We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
On Freestyle Fridays, we talk about whatever happens to pop into my head—or any suggestion you may have made for a topic. I’ve missed you guys while we paused to celebrate Christmas and New Years. Good to be back with you.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about my 96 year-old mother, but since I just got back from visiting her, she’s sorta on my mind. Please bear with me while I talk about her.
Mother and me on her 95th birthday a year and a half ago
Mother lives in a small assisted living home—one of five residents. She gets good care there from the caregivers kept on-site 24/7, so I don’t have any real concern about her well-being. I do, however, have a real concern about her quality of life.
Mother was always a very active person. She was always the one who jumped up to get whatever anyone needed. She always loved people and wanted to be with someone, or several someones, she could converse with.
She also always read the newspaper, worked crossword puzzles, and watched a fair amount of television. These were things she could “connect” with when there were no people around.
Somehow, in the last decade she has lost the use of her knees. She can’t stand, which means she can’t walk. So she can’t get up and down and move around like she always has.
A series of TIAs or some other villain has robbed her of her memory. She still recognizes me, but I frequently have to remind her of my name and our relationship—sometimes every five minutes. This severely limits her ability to visit with the other residents of the home or the caregivers.
Macular degeneration has almost completely taken her vision. Sadly, she can no longer see a newspaper, book, television or crossword puzzle.
Mother has worn partial plates for years as various teeth had to be pulled. This past summer we had to have the remainder of her upper teeth removed, forcing us to have a full upper plate made. She hated it and would not leave it in her mouth. Then she managed to lose the lower partial, so now she has a total of four teeth remaining, all lowers. Since she won’t keep the plates in her mouth, she goes without them all the time, which makes her look even older than her 96 years.
I love my mother and am glad to have her still here. I feel like no amount of care on my part could make up for all the things she has done for me through the years. But I’m conflicted.
There is no quality to her life. She gets up in the morning when a caregiver comes to awaken her and dress her. She eats when a caregiver wheels her to the table in her wheelchair. Other than that, she pretty much sits in a chair in the living room with nothing to do. She spends most of the day carrying on a sotto voce conversation with herself—when she’s not singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”
Other than the eyes, memory and knees, her health is astounding. She has never had any cardiovascular trouble or any form of cancer. I could easily see her living another decade. To do what? Sit in her chair and stare blankly?
I have absolute faith God knows what He is doing. There must be some reason she’s still here—some purpose I can’t see. I’m not in a rush to see her go. I just wish I could see some enjoyment in her life.
Do you have a parent or grandparent who has begun losing mental or physical faculties? Are you the child or grandchild who looks after that person? How do you feel watching this deterioration?
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