|A Blessing that I recognized,|
Marty and Jay giving Ma a surprise visit.
Witnessing first hand the anxieties associated with Care Giving, I found myself wondering how my life went from 100 mph to zero in a split second. We didn't have a family meeting where all siblings got together. We didn't pull straws or discuss who will be the lucky winner to care for our aging parent. It just seemed to happen and land on the shoulders of one individual. Common, but still one of the most painful aspects of Care Giving; coming to terms with the feeling of abandonment.
It does seem unfair, but it's the reality of becoming a Care Giver. Care Givers often hold a feeling that they have been left holding the hot potato, the last one to remain standing. Our lives become lonely and full of sadness; we miss the blessings.
Over the last 3 years, there have been days where I felt like one of the Three Stooges, standing in a line where a volunteer is needed and all but one individual in line steps backward one step; left alone to fight the war on insanity. Seeing life's greatest blessing was covered in a veil of despair. I was blind.
I did get angry. My anger didn't help anyone, not me and not my mom. It drove my family to be "lookie lou's," watching from a distance, rarely coming to my aid. This was my reality, one that I feel compelled to share with anyone who stumbles upon my words in my blog.
Fortunately, after endless hours of introspection, I came to the understanding that family members can make a choice to stay informed or ignore me. Either choice is OK; I know that the nightmare that I have lived is not for everyone. Someday's I've even wondered if it was for me!
I did allow my sadness to take control of my life. In the process, I missed the blessings and the opportunities to find the joy in each day; there is joy to be found in everyday. Some days, I have to look harder than others, but when I open my heart, I find it.
Changing my attitude, I became more compassionate and understanding of my mom's odd behaviors. My mom continues to decline, each day bringing new challenges and opportunities for me to create a solution and find the blessings. I've learned that there's always a solution, there's always a blessing from the Universe.
Care Giving for someone with dementia is clearly an exercise in patience, perseverance and compassion. I have learned that caring for my demented mother can be as hard or as easy as I choose. It all begins with me and how I choose to react to each new development in my mom's decline.
I am OK with the fact that I'm on my own with the burden of caring for my mom. I believe that I am fortunate; I am blessed. Caring for my mom has made me stronger and one day when she does pass on, I'll have no regrets.
Care Giving is one of life's greatest blessings, especially when we can find the beauty in even the most chaotic of days.