CAREGIVING IS MORE THAN JUST A TITLE
PART 2 OF THE CAREGIVER SERIES “HOW WE GOT HERE”
A CONTINUATION OF “THE BIRTH OF A CAREGIVER”
My last post I explained how I came to become my mom’s “caregiver”. Just because you take over the title of caregiver doesn’t mean you really are one. This is a lesson very hard learned. Actually, one that I continue to learn every single day. When I started to make arrangements to move my mother into my home I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I was devastated by just the mere thought that my mother had Alzheimer’s Disease. All I could think of over and over was that she would be forgetting everything. How long would it be before she forgot me? Face it, we have all seen those portrayals of an Alzheimer’s patient. The ones where they are in nursing homes screaming and yelling all the time. The ones where the patients start beating on people and accusing them of all kinds of stuff.
I had no idea what was going to happen. I just felt this desperation to stop whatever it was that was taking my mom away. I would wake up in a cold sweat night after night. I would sneak to the other end of the house and just sit outside her room waiting and listening to the sound of her breathing. I had no idea what I was waiting for. To wake up and it all had been a bad deam maybe. There had to be a way to stop this, cure this, anything…I would have sold my soul to the devil! This is the woman who held me through every betrayal, trauma and heartbreak I have ever had!
My mother and I have always had a very special relationship. I am an only daughter with four brothers. She and I have secrets that will never see the light of day. She has only let me down one time in my entire life and has spent HER lifetime trying to make it up to me. She who has been by my side no matter what, right or wrong. I have talked to her EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life either in person or on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, we both had our own lives. She worked and had friends and I married twice and had 2 of my children, she was just always a big part of my life. I lost my father so young and now mom too, I just couldn’t get a handle on it. I was so stuck in my grief, it was like quicksand and I was thrashing around sinking deeper and deeper with every decision I had to make. How would I ever survive without her?
I also grieved for what SHE was losing. She had a wonderful marriage to my father but she has been a widow for the last 29 years. She never dated again. Choosing one great love over many partial ones, as she puts it. She enjoyed her independence tremendously, a product of her strict upbringing and early marriage. She had sisters and friends that she traveled with frequently. She was an active mother and grandmother and she loved her life. It was to awful to even think that she
wouldn’t couldn’t be herself anymore. I would cry all the time. I couldn’t look at her for months without breaking into tears. It was like she had already passed away. I can’t imagine how I was making her feel. She knew she was having problems. She had just watched her sister pass away and she knew how bad she had gotten. I didn’t have the guts to say the A-word in front of her. I could say she forgot, but not that A-word. It was worse than any curse word I ‘d ever said. You see, we had given that word SO much power. We let it own her. She wasn’t Lizza, wife, widow, mother, grandmother or friend. She had become an Alzheimer patient.
It took me a while to figure that out. We spent months just waiting for the crazy to pop out at anytime. Like one of those Jack n’ the boxes that you wind up. Which would come out, regular mom or crazy mom. It turns out that she just became sadder mom. She became sullen, unhappy, complained all the time. But, looking back she had way to many changes way to fast! She had no clue where she was at. She had no clue where her belongings were at. She has never asked me for anything. She would rather die than to let her children know she needed something. So the ONE time… the ONLY time she needed me to save her…and I can’t.
Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy, and deal with the rest.
I love you momma!
PART 2 OF THE CAREGIVERS SERIES “HOW WE GOT HERE”.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 3!