A whole new life

My mom had a stroke. She was in the hospital for a short time, then in a skilled nursing facility, then in acute rehab. Now she’s living with me.

Mentally she’s all there, though impaired in her speech and attention span. Physically she’s bedridden and wheelchair-bound. One leg and arm work normally, the others do not.

Some of her friends and loved ones lament what she’s lost, or rather what they’ve lost in her, and now miss. I for one like the new Mom. She’s softer and gentler and, frankly, cute as a button. She no longer cares about making herself up to look young and pretty, and as a result she’s even prettier, with fluffy grey hair and glowing white skin.

My life is now filled with her life. It used to be important to me to carve out some “Me time” each day, an hour or two for sitting on the couch and watching mindless TV if I wanted to. I thought I needed this unwinding in order to function. Now there’s no Me time. Any extra time I have between work and bedtime and running necessary errands, is spent sitting with Mom, talking with her, adjusting her in bed to be more comfortable; or else making appointments or arrangements of one kind or another on her behalf. I may get 15 or 20 minutes of Me time after work, which seems to suffice nowadays.

Sometimes if she has a visitor I get more free time, since they’re there to tend to her needs; a couple of hours, sometimes three or four, though occasionally interrupted with requests that only I can fulfill, since I know just how she likes to be positioned in bed, or have the blanket wrapped around her legs in the wheelchair. Sometimes I have the burden of entertaining the visitors, who may spend an hour with her and then an hour with me — an hour during which I’m distracted, worried about Mom being neglected, lonely and bored, vegetating in front of the TV by herself in her room, while her “visitor” is out in the living room with me, talking and robbing me of my free time.

But I can still function. It’s a whole new life, one which I never would have thought I could live. But I’m living it, and it’s fine.

14 thoughts on “A whole new life

  1. I was in your position for 11 years. The grace of God will be with you in subtle and profound ways, as it has been with so many dutiful caregivers throughout the ages. Be assured of my fervent prayers for you, dear friend, each and every day in the Divine Office and in my private prayers.

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    • Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement very much. I feel that grace has been with me profoundly indeed, because it’s not at all like me to roll with the punches as I have been. I’m usually much whinier. : )

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  2. Hello. I am sorry to hear of your mother’s health issues…I have not stopped by here for a while. I pray that you both find peace in all that happens.
    I can only hope if I were in a similar situation that I would be able to speak of the experience in such a grace filled way.
    I’m not sure you will remember me..we used to dialogue a bit over on vox nova.
    Peace be with you.
    Sincerely
    Brian Martin

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    • Brian,

      Of course I remember you! I don’t have that many friends. : )

      Thanks so much for your comment. There have been ups and downs, times of consolation and times of just muddling through. My mom is still herself, and so am I, therefore we clash from time to time. I have always loved her dearly and treasured her company, but we haven’t lived together in over 30 years and it’s a whole different ballgame. But as time goes on we discover ways of smoothing the rough ways. We are also alternating between my house and the house of a friend of hers, so every couple of weeks we get a break from each other. My wife has been infinitely kind and patient, God bless her.

      Thanks again and I hope you are having a joy-filled Easter season in spite of everything!

      P.S. Are there any blogs in particular that you like to comment on, now that VN has slowed to a crawl?

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      • I honestly don’t comment much, I find that most blogs have a tendency to not encourage the kind of discussion that went on there. Things are much too tribal… I read a few…I check yours occasionally. I check VN a few times per week. I read Where Peter Is fairly regularly and comment there. I read Mark Shea for a while, but he is much too angry. Truly I miss the days of old on VN.

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      • You read my mind regarding Mark Shea. I started commenting there just within the past week and boy, it’s an angry place. I’ll look at Where Peter Is, that’s a new one for me. Thanks.

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      • where peter is seems much more intellectual, scholarly and a whole lot less shrill. They seem also to not be all full of themselves, so it doesn’t come across as ego masturbation

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      • From my limited exposure so far, I like it. They seem to be slightly in favor of the liberal side of things, but pretty moderate in how they express it. The thing I don’t like is that every comment apparently gets moderated. I assume they do that in order to keep the tone of the comments moderate too.

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      • It is interesting, because as someone who comes from a more “liberal” viewpoint on some things, and having read it for a while, most of the writers seem to come from a fairly orthodox position or background, and talk about the continuity of Church teaching and the teaching authority of the Magisterium and the Pope. They moderate comments, but as far as I can tell they don’t censor disagreement. My impression is that they are attempting to hew a path that is basically supporting the Pope and his teaching authority based on scholarly analysis of church teachings. You should find no wild ranting or name calling here. The ability to have reasoned discussion like those that used to occur on Vox Nova is present. I have always liked how you and I can discuss something without it turning into any kind of food fight.

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  3. Yeah but constant comment moderation was the one thing I didn’t like about VN either. Or maybe I should say, I didn’t like having *my* comments moderated. : )

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