It was my mother's 79th birthday on Wednesday.
We celebrated in little ways at home and in town.
Mom is blessed to still have many of the friendships
she has had most of her adult life. Dear friends
who continue to spend time with her, make
her laugh, show her that she is loved...
even without the golden thread of shared
memories to bind them together.
Last year on my mother's birthday, we were moving her
into the assisted-living community. We had made her little
apartment lovely and tried to put a happy and positive spin
on the whole experience. But I had wondered and feared
for her future there, as I slept on the couch in her tiny
living room that first night, and woke up alteast three times
as the ambulances drove to and from the convalescent
center in the long, dark hours. It was very hard to
picture my mom living there...
...and a year later, she is living here. An ambulance
may drive by in the night, but only rarely. My mother
is now surrounded by fresh air and sunshine and
blackberries in the garden and baby chicks peeping
on the porch. She is happy. We are happy she is
here. I am not the most objective of observers,
being so close in every way to her daily life...but
I do not see much change in my mom from last
year's birthday to this, and for that we are
She is sleeping so well and fully recovered
from her fall, entering into family life more than
ever and very content....
It is me who is drifting a bit. From the intense
days of nursing her after the accident on Christmas
Eve, through the crafting of new rhythms and routines,
I have arrived to these quiet days of Summer....
I don't want to read books about dementia caregiving,
as I did in January, February and March-I can read
those again when things get hard. And I can't find books
to tell me what to do now that my mom doesn't need me
to be learning and figuring out so much to help her
through her days....and my sons are so nearly-grown
and independent....nor can I turn towards another
creative venture, for there isn't that much freedom
and things can change at any time.
So I am re-learning how to find joy and satisfaction
in the simplest of pursuits...gardening, baking, tending
myself and our home and our family. It is surprisingly
challenging. So different from what it was with little ones,
and what it would be like if we had an "empty nest".
I am mothering my mother and cultivating the patience
necessary to live each day with her memory loss.
That is the new ingredient.
I am writing this at the library today. In front of me
is the stack of books I gleaned from the biography
section (through CAS). I am thinking that it might
be helpful for me to read about other women's lives,
as I am examining my own....a line here, an idea there...to
encourage me in these lovely, sunny, peaceful days that find
me confusingly unsettled and seeking comfort and
inspiration....which I am sure to find.