Being Thankful

modern-christmas-tree-with-lights-mdI was going to write about how hard it has been, even with help, to take care of Mom since she arrived home. I was going to write about the fact that my stress levels are so high between juggling caregivers, nurses, physical therapy, occupational therapy, doctors appointments, EMT transportation, hoyer lifts, wheelchairs, bedpans and catheters that I have had heart palpitations. Instead I will write about the stuff of the season… love, family, understanding and forgiveness.

I decided to forgive myself. This Christmas is not and will not be like last year. When your loved one comes home after nine weeks and cannot walk or stand, you have to let some things go because you can’t do everything and survive. So I am forgiving myself for not decorating the lovely fraser fir with beautiful white lights glowing in the corner of the living room right now. It is perfect. The stockings will not be filled with little silly gifts this year. My choice, I choose not to stress about stockings, but to enjoy the time I still have with Mom.

I am so grateful for my husband, who has had his house invaded by his mother-in-law for over three years and when watching me handle this, continues to affirm my decisions big and small and encourages me to “let go” of trying to be the “perfect daughter, wife and mother” and only do what I can, not what in my mind I think I should be able to do. Just today, the man who every year wheedles, cajoles or bribes either myself or our children to wrap his Christmas presents (even the ones to ourselves!), quietly wrapped, put bows, ribbons and tags on all the presents I have managed to order and placed them under the tree. That is what love and understanding are all about.

I am thankful that I have fallen accidentally into hiring an agency that has sent two wonderful women to help take care of Mom. Each not only taking care of her, but also being proactive about helping me as much as her. One especially takes care to do things with Mom as I am trying to prepare for Christmas. They even helped her write and address her Christmas cards and wrap her presents.

Both of our children will be home for Christmas. So many families cannot say that. We will have our new tradition that we started a few years ago: Christmas Eve tree decorating. Which was going to be a family affair, and turned into a family watching Mom decorate the tree. So it is now really Christmas Eve together. We make taco dip, drink wine and beer and watch our version of Christmas movies: Scrooged, Bad Santa and The Ice Harvest. Weird I know, but I tried White Christmas on them one year and was booed out of the room! Number 1 Son will fall asleep on the floor, Hubby will wander off to bed and Number 1 Daughter and I will fall asleep on the couch and recliner respectively.

As crazy and yes, terrifying, as it has been for the last week, I still can count my blessings. I get to be with my hubby of 43 years, my mom, my two kids and a cat and a parrot for Christmas. I have friends who understand and support me and are fiercely protective of me and I am lucky enough to have caregivers who can help me with Mom. Sometimes I just have to step back from the craziness and remind myself to be thankful. To be thankful for forgiveness, understanding, my family and most of all love.

My wish for all of you this Christmas Holiday Season is that you will find forgiveness for yourself in your caregiving journey; understanding from friends and relatives; support from your family and most of all love.

Avatar of Thedogmama

About Thedogmama

Hi, I am a retired only child who, after several years taking care of my parents in another state long distance am now the caregiver to my 94 year old mother. Mom lives with us now and has two of our upstairs bedrooms as her "little apartment". She has extensive osteoarthritis, COPD, CHF and pulmonary hypertension. In the three years she has been living with me she has endured more pain than anyone should have to handle. Because of the arthritis she has had the head of her humerus in her right arm removed to alleviate pain and internal bleeding. It was not reconstructed. This year she fractured her pelvis and the head of the femur fractured off her left leg. The repair of the femur was successful, but her pelvis is deteriorating and cannot support her weight. She is now confined to a wheelchair and her bed. I live in Massachusetts with my Hubby and Mom's cat Molly and our African Grey Parrot Penelope. We have two adult children who adore their grandmother and live about an hour away.

3 thoughts on “Being Thankful

  1. Avatar of Gail KrollGail Kroll

    Dearest TDM, Your post makes me tear up! I had an especially difficult day yesterday alone with Mom and a very difficult discussion with my younger sister on the phone. She demands so much of me and makes me so anxious about not doing enough to be a good daughter to Mom and not a good caretaker. I appreciated the love your blog sent to me! Yes! This is what Christmas is all about! And? Even though my younger sister and her family are coming for Christmas? I made an appointment for us to see Mom’s PCP so she can complain to Mom’s PCP how bad a job I am doing! Hopefully Mom’s PCP will stand up for me and I think she will! With love, TDM!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you! Gail xo

  2. Avatar of PegiPegi

    TDM I just love this post! Everything about it. You forgiving yourself for not being superwoman to all you are thankful for. Wishing you and yours a Merry and Blessed Christmas.

  3. Avatar of ejourneysejourneys

    Beautiful post, TDM! I agree with Gail and Pegi — Love is the bottom line. I am very happy that the agency sent two wonderful women, that your husband did all that wrapping, and that you have found ways to truly enjoy the holiday. Forgiving yourself and decreasing your stress are gifts in and of themselves. Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and New Year. (((Hugs)))


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