ON WINGS OF EMOTIONS: THE BACK STORY
The month is early May. It’s 1:00 pm in the afternoon. Outside is nice and moderate with a gentle cool breeze in the air. I’m sitting in one of those plastic green lawn chairs on my front porch filling in crossword puzzles. On our block on the westside of town, it can get awfully peaceful and quiet. No screaming kids. No “hoopties” pacing up and down the street with loud music. Nobody mowing grass. Finally, I get a chance to just relax and recharge my batteries. Today had been one of mom’s better days. When I had left her bedroom , she had been resting comfortably. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Or could I?
In the dark recesses of my mind, …I’m crying. I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye with my finger. I slowly lowered my head as I briefly peered up at my neighbor’s house from across the street. I hoped no one had been watching. I began smiling as the whole scene made me feel a little embarrassed. Why was I crying? Hmm… I guess subconsciously I may have been lamenting about my poor old mom lying in that prison of a bed with all her life crippling maladies. When I thought about it, how could I feel happy or relaxed. My whole demeanor became more and more awash in deep sorrow. I tugged on the neck portion of my tee-shirt and wiped dry the corners of my eyes.
—Overhead a black crow loudly calls as it flies just over the top of the house. Its noisy cries jarred me back to reality. I then craned my head back towards the front screen door. Did I hear a noise from inside the house….? I imagined that it might be my mother. So, I quickly jump up from my chair, threw the crossword puzzle on the porch, and rushed back into the house to check on her. My pace had quickened; my heart was racing.
But, after I turned the corner and dashed into her bedroom, all had been quiet. I let out a big sigh of relief. Yep. She was resting comfortably. I guess I was just hearing things…again. No rest for the weary, I softly chuckled.
Yet, I didn’t walk back out the room. I just stood there, staring at her with this melancholy gaze. I wanted to touch her head and give her a light peck on the forehead. But I didn’t want to awaken her. She needed her rest. So I just continued to stand there…watching and softly crying, even more. Only this time I didn’t wipe away the tears. No one could see me. I kept saying to myself how unfair life can be. “Why her, God? Why?” She didn’t deserve this, I whispered to myself as I shook my head in empathy. I emitted a deep sigh.
The daily physical duties of a caregiver can be endless. Depending on your senior’s present situation at the time, you can log many miles trying to keep up with the demands of the day. Most often you will not even have time to do or think about much else for yourself. When taking on the challenges of an “end of life” senior at home, it’s all about the spiritual, the physical and the emotional.
Even though you are locked onto an emotional carousel of sorrow, empathy, anger, fear and self doubt, you can’t allow yourself the luxury of those emotions for too long. Spending too much time languishing on those feelings causes you to miss out on something more significant, something more precious that you might need to be focusing on at that moment. And that is gratitude and appreciation.
You see, amidst the pain and stark reality of your senior lying there so debilitated, you must not miss out on your moments of gratitude. Sure, your senior is not the way you want them to be. But, if you don’t learn how to fight through the sorrow, you will miss out on what you do have right there in front of you.
You should never miss out on those rare and golden opportunities to appreciate the good moments that you and your senior are sharing together.
When taking care of someone who is living with a host of illnesses in their body, things can get real ugly, real fast. Next thing you know, she could find herself back in the hospital. Your mom, once again, could be hooked up to medical tubes and being subjected to heavy handed Patient Care Techs jerking and shoving too roughly on her as schedules and time limits are the orders of the day.