It's Not Just Any Ole Purple Flower; It's a Flower of Strength and Hope

CathyJ

It's Not Just Any Ole Purple Flower; It's a Flower of Strength and Hope

CathyJ


Yesterday, I found one small purple flower greeting Spring amidst the brown leaves from a very dry winter. I thought “What a sign of hope and strength” and it made me smile and feel so hope-filled. It made me think of my beautiful, fun, smart, strong mother.

This morning, I was thinking about how happy my life feels and how different it was a year ago and thinking about the differences. Last year, I was the brown and couldn’t see the hopeful purple flower. We were in the beginning of the formal diagnosis journey with my mom. I had taken her out of town to see her granddaughter compete in a state cheerleading tournament. I remember the 3-hour drive to the tournament and hearing mom tell these crazy stories that were not even close to reality. I remember getting to the hotel and being so relieved to see family to help me get her to the room and to share my concerns and the complete sadness and shock when mom sounded so normal and they cheerfully went on their way to shop. In the hotel room, mom’s blood pressured soared and the crazy stories continued. Later we met my family at a restaurant. When the waiter asked if she needed anything else, she sharply said “my dinner”. He had just cleared the empty plates. Still nobody seemed alarmed. We returned to the hotel room and I was alone again. More than physically alone. Emotionally alone. An hour after all the tasks of getting Mom to bed, I sat on the couch and cried silent tears and googled, “Why does my mom act normal with others and tell crazy stories with me?” God held me at that moment because the first thing that popped up was something from caregiving.com and caregiver stress and a story about “show timers” with dementia.

That was the night I registered with caregiving.com and read blogs and looked at resources on the site. The next night, I slipped into my first chat. I was anonymous, of course, because at that point I didn’t even feel like a person. I was immediately greeted with warmness and invited to come back. For the first time, I heard people talk about what I was feeling and I didn’t feel alone. I came back. Several months later, I even added a profile pic. I went to grief counseling to deal with my emotions. I gained strength and a voice and empowered my mother, my husband and myself. I educated family. I supported my family to be involved. I became an advocate that works in partnership with my mom’s medical team. I even learned to ask for help.

Today, I spend each morning having coffee with my chat friends and each evening sharing my day, love and being there with those friends. I host a group on essential oils. I participate in podcasts. I am me again. No, I am a better me. I am stronger. I appreciate life in a much fuller way. I am confident in my caregiving. I am not perfect and I am okay with that. I laugh. I cry. I share. I have wonderful friends who I text/chat with everyday who genuinely care for my mom and me. I am a purple flower smiling amidst the chaos of caregiving.

So happy caregiving.com anniversary to me and thank you to the beautiful people who have touched my lives on this journey. I love and value each of you so much. My mom thanks you for taking care of me when she was not in a position to do so.

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Lillie Fuller

thanks friend for making me cry!!! You are such that purple flower! You are strong and beautiful. You happened to come along not only when you needed support but when I needed it too. I really can not tell you how much your words of comfort each day mean to me. I love having coffee with you and actually feel out of sorts when I am not able to make chats in the morning. Just having you message me on the side, just those \"good mornings\" ... they are so good for my soul. I'm so blessed by our purple flower! You are a blessing to your mom and you are a blessing to us. Thank you for this beautiful post and for sharing with me. I love you my purple flower friend! :grin:

Lark

Cathy, this blog is lovely. You shine through in every sentence. Thank you for sharing your different responses to the journey of caring for your mother. This blog is full of tenderness and love, just like you. I am happy we both found caregiving.com and that we have the opportunity to share ourselves with each other and the many people who cross our paths here at caregiving. Your writing reveals your heart and you, my dear, have a lovely heart.