Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Last year was different - Diary of a care giver

Thanksgiving last year was different.
I will welcome the noise and crowd and the laughter now,
in contrast to the quiet that we had last year with mom, Debi and I.
When it was clear that mom could not travel and that a large gathering here would not be a good idea we ( I guess it was me)  decided to let it go. Some things have to be let go, when they no longer are feasible.
Thankfully these things become evident, plain, easy to discern over time.  I can not account for the increase in wisdom regarding mom except to say that it was a gift from God, for that time, coupled with a long period of observation and inquiry.  The gift came in many beautifully wrapped packages, helpful people, books, visits, and random thoughts in the late night or early morning hours. I am glad for a good brain and vow to keep it alive as long as I can, in the same way that mom did. She fought against aging and the loss of some of her memory. I fought it too, with supplements and diet that were healthy, with new experiences that she could enjoy, and by letting as many old friend visitors come by as possible, not worrying if mom would recall their names, she always remembered their faces and the voices. 

We made a small dinner last Thanksgiving, but we enjoyed it much. We were thankful that in August we had camped at the beach in Ventura, that mom had gone sailing with me on my 55th birthday in her 91st summer!  The next month we took her to a local campground and enjoyed the sounds of the wind in the pines, the amazing views as we rode the chair lift to the summit and ate lunch. Floating through the trees on the way back down we had views of our beautiful valley and sparkling blue lake that were priceless.  We had each other, we had the day, the moment. it was enough.
     The challenges to come were yet unrevealed, but all knew that the caring would get us through, that the loving was glue enough to help us to accomplish what we needed, or on days when it was just about waiting, that we could wait in faith, with hope for it was not the end which was near, but a new beginning. A new beginning for mom, to be sure, but also a change of great proportion for all of us in the family and circle of friends. We had to begin again, finding out who we were now, that mom was beyond our reach, our care. No longer would we bend to hug her, but would we do the same for another?  We did not have to strain to understand what she wanted, could we do that for a clear spoken friend or brother?  I did not have to slow my pace to match hers on the walks up the street, but I will need to find a pace that matches whomever I am walking with, for I do not want, always, to walk alone.


Amrita said...

Reflecting back on the time spent with Mom is so precious - you have expressed it beautifully. You were a faithful and strong caregiver David. She had so many meaningful and enjoyable times and you were sensitive to her needs and limitations

Have a blessed Thanksgiving

Judyblueyez said...

Beautifully written as always, David ................ hugs ...............

Beth said...

Very thoughtful recollection and just reading it evokes a very peaceful ending to a very special woman in your life.