Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sometimes you need a kick in the....

Feeling a little weary this morning, I pulled out my trusty Bible for some inspiration. I initially thought of two well-loved verses on the subject:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest..." Matthew 11:28

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up..." Galatians 6:9

The next logical step was to look up "weary" in the online concordance, where I fully anticipated reading additional words of comfort and encouragement as I start my day. I probably should have filtered the search to start in the New Testament, but I didn't. Hmmm...maybe that was part of God's plan. Here's the very first verse I saw:

"When you were weary and worn out, they met you on your journey and cut off all who were lagging behind..." Deuteronomy 25:18

Well! How's that for encouraging?! It certainly got my attention! Guess I won't need that second (or third) cup of coffee this morning! But (surprise!) I found great inspiration here. First, I just have to smile when I see a verse that is so different from what I was expecting. A little jolt here and there is a good thing. I picture someone who should be walking with a group, but in their fatigue just want to sit and rest a bit before they catch back up to the others [cue scary movie music, please]. They hear these words and miraculously find a sudden boost of adrenaline as they spring to rejoin the group in near-record time!

On a more serious note, I realize that weariness drags you down. Just so you know, my point is not to have a discourse on this verse in Deuteronomy - you can study it out on your own and have your own discourse if you so desire. But in it's basic context, we see that those who grew weary also became vulnerable. Growing weary needs to be taken seriously; do whatever you need to get un-weary. Whether it is praying, reading your Bible, talking with a friend, doing something fun (or if you are like me, all the above), don't let yourself stay in a weary state.

Yes, we need encouragement and inspiration. I love that God (and my friends) understand me and show me grace and kindness on a daily basis. But sometimes...just sometimes...we just need a little kick to catch back up to the group.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Orient: it's not just the Far East

One of the hardest things for me in being a caretaker is being patient with Mom. I pray for patience on a daily basis and I know God hears me...

One morning I had to get up very early...way too early...while the entire house was still dark early. Since this is not my usual and customary pattern, I bungled my way toward the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Thankfully we own of one of the greatest inventions known to man - the programable coffee pot, which conveniently has my "cup o joe" waiting for me each morning (so long as I remember to program it - or put the coffee carafe in place *gasp* the night before) Not wanting to needlessly awaken anyone, I opted to leave the lights off as I slowly stumbled along my way. Now I've lived in this house for 10 years, so finding the kitchen should be easy, even with no illumination. But as I got to what I knew was the kitchen wall, I couldn't find the kitchen light switch! Strange. Where did it go? It was there yesterday. I felt along the wall - not there... I felt higher along the wall - no, not there... I felt lower - not there either. I KNEW I was at the kitchen wall. "The light switch MUST be here", my barely functioning mind said. So as I stretched to reach further along the wall ("just a little farther now") I found myself falling into the our living room, landing on an end table and in a state of total confusion. [Our home was built in the 1960's and has one of those "sunken living rooms". Is it too late to sue the architect for negligent design?] All the commotion brought my husband out, turning on a light to check on me. Turns out that in my disoriented state, I stopped 5 feet short of the kitchen wall and was only at the living room wall, so that when I moved into what I thought was the kitchen, I actually fell into the sunken living room. Fortunately, my pride was the only thing really hurt.

So what was my REAL problem? No, it wasn't that I forgot to put the coffee carafe place in place - not this time, anyway. My problem was that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get my disoriented mind to orient itself!

I share this story because it was one of those lightbulb moments for me. I realized that this must be how my mom feels most of the time! No matter how hard she tries, she can not make her disoriented mind orient itself. And she is lives in hurt and frustration because of this.

"A patient man has great understanding..." (Proverbs 14.29)

I still pray for patience, but I find that if I have understanding, it is not as hard to be patient. I try to remember that Mom does the best she can. Her mind simply doesn't work like it once did. And while I wish that it did, she wishes it even more.

So now I try harder to really understand, not just my mom, but others. What are their feelings? thoughts? motives? It is far too easy to see someone's actions and simply react - and usually in a way you regret! It is much harder - but beneficial - to understand.

Friday, April 16, 2010

not one to bloviate

Thought for the day: balance is overrated.

