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.
April 11, 2014 at 10:43 pm
This is so beautiful. Your caregiving heart is an inspiration!
April 12, 2014 at 11:58 am
You’ve have put words to what a caregivers heart is all about. Thank you.
April 14, 2014 at 7:57 am
Grab all those moments that you can. Mom’s to-do list still had some items on it when she abandoned her little body, in spite of all my efforts – but at least I knew I’d done all I could.
April 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm
Thank you to all three of you for these lovely comments. A lot of friends have been commenting to me about how difficult things sound and I have been struggling to articular what is special and good about this experience.