A Pearl of Wisdom for a Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming this Sunday.  It’s a great celebration of life!  It doesn’t matter how we came to our relationship we call “Mom”.  We could have been born to our Moms, or adopted, or someone who nurtured us through out our lives.  Our relationships with these special ladies has helped form us into the people we are today.

Most of you who are coming to this website, are involved in elder care, or you are an elderly person.  One thing we all have in common is, we’ve have a Mom.

When we care for our elderly Moms we often move into a role reversal situation.  The mothers who nurtured and cared for us have switched places with us.  Now we are nurturing and caring for them in the winter season of their lives.

When I was thrust into the care giving role, many times I felt overwhelmed.  I didn’t have any training in this area.  It was difficult.

My Mom has always been a difficult person because of her self professed “in your face kinda gal”.  Please don’t misunderstand, she has a very loving side to her, in spite of the drastic mood swings.  Her moods would cycle about every two weeks, even though, she could go from loving to hateful in 1.6 seconds!

When she started with her dementia, her mood swings happened much faster.  It made caring for her more difficult as her dementia progressed.  There were many days when every thing I did wasn’t enough.  I spent many hours angry, sad, guilty, and confused.  On those days, I felt my elder care responsibilities would never end.

My relationship with Mom became very toxic.  It took a toll on my health.  Both of my parents developed dementia.  Their dementia became so pervasive it was soon impossible for Mom and Dad to stay in their home.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to take them into my home.  My health and my relationship with my husband would suffer too much.

I was blessed with an opportunity to move them into a wonderful facility.  The only draw back is, it’s an hour away.  Did I feel guilty?  Yes, in the beginning I felt like I had failed them.  They’d wanted to stay in their home until they died.  I was taking them out of the home they’d loved for over 46 years.

Mom was always a home body.  She had been mostly home bound for the past 5 years.  She enjoyed raising her plants, and she had her little dog.  Socially, she had become almost agoraphobic, only leaving the house for doctor’s appointments.

I was concerned about moving her to a care facility.  I thought she would hate it.  Was I ever surprised!  She loves it.  She calls her half of the room she lives in her “apartment”.  It is decorated with her two most favorite pictures on the wall.  She has some of her plants around the window.  It is small, but cozy.  The only thing missing is her dog.

She loves the people who work there.  She calls them her “secretaries”.  They have been taking very good care of her and I am relieved to see it every time I visit.

Recently, she had a gallbladder attack and had to be moved to the hospital for its removal.  My daughter, my husband, and I went up to be with her.  Her dementia has progressed to the point she didn’t recognize my daughter right away.

I was able to help her take sips of her water, and eat some jello.  I held her hand and answered her same questions over and over again.  The past difficulties seemed to fade away.  There in the hospital bed lay the woman I love so much.  Sweet and loving.  I knew right then, I’ll miss her so much when she gone.

I enjoy going to see her.  She is, now, rarely critical.  She is happy to see me.  She can’t remember when I was last there.  It could have been months, or yesterday.  It’s all the same to her.  She always enjoys the flowers I bring and our talks.  Those talks are peppered with the same questions over and over.  Even that has a comfort to it.  I have found peace in my relationship with her.

I haven’t any great pointers for you today.  I only have one pearl of wisdom. Whether you have a loving relationship with your Mom or an adversarial one.  It doesn’t matter if she is still here on earth or she has passed on, try to find your peace with her.

If she is still living, someday, she won’t be.  I heard a wise quote once, and I can’t locate it to give it to you accurately, but it says, “no matter what your relationship is with your mother, you’ll miss her when she is gone.”  Let go of the past transgressions.  Replace it with the loving moments.  We are the ones who chose the memories we remember.

Enjoy her this Sunday….and every time you can.  When she is gone, make sure all you have is memories of her love.

Mother’s Day was invented to be a celebration of love, for the ladies who nurture us.  Time is a river that will not stop.  We’re unable to hinder it’s process.  We should make the most of it!

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