Tag Archives: self-reflection

We Begin Again

11147909214_ba04bda741_zDecember 1, 2012 marked the beginning of my role as full-time caregiver to my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.

It’s been a rough two years. My four kids are all at home. They were 13, 10, 8 and 4 when my mom moved in. I was a stay at home mom and a perpetual volunteer. We have an 1100 square foot house with three bedrooms and only one very tiny bathroom on the main floor.

I liked my life.

I love my mother and want to ensure she’s well taken care of. When the time came, we
brought her to live with us. It was the right thing to do. It was also the only option.

She doesn’t have any money. Neither do we, really. So placing her in a private pay facility at roughly $7,000 per month isn’t an option.

She doesn’t qualify for a nursing home through Medicaid because there’s nothing wrong with her that requires a nurse. An around-the-clock babysitter, yes, but a nurse, no.

She doesn’t qualify for in-home care because she doesn’t have enough medical expenses to get Medicaid to kick in anything there either.

I’m an only child. I have no family nearby. I’m it.

I really want to want to take care of my mother. She was my best friend most of my life and has done so much for me. But I’ll be honest: there are a lot of days when I resent the position I’ve been forced into to no end.

The vast majority of the time, she’s not my mother. My mother has slowly faded away. I’m caring for a woman who absolutely refuses to take a shower, wouldn’t change her clothes-ever-if I didn’t force it, insults me, shows almost no gratitude or appreciation for anything I do, requires me to keep a baby gate up at my kitchen door that I must hop over every time I want to go in or out, causes my boys to sleep in the basement, prevents us from being able to do whatever we want, whenever we want as a family, and the list goes on.

You see, everything in life is better when it’s our choice to do it. I’ve said that I’d like to think that even if we were very wealthy, it wouldn’t change anything and I would choose this. The truth is, I’ll never know.

Everything I just told you about the resentment I feel makes me feel incredibly guilty. Like I said, I want to want to do this. My mother deserves that from me. I’ve been praying that God would change my heart. My head knows all this “stuff” but it can’t make my heart feel any differently. But God can!

We’ve recently had a break from the care giving. Due to a fall, my mom has spent the last 8 weeks in a skilled nursing facility receiving physical therapy. Three things happened during that time.

The entire family got a much needed break.

God showed me why what I’m doing is absolutely the best thing for my mom and that money wouldn’t change that fact. You can read details of what led me to that decision here.

I had time to reflect on things we could be doing differently which might make her happier and allow us to enjoy this time a bit more.

11992665765_0cf109088b_zI brought her home this morning. And we begin again.

January 17, 2014 marks the new beginning of my role as full-time caregiver to my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.

My heart has changed. I’m thankful for this “do-over” of sorts, and pray for God’s guidance as we continue on the journey.

 

 

 

 

What about me?

As the mother of four, I witness first hand how my children are growing and changing almost daily. Their looks, their interests, their voices.

As the caregiver for my mom who has Alzheimer’s, I witness first hand how she is changing almost daily. Her communication, her fine and gross-motor skills, her cognition.

But I don’t necessarily see or take time to notice the changes in me on a daily basis or over time. Oh, I see the visible stuff. Changes in my weight (usually in the wrong direction). A new wrinkle here or there. Another gray hair. Photos, mirrors, the scale-they all reflect these changes back to me. These things I notice.

But I’m moving too fast to pay attention to the bigger changes in me and my life over time.

Yesterday, I happened to click over to my about page. I read a description of me that I wrote four years ago (based on the stated ages of my children and length of my marriage in that post).

about me

And I thought, “That doesn’t even sound like me anymore!”

So, it’s time for a new “About” page. One that reflects all the ways I’ve grown and changed over the past for years. Hopefully, for the better!

This has been a good exercise for me. To pause. To reflect on the past, acknowledge the changes and examine the present. To look to the future with a plan of what I want the next “About” page rendition to include.

Share with me! How have you evolved in recent years? What are your goals for future change?

 

Self-Reflection

Tomorrow’s my birthday. It’s not a milestone…42. Far enough past 40 to be dealin’ with it and not close enough to 50 to be frettin’… yet.

I’ve been thinking about my life and whether or not I’m where I thought I’d be at this point in my life.

I’m happy to report that by and large, I am.

When I was a little girl and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a mommy and a wife. That’s the order I listed them in, even though I believe whole-heartedly that the two should be achieved in the reverse order.

Check. And check.

I’m a mommy to four AMAZING children. (See Thursday’s post)

I’m a wife to an AMAZING man. (See the previous Thursday’s post) And, for the record, we were married 6 years before the mommy part happened.

The icing on the cake is that I’m a mostly stay-at-home mom. I substitute teach once in awhile, but since it’s really up to me whether or not I work on any given day, I don’t really count it as a job.

I have a cozy little house with a not-too-big mortgage.

I have good friends and a loving extended family.

I’m healthy. So is my family.

I have a strong faith in God which gets me through the tough times.

So if the birthday itself isn’t a milestone, what has brought on this reflective mood? The milestone that I am facing this year: My 20-year class reunion–from college. How in the heck did that happen? After all, I’m not old enough to have done anything 20 years ago, right?! That’s how I feel, anyway.

I have some work to do between now and October. I plan to go to the reunion. I do not plan to go 45 pounds heavier than I was when I left.

Wish me luck and while you’re at it, you can wish me a happy birthday, too!