Thursday, March 5, 2009

Circle of Life

Photo by http://www.ladybirdphoto.com/

This morning I walked into the living room and Chrissy was on the sofa reading her Bible. Growing up, more times than not, I recall her sitting on the end of the sofa with the end table lamp on, holding her Bible up close and reading. What a beautiful memory! I have been thinking lately about end of life struggles and the stage of life she is in due to this insidious disease, Alzheimers. It seems I often find myself parenting her, things like remembering to be nurturing with touch and voice tone, wondering if something is safe or not, making sure there is daily food prepared, and taking her out weekly for a ride and such. Now, let me be clear, there are times I drop the ball or fail miserably; however, it's my heart's desire to help care for her lovingly and without resentment.

I listen to my mother's childhood stories and she talks about her mother being too sick to care for the younger children. Responsibility landed on my mother at around eight or nine years old. Her education ended with the third grade in order to help take care of the family. My Aunt Maxine remembers mother cooking for the family when she was nine years old. She thinks of my mother as her mother. My aunt recalls a barn on the property with a tire swing; at nap time my mother would take her sister out to the barn and swing her to sleep and then carry her inside to bed. At eight or nine they recall mother washing the family laundry in a tub using a washboard. I never hear Chrissy complain about her childhood - and she tells some of the funniest stories. As I think of my mother's difficult childhood, I wonder who nurtured and encouraged her? At times she is much like a child these days. As exhausting and frustrating as caregiving can be, it truly is an honor to now parent my mother.

2 comments:

Oh Dear said...

WOW! I stuggle with those task in my 30s! I can not imagine and 8 or 9 year old today doing such things. Amazing.

valerie said...

Judy, I am intrigued by your mother sitting and reading her Bible. Gladys often sings old hymns and constantly calls on the name of Jesus.

Someone told me that people with Alzheimer's and dementia never forget their spiritual roots.

Valerie @ www.acaregiversjournal.com