From the Heart 5

Today’s story comes from the heart. It could be about anyone who is watching a parent go through a tough time.
There comes that cold and grey December day when you find yourself sitting in a hospital room across from the woman who gave you birth and are reminded once again about the temporary nature of life. A simple plate of food becomes a monumental challenge. The hands struggle to hold the fork and getting the food to cooperate is the most exasperating thing. These same hands once cut your food into small enough pieces for you to master. She encouraged you not to give up and promised that with time and practice, you would get better. But as you struggle, The spoon seems like a better choice. Then the fingers. Just don’t quit. You’re almost there.
After sixty three years of life, you now find yourself cutting the meatloaf into bites tiny enough to manage. The circle of life.
How will I be able to say goodbye? Then the sun shines through the dense grey clouds and she smiles at the warmth.  It only lasts a minute and then it’s gone. But it is a beautiful smile.
To anyone going through the struggle of watching a loved one in pain, I would only offer that there is always hope and always helping resources. Elsewhere on theleansubmariner, we have pages and links for caregivers and for seniors. I would encourage you to seek those resources if you need them.
I would also encourage you to be truthful to yourself at every stage of the journey. There is no sin in admitting that sometimes bad things happen. There is no shame in telling the caregivers that the person’s walk is much slower and unsteady. It’s even a good thing to reveal the subtle changes since many times those little changes are precursors to bigger things. If the doctors only get your overly optimistic and often unrealistic view of the person’s real issues, how can they ever help develop a coping strategy or a way to mitigate the destruction?
Denial is nothing more than delaying critical analysis and care. To me, that is at best selfish and at worst …
Live well.
Mister Mac

5 comments

  1. I agree with you wholehearted Mr. Mac. Another timely and informative article for US PRIME-timers (I’m 77)). Unfortunately life is unpredictable and we have to deal with it. Both my grandfathers were dead before I was born. One grandmother died when I was about 6, the other when I was about 12. My mother died while I was out of the country and couldn’t return in time for her funeral. My dad was living 100 miles away and I was visiting pretty regular several years before he died, and always told him “Bye, I Love You Dad” when I was leaving. Ten days before his 92nd birthday he got up that morning and while helping my step-mother make his bed, he fell over into the corner and was gone.
    I’ve moved to 2,500 miles to be closer to my only 2 grandchildren, 7 & 8 years old. I took my 8 year old grandson to the driving range just yesterday. I NOT ONLY WANT TO KNOW THEM, …., I WANT THEM TO KNOW ME !!!

  2. Yes, Mr. Mac. I had that experience with both my parents; first my Dad (colo-rectal cancer from Lynch Syndrome) and then my Mom with emphysema. Thankfully in both cases they were at home; some great nurses from hospice as well as my sister and I with experience in nursing. Still, it is hard to be clinical with someone you love; to see the spark go out as they finish their journey in this life. My prayers will be with your family and you as you go through this time. May God’s peace be ever yours.

  3. I was at the hospital yesterday. Four hours in the car and 4 hours at the hospital for my mother-in-law. I’ve been through this with my parents, but now my better-half (who has never lost anyone close) is going through it. Tough situation, especially during the holidays.

  4. as i am the caregiver for both my parents(Dad is 88, Mom is 85), in the home I was raised, witnessing the daily decline of abilities. I have prayer to get me through the day. I feel truly blessed to be here and assist them, as Our Lord has directed. Even from afar, your words and thoughts have kept me afloat. Thank you and Aloha Brother.

    • Thanks Mike. I have tried to look at her condition with two things in mind. Compassion for her and care that she still has a afe environment around her. I do not think the two are mutually exclusive.

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