Reflections

Aside

When I arrived at Mom’s last week, it was 94 degrees and had not rained in 2 weeks.  I felt like Sadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace.  I was cranky.  The grass was brown.  The fields were full of dusty, struggling cotton plants.  There was little shade around the house due to the loss of trees from Hurricane Dennis.  I wanted to be at home in the shade of North Georgia.  But, I was in Chumuckla and happy to see Mom and Kittye.

It rained the next day.  Mom and I did the happy dance.  The cotton plants were washed clean.  The grass turned green and I breathed in the sweet moist air of summers past.  I remembered the afternoons spent inside playing Monopoly with Kittye as the thunder rolled   through the woods, Mom looking out the window at the pines bending low with worry that one might fall on the house, and Daddy napping in his recliner after a morning of lifting hay bales and feeding the cows.  It has rained no less than four times since I have been here.  A lovely afternoon shower just ceased and a bunny hopped by the window at this very moment.  Blessings.

Yesterday, it stormed.  The wind blew the rain hard against the windows.  Mom and I were stuck inside all afternoon.  I dusted and danced to the Beatles. Mom laughed at my antics. When the dark clouds traveled on down the road, I rolled her out onto the driveway.  We went up and down breathing in the fresh air and feeling the cool breeze on our faces.  I rolled her through a couple of puddles.  Then, I noticed droplets of water hanging from the cedar tree.  They reflected the goodness around us.  I got my camera and took this picture.

When I framed the picture I noticed the reflection of the large oak tree near Aunt Myrtle and Uncle J. Lee’s house.  I remembered seeing Vic and Jim standing under that tree, relief from the sun and a break from tossing watermelons and cantaloupe.  Then, Mom and I got carried away looking at puddles.  Each had a strong tree that survived the storms though the last 50 years or more.

My good friend Becky called me last week.  She listened to my rants and shared a quote about joy that she thought she had gotten from one of her devotional books.  She is a rare female ordained Baptist minister who graduated from Mercer Theological Seminary when she was in her sixties. Today I received a card from her with the source of her quote.  Reflecting on our journey together, I chuckled when I read the article she taped into her card, the source of her quote.  It was from her horoscope on May 31st.  She is a Virgo.  It read “A task no longer brings you joy, and you’d just as soon not do it–but your high level of responsibility won’t allow you to bail, so you’re stuck.  Change your attitude and push through.  There’s joy to be wrung out of this yet.”  She wrote “Messages come in strange places sometimes!  I’m trying to pay attention always!”  It was the perfect message for me.

Caregiving  allows us time to reflect and there are many times we have to push through.  But there is always joy in unexpected places and times to be wrung out.  May those who read this be surprised by joy in unusual places.

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Mom Turns 90!

Aside

It has been 6 months since my last post.  Where did the time go?  Family and friends celebrated Mom’s birthday in Florida in December and my sister and I decided that Mom could no longer travel to Georgia.  Yin/yang. Glad/sad. Same/change.  Complimentary opposites. Balance.  The beginning of the transition left me feeling very unbalanced.  How was I going to participate in her care living 360 miles away?

After many sleepless nights, I decided to make the trip to Chumuckla every two weeks to stay with Mom for two weeks at a time. My sister and I partner in her care allowing her to stay in her home.  She moves in with Mom when I am not there.  Our husbands have been supportive of our efforts. I have been doing this for five months now.  Hospice came on board in January.  Kathy and Tracy give us strength as they treat Mom with care and respect.  Mom continues to enjoy daily rides, sitting outside and seeing those she loves.

I seem to be in a constant state of grieving on some level.  I grieve when I leave my husband and grandchildren in Georgia. I grieve when I leave Mom in Florida.  I adore all of my family.  I would walk on hot coals for any of them.  Sometimes, I feel like I am doing just that.  Will I be burned?  I am learning that love overcomes obstacles and many times turns them into blessings. So even when I feel the heat, I can watch beautiful sunsets over plowed fields.  I can visit with my sister, her husband, my nephews and niece, cousins and old friends.  I can watch a full moon rise to fill the sky and land with light in the darkness.  I can buy the freshest of vegetables from Salter’s Farm Market.  I can see Mom smile and hold her hand.  I can go home to Georgia to the love of my life.

Caregiving poses many challenges.  Deciding where a person should be cared for is complicated.  And, if they are in their home, who will help provide the care?  It can get very stressful having a loved one who is unable to care for themselves, whether you are involved directly in their care or not.  I am grateful to be able to share in Mom’s care with my sister.  I can’t imagine trying to do it alone.