Irony of Elder Care
The irony of elder care is the slower they go, the faster we have to move to keep up!
When I first came to live with mom, she was just starting to decline and I thought maybe I moved in a tad too soon.
But she had already lost her driver's license, was walking for groceries and calling rides for appointments so it was time.
It's almost four years now since I've been here and my duties have increased with the passing time as to where I'm pretty much doing everything that happens outside of her personal space. Her abilities decrease but my responsibilities increase.
As she slows down, I speed up and subtly add more on my plate. I see the next stage for her becoming just getting up, getting dressed, and personal hygiene. Her total environment beyond that, making sure everything beyond her body operates smoothly in order to maintain her comfort, is on me.
That she can still take care of her physical self as much as she does, is a blessing and I'm starting to see this situation as half-full!
She has macular degeneration and as her eyesight fails her world becomes smaller. If she goes shopping with me, she wants to just sit in the car and wait. She no longer wants to go to the funerals of the few friends she has left.
In fact, her home is becoming her world. Everything diminishes mentally and physically. It all just gets smaller and smaller,
less and less, until Poof! one day she will just disappear completely.
This is a rare experience to slowly witness an aging end-of-life. Most of us know only sudden or distant death and we just show up for the ceremony. When I first came to moms house four years ago, I was full of anger but just as she is slowly shifting, so am I. I now see her with compassion and kindness and actual awe at this whole process of aging.
My mom is pretty incredible.
I have been at odds with my mom my whole life and I never thought I would write those words in a million years. But there they are. So yes, she still drives me crazy, she's still stubborn, she still tells me what to do and how to do it, she still asks me a thousand times what day is it, but as her earthly spirit and essence decreases in front of my eyes, these things no longer matter.
What matters is that I'm here, conscious and aware, to witness and help with the transition of a person who lived 95 years on this planet and surely made mistakes, but gave her all to life and tried to do the best she could. And if we could all just do that in our own lives, we're doing pretty damn good.
So mom, I'm going to do my best to be here for you in your decline. And I hope I can keep up.