Sometimes you just want to close the door, collapse into your bed, pull the covers over your head, and cry. Watching my mom in so much pain is unbearable. After last night, I see why I could never be a caregiver. I practiced patience, love and a resistance to a strong desire to run far away so I’d never have to do this again.
Yesterday, one of our loving caregivers called in sick. And because one of our other caregivers is in Japan attending to personal medical needs we are short subs. So I had to reschedule my day to be with my mom. I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with moving her out of bed and into the bathroom, since technically I’m not supposed to be lifting with my wrist that’s still healing, but I had no other choice. The universe is amazing, and it turns out my nephew had just arrived drove from napa, and was just in time to help me as he and I visited. It was as if he showed up just in time to be the physical strength I needed to move her from bed to toilet and back.
Most of the day went well. Her appetite was good, and though she was cringing through dinner, she was able to sit through most of the meal, in what I would call ‘bearable pain’. But as the night wore on, her pain increased, and as my efforts to ease her pain failed, my need to disappear increased.
It’s the pull of the good and the bad in me that tore at my soul as I watched her in her silent scream. There was indeed a huge part of me that wanted to stay and keep working to alleviate her pain – reading her stories to distract her, massaging her leg with the latest advanced anti-inflammatory creams, soaking her feat in a salt bath, stretching her legs that had been taught me by the physical therapist – nothing seemed to help. I desperately wanted our night caregiver to show up, perform her magic and stop the pain, so I could leave in peace. But when she arrived, she too, tried everything to no avail.
As I sat with my mom on her balcony, looking up into the starry sky, I tried not to look into her screaming face. I focused on the quiet beauty of the night, held her tiny hand and listened to the love I have for my sweet mom, being careful not to look at her face and the silent scream.
Basically pretending to not notice her pain, was killing me.
I closed my eyes, and listened to the space, with all my heart, and I stayed ever so grateful for the moment I had with her.