Sit With Mom in Her World

Mom is edging toward the end of her life. She turns 96 in November. She was born in 1920, the year women in America were given the right to vote. This year she will be voting for a woman for president. She has lived a long, full life and has seen a lot of change. But these days Mom sits. She goes to bed early, she gets up late, she sits in front of the TV all day and mostly naps.

I live with her and have my home office in one of the bedrooms. I get up hours before her and exercise, have coffee, breakfast, so that by the time she gets up, I'm ready to go to work.

I say good morning, have some chit-chat, make her coffee, toast, put out her pills and disappear.

She sits.

At some point I come out to see what she wants for lunch. I quickly throw something together, place the tray on her lap, and disappear.

She sits.

When I'm done working for the day, I come out and take care of lists, the groceries, post office, bank, drug know the routine. In other words, I disappear.

She sits.

I come home from errands, get something together for dinner, we eat, I'm tired, I go into another room with my iPad to wind down. I disappear.

She sits.

When its time to go to bed, I round her up, lock up the house, we say goodnight, I disappear.
I realize that for all the time I spend keeping mom in the world, I never spend time in her world, with her, where she sits. There's a whole lot of quantity, but very little quality.

My world is so big, but hers is so small.

But I think I can fit in there with her.
If she were to die in the next year, I think I would look back and wish I had spent more quality time.

The quantity of time is a given. I am here for the duration. The quality of time is a gift.

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This Resonated With Me
by: Anonymous

Your story really resonated with me.
I lost my mother in July this year and between my sister and myself care for my Dad... until permanent residential care is available, his dementia has escalated to the point where we are adding very little to his life and he is detracting much from ours

I work from home also, my sister is my Dad's primary carer but I try to share the wear and have Dad several part days and weekends... today I "sat" with Dad while she ran some errands (the tyranny of dementia, he cannot be left alone even for half an hour) Only I DIDN'T "sit"...

I did EXACTLY what you describe; I made him a cup of tea and found "something" on TV (I have never had TV on in the day. While my Mum was alive Dad had very little daytime TV too. I don't know if it's a treat or if he even likes it, it keeps him stationary which leaves us "free" to do stuff so the television is our babysitter).

I then scooted into the study and did some work - keeping half an ear out for Dad "wandering", he fell down a step in my house when I was "watching" him last week, the guilt was terrible, as my sister said when I took him home. It was as if I was handing over a kid that had got hurt at one of my kid's birthday parties... "sorry, I just took my eye off him for a second" sort of scenario.

So I'm primed for it all the time now
I came out of my study and got him some lunch, he waddled off to the toilet, then back to the couch, I did some chores, laundry, etc.

Then it was back to work in the study, passing Dad obediently sitting on the couch watching TV I hadn't asked him if he wanted to watch, napping.

He woke as I passed him and asked "I'm not being a bother am I?" He can be quite cantankerous at times and this side of him was somehow more confronting; the same thought as you had came into my mind;

I don't share any time WITH him, we all basically babysit him. Engaging him in conversation IS difficult, as his "good" days are getting fewer and further apart, but I decided to just sit with him for a few minutes and we discussed the show he had been watching... he couldn't remember too much about it. He knew it was "American" (we're in Australia) and he thought it was clever (it was about Tiny Houses).

When my sister came back to pick him up, she asked him what he'd been up to, which we all do automatically every time we see him, and his answer almost made me weep. He said, I sat and had a chat with your sister.

He'd been at my house for four hours, I'd made him drinks and lunch, with cursory queries as to whether he'd like a cuppa etc, done my paid work (which I did have to do "solo") and done an hour's worth of chores, during which I could have "chatted" to Dad but didn't, sneaking glances at him to see if I could mop without him needing me, but the highlight of HIS day was apparently the five minutes I'd managed to make myself sit next to him and actually chat with him.

I had to go over to his house later today (Sis has moved in - at great personal inconvenience, so she's doing "her bit") - and as she and I chatted, primarily about Dad I snuck a glance at him and thought how left out he looked, and how old and lonely too.

He cries a lot for my Mum, they were married for 65 years and were "together" for almost 70 years, we have acknowledged the "big" things that he must miss about her, but until today I never thought a few minutes chatting would count as one of them.

I am determined to try to sit with him every day, even if it's only for five minutes; not counting the time I explain for the thousandth time why he needs professional care. Not counting the time I take explaining why a man who ran his own successful business for years can no longer be trusted with more than a few of his own dollars because he hides them away and then accuses any and everyone of stealing them.

But a few minutes when we "chat" about "stuff" that has nothing whatever to do with the situation we find ourselves in re his health or the steps we are taking to resolve it

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