Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a tender spot foiled

 I have decided to record here some of the stabbing issues that loving a person with dementia produces.

 The days of excitement we are accustomed to seeing when we visit my mother have come to an end.  She use to light up like a Christmas tree when we would visit, her eyes smiling with warmth, the delight in seeing me her daughter and her grandchildren could not be contained, it was genuine and flowed from her very essence.

Some things ending might be good, but this is not one of them.

 I have been ignoring this one, not willing to admit it because I keep thinking it will pass and perhaps there will be a return to the way it has always been. There is a definite passing, but just like the disease which has taken so much of her from us these past years, the realization of this particular kind of passing is very difficult to witness. This one wants to cling tightly like super glue. I feel myself wrenching it away. It doesn't help when we tell ourselves, "It's okay...she is not is understandable, a product of the disease". It is yet another level of her decline, and it deeply hurts in an area that has been assigned to her alone, for her special kind of love, in a place that only she can fill. A place that she has always filled in the past.

But here is the true heart wrench ...when an aide or nurse walks in, I see that look in her eyes for them. They have become her pride and joy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

tending to my garden

About two weeks ago I received a telephone call from Witt asking when I was planning on visiting Mother that day. I stopped by the tire store where he was having his tires rotated and picked him up on the way. Then three of my children and I spent over an hour together with Mother.  The lingering warm days allowed us to take her outside to the courtyard. It is quite an ordeal to get her from her bed to the wheelchair since she is no longer able to stand on her feet, but they have the niftiest equipment available to make it  possible.

We have spent many hours in this courtyard since my mother's arrival at this place. 
On this day I snipped back the languishing pansies. I find that I have several gardens to tend.

 Flexibility is the key.

Friday, November 11, 2011

the courtyard

Mother loves to go outside. One of the areas we take her to is the inner courtyard. It is surrounded by brick walls and windows. But the security and comfort there is real. The flowers, fountains, benches and tables provide a pleasant enviroment. "Playing" swings have not tempted us one little bit.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


 Nightgowns were lifted from the dryer smelling clean and fresh; the softness of the material radiated comfort. I have taken on the extra chore of doing my mother's laundry for the past couple of weeks. It was time. No where will one get the concentrated effort of laundry done correctly like it is done at home.

It has been just a little over a year since Daddy was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He went to the hospital one Sunday morning in late October and was never able to return to his home again. This past year has branded itself into every pathway of my life. From these experiences my soul has developed at times what seems like deep valleys and crests; shadows and peaks; but there are also spectacular views which can only be seen through the lens when you are behind the camera.

 Lately, I have experienced a sense of relief, an uplifting in my spirit. Some of the days of last year I might relish the thought of living over, then there are other days I would prefer to stay as far outside my line of consciousness as possible. There are things that I have not talked about in this space, and many things only briefly recorded in my personal journal. I have lived by His grace, through His grace and because of His grace.

But as my mother's nightgowns were tenderly folded I was faced again with the overwhelming truth of role reversals. The last time such mindful care was spent over nightclothes was with the tiny gowns and sleepers of my children when they were very young. Even the recall of Ivory Snow and Dreft was stirred this morning in the simple act of laundering my mother's clothes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

basketfuls gathered

 I visited mother by myself this afternoon. The children were taking a walk in the woods with the neighbors, vegetable soup was simmering on the stove at my house and the flour mixture was waiting for the biscuits I would make upon my return.

As usual mother would eat very little. If it was not for the high protein shakes she imbibes, her food intake would be extremely low.

I was driving home just when the sky was at its most glorious, streaked with the colors of cotton candy.
 "Thank you Lord" were the words that began my prayer. Tears swelled my eyelids and slid down my cheeks. "Thank you Lord for being able to visit the nursing home, for the nurses, the aides, the staff, and especially for the precious souls I get to see and touch every time I enter into that place."The rewards are very evident to me, my life is only richer. Seeing with the eyes He so graciously gives is a gift.

I read in the newspaper recently how the elderly are a heavy burden in our society, and those words gripped me.  It is not a burden to care for those you love, yes, it is most certainly a responsibility, but one with great yield. I arrive there every day sharing my few "loaves and fishes". But I seldom leave without the gatherings of full baskets.