Anyone who reads this blog knows I write about my Dad… a lot. He’s always on my mind since he suffers from late-stage Parkinson’s disease. And yet there’s another person I’m always thinking of, who keeps the machinery of my father’s world moving like clockwork, who’s as necessary, irreplaceable and vital as the sun is to the earth.
And that’s my Mom.
My 80 year-old mother had to make a tough decision a few months ago. Dad was coming out of the hospital after a long stay and she had two choices. She could put Dad in a nursing home. Or she could keep him with her.
And yet Dad’s Parkinson’s has advanced so much, medical and personal care would be administered around the clock. Mom would be tied constantly to Dad’s ever-growing needs.
Mom put together a team of aides, therapists, and nurses who pop in and out from 9:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. seven days a week. A shy, introverted person, she had to get used to lots of people around every day in their small Connecticut home.
First, she needs these professionals. There’s no way she could provide the services they do.
And judging from my visits, I see how this medical staff likes my parents in return. In some ways, they’ve formed a community of care around my Dad.
Sometimes she sounds bone-weary from 12-hour days, but knows this is her final gift to a husband she’s always loved, the man she’s been married to sixty years, the man she met on a sunny Cape Cod day in 1954.
Many times I ask, what can I do? How do I care for the caregiver? And the answer always comes down to one thing.
And although this never seems enough, in small ways, I see it does help. Parkinson’s took a lot from my parents, especially my father. And yet it gave one thing to my mother. It gave her strength she never knew she had.
Do you have caregivers in your life? Have you ever been the caregiver? I’d love to hear. Thanks so much for reading and sharing.