Search This Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My first post!

Hello! I would enjoy helping my late Mom with her own blog (Old? Who? Me?) while I was her caregiver for nearly two years. She would stay up late at night and write just about anything that caught her fancy that day. Then, she would check it for replies first thing in the morning and throughout the next day with excitement, and she was only 85!  Sometimes I would have to be her helper with adding pictures as that would turn into a fiasco on blogger with texts going all out of synch, sometimes me getting so frustrated, that I would leave the room in disgust. My sister who has her own blog would help behind the scenes too from 1800 miles away. 

Occasionally, Mom would yell at the top of her lungs from upstairs for me to come up from the family room, and help her with some picture. Finally it would work, she would hit "publish" and she would be pleased.

It was like "SHAKE and BAKE... and I HELPED!!!"

She wrote her last blog on Sept. 19th, when I drove her to Mayo Clinic, where she died of an abscess in her colon that was missed by six incompetent doctors here in Wisconsin for three months. They tried everything they could to save her, but she was too septic by then. My brother and sister and I were with her in her final moments; It was heartbreaking, yet beautiful.

Into the Sandwich Generation (only I am single!) I entered when I packed up and moved home from Colorado to help my parents when they were in need of someone being here. Dad was in a rest home dying of Alzheimer's, and Mom was wiped out from taking care of him all these years and she had health problems day to day like COPD, intestinal issues, gout, drug reactions or a disease of the week.

Would you believe that when the Mayflower moving van finished up and started driving cell rang, and  I was offered a full time position at a law firm I had just interviewed at? I laughed, and then told the lady the moving van just left with my stuff! So I turned it down because I had a new job- caregiver. When I first arrived home and the moving van unpacked my belongings, Mom hugged me and broke into tears "I am so glad you are home because I cannot do this anymore!"

I didn't know what a gift it would be for me to be given the last years of their lives to be with them. I cashed in two 401K accounts to pay my own expenses like car payment, insurance, and the moving expenses of contents and car. Mom wouldn't let me pay rent, since I was out of work for a while and was helping her vs her hiring people to come in to take care of the house, her and the yard. (It would have broken the bank if she had gone into assisted living, or had people come in.) We got a long fairly well, but there were some moments of me feeling like I was 14 with the paper route again with a nagging Mother returning to that relationship sometimes.

I have no regrets; I am glad I could be here to be needed. I got good at running the Hoover Convertible, dusting, mopping, mowing the yard, making dinner, doing laundry, making up beds, running her drinks & pills upstairs for the night, helping her get a therapy dog, tending the garden, cleaning house, getting her to the lake, helping her every other day with being sick, going to the doctor, going to the pharmacy, keeping her going after Dad died with her grief, dog running away, or some crisis. (She did have some good days, but they were rare.)  No regrets!

So, here I am starting over again after burying two parents in one year. It is not easy with the grief and waves of tears that hit sometimes. I am still living in Mom's house; she willed me the home to stay here for six months to get my life back to decide what to do. It is not easy living with memories, the furniture, the beds and things of their lives as if they were still here, and the house is waiting for them to walk through the door at any moment.  And, yet I am here trying to move forward.

I realize Mom and Dad have "moved on" to heaven, and I need to move on too with my life. Nobody is going to do it for me. I have to take care of "me" as the weary caregiver.

Today I made a list of four options. One option is staying here and finding a new place for Mom's dog and I and keep my job here part time when there is none in Colorado.  Other options are going to seminary in  Chicago with debt of $30K in loans; another is returning to Colorado with no job with the dog and rooming with friends. I don't know where to start. I have till March 25th to decide what direction I am going to take. Three months left.

This year, I put up a real tree for Christmas one last time here in honor of my parents. I placed their bulbs with their names on each on the top of tree, near the angel, and heaven. Had a party with several friends over with caroling with me on the piano, and watching the Packer's lose. Didn't cry in church on Christmas Eve with the grief either last week.

Perhaps I am slowly recovering from the loss of parents with grief?  Perhaps I am in the acceptance stage this week? (I worry about my siblings and their grief, which is different than mine.)  Perhaps I am feeling like I am coming out of the fog to move on with my life. Who knows?  Until the next blog...