Thursday, June 18, 2015

She's Old But I'm Petrified.

     We arrived home with mom yesterday evening. We spent the previous week sorting through her home, deciding what to bring and what to leave behind. The scope of what we accomplished and the magnitude of what lies before us is overwhelming. I had the most disconcerting feeling when we returned home last night. I looked around my house and it looked completely different to me. Nothing inside my house had changed, but my perspective had changed. It was akin to that feeling I had when I returned home with our first new baby. I remember my home (and the whole world) looked different to me that day solely because of the responsibility I was carrying. I knew that my life would never be the same again because I would share my home, my sink, my table, my everything, with a new person. It had altered the way I viewed my world. Bringing mom home is that same feeling.
     Although I had thought about the prospect of bringing mom to live with us for years now, it actually happened very quickly. Two weeks ago we had a different plan in place and suddenly it all changed. It's a good thing I had pondered this scenario before because it helped put things into swift action once we found ourselves in a time crunch to get it all done. But what I didn't foresee was the inner panic I feel. This caught me off guard. I am numb and almost paralyzed with where to turn next. I think I'm in shock and my inner self is screaming, "What have I done?!" It had always been about getting mom here, never about what to do once she was actually here! What do I do with her now? Haha! The biggest challenge that I need to face is that I need to slow myself down by about 850%. A ninety-three year old's movements......and speech....are very......very.....slow. For example; in the time it takes mom to put on her socks, I will wash the breakfast dishes, throw in a load of laundry, check my email, and take the dog out to do his business. I kid you not.
     So far this is what I know: she smiles at seeing Henri-the-Schnoodle but does not want him on her lap, she heartily eats everything I prepare for her, she sleeps all night plus takes three to four naps a day, she has an obsession with taking her prescriptions and carries the bottles from room to room so she won't forget to take them, she sits by the phone waiting for my sister to call, she misses her home a lot, sometimes she gets mad at her walker and pushes it aside, she loves Tess to play the piano for her, and she can't wait for her newest great grandbaby to visit.
     When my mind fills with doubt about my ability to do this, I only need to recall seeing her telephone when I arrived at her house last week. This horrible vision is forever burned into my mind. I apologize for the graphic image. I want to make the point that we should never forget the suffering of the elderly and the silence that often encompasses that suffering.

I'm not sure which appalls me more, the fact that there is blood on the phone signaling her call for help, or that her only caregiver never cleaned it off, two weeks after the incident.


  1. Oh dear Lee - I'll pray for you. And I can so relate - my mom moved very slowly, too. I'd walk up the hall with her at the ALF and it would take 10 minutes. I imagine you will settle into life with her once the newness of it all settles down. My hat is off to you for doing this, my friend. Does this mean you won't go back to work at the school in the fall?

    The prescription pills - my mom and dad used to sit at the kitchen table on Monday morning and sort their pills into those pill organizer things that are labeled by day of the week. They also had AM and PM versions.

    Yes - the elderly do often suffer - so sad to think of that. So scary to think of your mom having to call for help like that.

    Keep us posted - sounds as if you'll still have some time for gardening, reading and such with all the napping!

  2. It is hard to see an elderly parent who wants to remain independent but really cannot live on their iwn anymore. I can understand your feelings of fear and panic. My mother passed away this past Dec at age 92 in her own home and ai miss her every day. I hope your mom adjusts in time to her new reality and that you will feel more at ease as well.

  3. Scary and she's blessed to have you. Glad to hear her eating and sleeping so well, that can be a comforting feeling, to see her rest up.

  4. Wow. Your feelings are palpable, and that image saddens me. I think you are glorifying God with this decision, this new living arrangement, but I know that glorifying him is often involves dying to self, and that is hard and brings panic. But I think it is absolutely wonderful that your mother can hear her granddaughter play the piano and is anticipating meeting the newest baby.