For me, caregiving is about love really. The word does not appear much in the blogs and advice article I scour late at night. But like many others, I caregive because I love.
Over the past year, my various gripes and grudges from the past decades of imperfect parenting have fallen away. I would not have predicted this. Mom and I had a rocky relationship for years. We see the world differently and have a set of wildly different values and have made some very different life choices though mine I am sure will continue to evolve.
Some months ago, over a shared pizza dinner, I found myself looking at Mom and being surprised by how strong and simple my love for her had become. And yet this clarity comes when the clock is moving quickly toward the complete loss of her personality. I feel such a desire to stop time and bottle up this time with her. Instead, in my moments of high energy I think of how to fit in one more shared cool experience or create another special moment for her. Tonight I finished a plan for a weekend trip to the ocean, per her request for her upcoming birthday.
Creating these moments of shared connection and joy feel so important to me. I don’t have as much space for this part of interacting with her. Picking up meds, getting her dinner, sorting the mail often have to trump what feels most important.
But finding the time and space to make sure that she feels loved is probably the best part of what I can do for her, and for myself, before our time together ends.