“Prayer in action is love. Love in action is service.” – Mother Teresa
And did I mention that she now has bedsores? even on her ear? Between the sores, the severe leg cramps, the feeding tube, the inability to talk or write…I completely understand her silent scream.
The nurse came yesterday while my sister Michelle was there. Apparently my father was so anxious and bossy, that the nurse had to ask that he leave the room. He hates seeing my mom in pain. None of us want her to suffer, but we each handle situations differently. In times of stress, I’ve learned that I’m most effective when I’m calm. My father chooses to yell. He yells at people who aren’t making her better. And since none of us can make her better, he yells at every one of us. I pray that our caregivers don’t quit and I am so grateful for their patience and love. I tell them this regularly, and hug them, and my father, with all my heart.
It would be best if I could remove my father from the Village and take him on a vacation. But he would never leave. I can’t even get him to take a break and have lunch. I have to bring him his soup. The other night I was able to take him to dinner, but that was while she was sleeping and there was no evidence of pain.
“Stop her! Can’t you see she’s in pain?,” he yells. Does it help for me to yell back? Does it help for me to cry? I pause and ask myself, can I choose a response or action that can be helpful? I try and understand. I try to see his goodness. He’s losing his first and only love. He’s losing control of the situation. Life is not turning out the way he wants it to…So he yells to control someone. I don’t have to take it personally. He’s yelling at life, and really death.
I have the Awareness that he and I can engage in that same old dance of the demanding father and obedient daughter.
I Accept that I can’t control or change my father’s fear.
In choosing my next Action, I choose not to be the dutiful daughter who cries when yelled at.
I choose to be strong and loving.
I choose to understand his fear, and to take steps that could improve things for my mom.
I need to have another discussion with her to see what she truly wants to do. Perhaps it will take several conversations. Perhaps she would rather eat food and take the risk that she could choke or get an infection when food gets in her lungs.
I need to call her doctor and find out more about palliative care and get her to a place of comfort. I know she wants to see her great grand baby one more time, and maybe all this suffering will be worth that big smile he’s going to give her.
Maybe that love that will be exchanged across the four generations, will make it all worth it.