would end up caring for my mother in her golden years. Mom and I were nothing at all alike. I was a "daddy's girl". I thought my Pops walked on water. As a child I was in awe of him, as an adult I respected and admired him.
My parents first child was a girl who passed away shortly after birth. They then had 4 sons before I was finally born. Mom was very excited that she finally had a little girl but, as she liked to tell me when she could still remember it, I was never cuddly or girly. I wanted to hang out with my Pops and my brothers. I didn't like to shop, wear makeup, have my hair curled and I bit my nails to the quick. I remember Mom putting me into etiquette classes at Montgomery Wards, called Wendy Wards. The only thing I remember from those classes was that they told us we should always carry an extra pair of white ankle socks in our purse. I remember thinking, I'm not carrying some stupid purse around and if I did I wasn't sticking socks in it. When my sister was born Mom said she felt as if her first daughter had come back to her. Dawn was everything my mother wanted in a daughter. They were and are two peas in a pod. And so, I just naturally assumed that when the time came Mom would live with Dawn.
But God had other plans for me. Shortly before my Pops got sick I had a serious mental breakdown and had to leave my job. I was sick for quite a while but I started healing just as my Pops got ill and could no longer care for Mom as she needed. We moved them both into our house and I became a caregiver. When Pops passed, I was retired and Dawn was still working and had two young kids to boot. So naturally, Mom stayed with me.
After several years of caregiving and nurturing it became apparent that I needed some nurturing myself. I could feel myself getting sick again and Frank saw me spiraling downhill at a very fast speed. A family meeting was called and Dawn and Tom agreed to take Mom on Tuesdays and one weekend a month and Dick and Jackie agreed to take Mom on Thursdays and one weekend a month.
This was in addition to Nancy, who we hired to care for Mom each weekday from 8:30-2:30 and Larry and Mary who keep Mom for 2-3 months each winter.
Mom and Dawn
Two Peas in a Pod
That, my friends, is how stressful nurturing a dementia/alzheimer patient is!! It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to care for our elderly. My heart and my admiration goes out to all of those who are nurturing their parents without any support from others. I pray for them daily....I don't know how they do it....I certainly was not as strong as they seem to be.
Thanks Lisa, for giving me this opportunity to vent. Talking about our adventure really does help to relieve the stress.