As I sit at my dining room table this evening, I begin to go into deep thought. I thought of what happened on Sunday evening, October 4, 2015 that caused my life to change as my mother’s life did the same. Diagnosed with advanced stages of dementia at the hospital, being told she was mentally lost forever, being advised to put her in a nursing home, and coming ever so close to signing her life away, but fighting for her to be reviewed by a mental health professional who said she did not have that after all. This caused me to bring her home, where she has been ever since.
There have been times when it seems she is her normal self, the mother I am used to interacting with. Then there are those times when her frustration sets in, hinging and latching onto me, and causing me to be reactive rather than proactive. It has been difficult to get used to the changes in her that cause reactions in me to come out, at times to the point of wanting to explode in anger and frustration.
Needless to say, I had to pray.
But there were times when I honestly did not know how. I would sit on my bed staring into the utter darkness of the room and say to God, “I just don’t know what to do. Please show me what needs to be done, because I have absolutely have no clue.” For me, a metamorphosis of being bolder with my words unfolded, the prayers became deeper, interwoven with God’s promises, praise erupted, replacing what felt like a bottomless pit of despair; praising God caused me to become lighter and hopeful. At least it got me to settle down and sleep, if only for a few hours.
One thing difficulty will do for the believer: when there is nowhere else to turn, there is no one to go to but God. He promises to listen to what we need to say, and will allow His presence to infiltrate the atmosphere, letting you know all is not lost, and He is not only available, but willing to be involved, if only we ask for Him to step in. It may take a while, but I can say that God keeps me stable and steady through it all.
I realized about a month ago, that I was very much on empty. It just seemed nothing was going right. I was beyond frustration about everything. After visiting with a therapist, it was suggested that I desperately needed to get away and get some rest for a couple of weeks. I did not know how I was going to do that. What if something happened to my mother while I was away? I am so behind at work that going away would only put me back even more. How was I to pay for going away, and frankly, where was I going to go? Regardless of my concerns I decided to take up that suggestion, and get away from everything. So, I went to a city by the shore a couple of hours away, a place I had never been to, and after doing some research online, I picked out the hotel, made my reservation, told my mother I really needed to get away, and she told me she knew I needed to do that, which was comforting. After her asking me some zillion times where I was going, when I was going, and when I was coming back, I finally loaded up the car and started on my journey. Not particularly sure how to get to the town, I made it there safely, called my mother to tell her I was in my hotel room, and started making the attempt to relax. My room was lovely, and as I entered the room I stopped and stared out the window at the beautiful view of the ocean, with its waves rolling to and fro, causing my mouth to turn into a smile. It was a lovely week of doing absolutely nothing. I must say I did not know how much I needed to get away until I did it. Caregivers are so busy caring for others, the thought of caring for themselves never enters their brainwaves.
Once I returned home, I noticed a change: patience had returned in caring for my mother. I smiled more and I felt rested. The second week I was home, but I still felt peaceful. Spending time with God was great, asking for forgiveness while asking for help. Giving things I could not change over to Him to handle, and relinquishing my control. Wanting to know more about Him while thanking him for this process of learning, and asking Him to tell me what He wants me to know to help others.
I did not want to go back to work, but it had to happen, and I got a surprise. I no longer was tense about getting things done. I asked God to help me be productive, and He has helped me with that. What doesn’t get done I no longer worry about it. I still have my issues with my mother, but there is a change there too; my patience with her is better. Even more, my patience with me is better.
So, to caregivers everywhere, I know I have said this in other writings, but please take time out for you. Take care of you and get away to somewhere quiet, and enjoy the waves and the atmosphere. You may be amazed at knowing how much you need to just get away.