Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Own Best Friend

All jobs are difficult and everyone has problems in them from time to time. We dont constantly talk of the problems because who wants to listen. Everyone has their own dilemmas and life challenges to get through.

Caring for your elderly parent really should not be called a job however at times I do refer to it as one. When people I just meet ask so "what do you do?" my reply is I am home with my mom. She will be 92 in January and I stopped working a year ago to spend more time and to motivate her day.

I know myself that this is not the most exciting job on the universe. I believe my rewards will come through memories later on. For now I believe only another caregiver could understand the impact of the job. We tend to keep our sadness or complaints to ourselves more than others as there are some that look down if you complain about the frustrations of an elderly parent or a sick spouse. You made a vow after all for better or worse, and I hear all the time, how bad can it be, she is so cute and she did take care of you afterall.

I have to learn to be my own best friend. I have to learn that it is ok to at times feel frustrated, sad, lonely and emotional. I tend to express that everying is fine when asked versus saying it does get lonely here sometimes.

Its not all glum however. It truly isnt! Mom and I have afternoons of laughter lots of the time, she taught me to be more organized as her eyesight is so bad and when things are in order she just finds them easier. She taught me compassion as I myself will one day be her and will want to be treated with dignity. She teaches me patience and she is always telling me I need to talk lower. Lately surprisingly she actually finds me funny. She never liked my sense of humor but all of a sudden she is laughing more at things I say.

We all want to feel loved and needed and important in some way. You dont get raises, bonuses, sick days, vacations and weekends pretty much are the same as Monday to us. However when Mom compliments my cooking to someone on the phone with phrases like you always get a good meal in this place or when she says Im very fortunate, I have a very good daughter it makes it all worthwhile.

Its not always easy and on the days it isnt I have to be my own best girlfriend and tell her its ok...its hard...but keep telling her your doing a great job. And keep that sense of humor girlfriend. I have to program these thoughts into my brain on those days. If a sad or emotional friend called me on the phone I would have the words for her, so I deserve to tell them to myself as well.

When I see Mom in the recliner or out with her friends at the center somehow the sacrifices dont seem so bad. And she always remembers to call out for me to take a break from whatever I am doing at 3:00 to say its time for coffee Donna!!

These are the thoughts that will give me peace later on. I know this to be true as I have done this once before. You forget all the frustrations when there gone. You truly do. It is the good times that you will hold in your heart.

Be your own best friend and feel the painful times and know they are ok and embrace all the wonderful memories......


  1. Excellent piece as always New Yawker, love and miss ya!

  2. Very well written and insightful!

  3. Wow this is powerful. I need to take time out like you and look at my positives. I need to reread and soak in your words Donna and be lifted by them. Thank you for waking me up .........