You can hardly pick up a magazine without reading admonitions for balance in our lives. There's a myriad of articles espousing the need for parity between work/play, children/spouse, family/friends, others/self, to name a few. Now honestly, where is this elusive balance supposed to be found?

It has been 2 months since my last blog posting. And why is that, you ask? Does this mean that caretaking nirvana has been achieved? That I simply do not need to "blog" anymore? Call Oprah! Call Dr. Phil! Alas....that is not the reason. In search of this balance, I've erroneously thought that if I simply focus on other things and sort of ignore "it", caretaking would find it's rightful, harmonious place in my life. How wrong was I!

I find caretaking permeates everything. Everything. Unless I am away - like far away, like out of town away - I always feel the responsibility. And in my heart of hearts, I still have not come to terms with this. While I have my shining moments of exemplary service(okay, some, at least in my mind) it is a daily struggle to "do it all". Mom is one person, one aspect of responsibility if you will. But she seems to require far more than her alloted percentage of my thoughts, time and energy - at least as defined by me!

So my ongoing personal quest is to look for each day to have it's own balance, as defined by God (not me); to trust that God will help me meet Mom's needs while not missing out (or neglecting) other people and aspects of life.

And what's this about bloviate? I just liked the word! At first glance, I thought it was a cow-related word. (Bloviate/Boviate/Bovine - see the similarity?) But the definition of bloviate is to speak or write in a pompous manner. Well, I'm certainly not one to bloviate!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

some days are just good...

Some days are just good. My heart is full of gratitude that my mom is still with me, and that God has given me the opportunity and means to be with her in her twilight years. On these days, I am reminded of Mom's amazing qualities. In spite of her difficulties, she is kind, gentle, and extremely trusting of us. I have much for which to be grateful.

Some days are just sad. Like the day that I took Mom with me to my knitting class (knitting is my latest attempt at having some sense of normalcy). Mom dozed most of time we were there - fine by me - but one of the women in the class sees Mom and decides it is appropriate to talk on - and on - about how her 86 year old mother is doing "just awesome" - living in a wonderful retirement center, meeting with her friends, going places, having fun, blah, blah, and blah.

Well, my mother will never be doing "just awesome" in this way, and I'm all too often reminded of this.

My father passed away at the young age of 65. He will forever be young in my heart and memories. My last memories of Dad, even though he was limited by bad health later in life, are those of heart-felt discussions and fun activities. One of my favorites is from a day just a few weeks before Dad died. He was driving my then 2 year old daughter around the acreage in a go kart - Elizabeth with her head back, laughing and giggling and Dad with an impish grin, knowing that really wasn't a doctor-sanctioned activity. What a great time they had together! What a great memory for me.

Mom is now 86, and there are times I find myself longing for the mother who used to be - capable, responsible, vibrant. And I dream of how it "should be" now...like it was with my Dad. Only there are no "should be's". There is only what is.

And some days are sad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

6 weeks since my last entry....

Wow! It's been a long time since I last wrote in my blog. Naturally, there are several reasons for this. First, after feeling rather discouraged (see the previous blog entry...no, better yet, ignore the previous entry), I thought it might be beneficial if I didn't focus so much on being a caregiver (I was careening out of control...going down hill fast!) Second, and more significant, is that a very special friend of ours was very ill. Martin was one of my son's best friends, and his family is like family to us. Martin fought a valiant battle with cancer for 2 years and passed away in December. Rather than blogging (or more accurately, ruminating about my problems) time was much better spent with Martin and his family. The memories from those weeks are treasures in my heart.

So after this brief hiatus, I've made some new goals. With it being a new year, this seemed appropriate. Here goes:

(1) Blog drafts. No, this is not a description of windy effects from too much blogging. I'm referring to all the ideas started, but sadly, unfinished, of topics for my blog. I'm going to finish these!

(2) Blog frequency. And no, this is not referring to radioactivity or other such silliness. I'm going to post entries to my blog more often! You will no longer have to suffer from the anxiety of waiting so long for The Accidental Caregiver updates! Amidst the shouts of joy I can hear now from my reading audience, I must point out that I can fulfill this goal simply by writing more frequently than every 6 weeks, but hey!

And the true reason for these goals you ask? Why,how can I expect to get that book and movie deal with only 5 entries??!