• U - Unaware

    U is for Unaware

    #AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


    When my mom mentally began to fail in her late 70s, I was unaware of what was ahead.  I was unaware of exactly how much energy if would take of me to be her caregiver.  I was unaware that I would have to break promises I made to her regarding nursing home care.  I was unaware that as her brain failed her, I would find myself at times short of patience.  I was unaware of the total sacrifice of my personal health and emotional well-being I would have to make to care for her until her last breath.

    I was unaware of so much.

    What I did know was that I could not turn away, put her care in the hands of someone else at the first sign of problems ... not until I tried, until I had no choice.

    Mom lived with me for 5 years and then 3 years in Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care.  At our first family meeting with the facility's disciplines of Nursing, Social Service and Life Enrichment, I marveled on how giving, caring, patient and engaging the staff was with my mom.  There was never a harsh or impatient word with her or any of the residents (and I visit a lot and watched a lot.)   I commented that I understood very intimately how hard this elder care was - because I had walked in their shoes for 5 long years.  I will never forget the Social Worker's response to my observation ... "Well, of course, we can do this well.  There are many of us and we work 8 hour shifts.  There was only one of you, and you worked 24/7."  I struggled to keep from tearing up in front of this stranger.  She was aware of the price I paid every single day - she knew very well the sacrifice that was needed.  For the first time in 5 years I felt understood.  Until that moment, rightly or wrongly, I felt I was surrounded by people who were unaware of what I gave of myself for my mom.

    I believe that all caregivers who take on this vocation are unaware at some level and underestimate the personal expense it will demand.  It was an isolating life, and it is truly a 'marathon' with no finish line.

    It has been 12 years since I moved mom into my home.  When I think of that decision and how unaware I was of the effort I was taking on - I look back and think ... would I do it again?

    The answer is - yes!
    The other "choice" I could not live with.
    I have no regrets.

    Would I want my children to take on this effort - on my behalf?
    No.  Never.  And I have already told them so.
    I know the cost.
    Mothers protect their children.
    They are unaware.



     





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