Friday, October 15, 2010


When we were younger and I looked to the future and tried to make plans for various things Moms famous line was you cant make plans!!..That used to frustrate me so much. I always thought, and part of me still does feel, that comment was so negative. We have to plan for the future. We have to at times have things to look forward to.

Now that I am older I do understand what she meant. We can try to make plans with the hopes that they will go smoothly but life is incredibly unpredictable. There are so many things that just happen that are totally out of our control. We can try to tell God our plan but unfortunately he really is the one to decide if he is going to let our plans happen.

Caregivers most definately experience setbacks in their lives. We understand that sacrifice is rewarding but that doesnt always make the experience easy. We try to make plans but we really do put our lives on hold for the person for whom we are caring. We put our spouses on the back burner lots of the time, we put our interests aside sometimes.

I know lots of time when I try to make plans to escape for a while Im faced with a setback. It can be so terribly discouraging when you plan a fun afternoon away and something happens and you are unable to go. Setbacks!! frustrating!!

Again however we cannot predict everything in life. I must try to not let the setbacks deflate me. I must try hard to continue to find the sunshine when the cloud looms above. While its not acceptable to whine and complain it is fine to speak of the setbacks. The world may not understand your sadness however another caregiver will.

We dont get a lot of thank you's when our role is the main family member for the caregiver. While it may not have felt like a choice I know I chose this role. Im doing the best I can however once in a while it sure would be nice to leave this for a bit. I thank anyone that understands how hard this can be.

Most days are good. It is sometimes when I experience a setback that I feel sad. Knowing others feel this way helps me. I say thank you to all the caregivers out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!.....I now will try to begin a new day, I will expect the best, prepare for the worse, but try to celebrate through all......even the setbacks!!

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......