I’m Cathy; my mom’s Betty. She was a nurse, a working mom, household boss, spiritual warrior. She’s still some of those things, but now she’s old, and I’m some of those things for her. It’s hard on both of us, at times, and I long for the time when I get her into a senior facility and can live my later-in-life dreams. What I write here will be the high and low and in-between experiences with/for/about my mom, and probably mostly about the unexpected growth I’ve been experiencing along the way.
Thanks for reading. Hope it helps… 🙃🙏💛
6/23/22 Another Local Café,
Frickin’ Early Morning, B.C. (Before Coffee)
Mom’s Ringtone Sounds: “Hi, Mom—“
MOM: “I’m. Gasp! In. Gasp! Agony. Gasp! Gasp! Gasp!”
ME: Rolling eyes, because I’m kinda over dealing with this every day: “Oh! Is it pain from your shoulder and down your arm? It is? OK, I’ll get dressed and come over.”
Land line rings; it’s the doctor’s office with the dates for my husband’s upcoming surgery.
ME: “Mom, I’ve got to catch another call; it’s the doctor. I have to take it. I’ll see you very soon!”
MOM Croaking: “OK…”
Except, I didn’t rush over. I emptied the sack of clean laundry I’d done days ago. Found a pair of clean undies in there. Put ‘em on, along with a clean bra, leggings, and comfy shirt. Picked out a necklace with a little heart-shaped charm. Smiled an ironic smile, because my heart really wasn’t in the tasks at hand. Put the necklace on, to remind me I actually have a heart. Because I really wasn’t feeling this day, and it was only 8-ish in the morning.
I’d made the mistake of thinking that if I set the alarm for a little earlier in the morning, I’d get (one of) my most longed-for desires: quiet morning time with coffee, Austin the dog snoozing close, me listening for the whispers of voices in my own head, the ones that would clue me in to the state of my own mind/heart/soul, and open me up to What Cathy Needs. Which turns out to be Help. Help is what I need. What would that help look like, I wonder… I don’t even know for sure. Direction? Action? Definitely Time Off.
I learned a while ago that having something to look forward to keeps me out of the dark hole my mind/body/spirit sinks into while I’m juggling Mom’s needs. I know this, but it took a while for me to act on it. Now I believe I’m turning it into an Art form… Still, I feel pretty guilty when I’m choosing my own needs over Mom’s. People remind of the old ya-gotta-put-the-air mask-on-yourself-first concept. Easier said than done! And I’d bet that anyone who’s done any kind of caregiving (of parents, children, friends, etc.) knows this is so: we’ve taken on a herculean job, and we’re overwhelmed and exhausted. We long for some sort of superhero to swoop in and save us.
After the superhero rescue fantasy, I thunk myself back into reality. I’ve gotta do it myself, yes with help, but I’m the Chosen One. My personal Higher Power has been telling me for a very long time that this isn’t about just helping Mom. It’s about me learning all sorts of lessons. Growing as a person. My psychic, tarot-reading cousin* says it’s karmic lesson. Blah Blah Blah
Dammit! Time now to go get Mom her pills. And to stop sulking. Pull up my big-girl pants. And fill out the Medicaid form, which will enable moving Mom to a place where she can receive care from others, and I can be mostly just her daughter.
Thank you for reading. —Cathy
*My cousin the psychic & tarot reader: http://tarotbyginger.com