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Mom the Caregiver

2011 26Mom wasn’t always a happy, cheerful presence in Assisted Living. There was a time when she was just the opposite.

When Dad was in a wheelchair, he needed help dressing and undressing. This INFURIATED Mom. She hated, hated the fact that other women were undressing her husband.

She couldn’t understand why. To her mind, he was perfectly capable of dressing and undressing himself. And if he needed help, it was her job.

“I can do that,” she would declare. Of course, it was a job beyond her. It took two people to help him up and prepare him for bed or the day.

Her next tactic was to try to chase them away. Once she tried to pour water on them. You can imagine how that went over.

I began inventing errands for us to run just before the nurses arrived. But it wasn’t easy. It was her job to take care of him and she resisted leaving him for any length of time.

This pattern continued until Dad’s death at the age of 89. Her grief was profound but she quickly bounced back to her happy, delightful self. Still, underneath there was a constant mournful murmur; “Oh Bob,” she would sigh throughout the day.

It’s been eight years and just when I think that her memories of Dad have faded away, she reassures me. Upon awakening this morning, she asked, “How long have I been married?” (For the record, they met in high school at the age of 14 and married nine years later for 66 happy years.)

The memory may be dim but it’s still there

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