Daughter's Journal

a day in the life of a daughter........


"My mother suffered a slight stroke during an angioplasty to clear an artery in her heart. Sometimes it happens, they said. So helping her heart turned out to be hurting her brain. You win a few, and you lose others, I guess. Her mobility wasn 't affected, and the change in the way she expressed herself was noticed by no one but me. This woman who had such a large vocabulary had lost some of it, sometimes in odd ways. She would never have referred to the ICU as "that place where they keep people who are really sick", or the IV as "the thing in my arm". When she came home, she had become aware of the memory deficits. Remembering names became more difficult, and sometimes she said she just couldn't think _ Frustration and even anger followed, when she realized the locked memory files weren't going to come back. Her personality hadn't changed, though, so in a short time, her good humor returned. But she always had a say­ing "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good", meaning there's always good somewhere in every situation. She is a teacher, and her comment about the aftermath of her stroke taught a profound lesson about life. She said, "When some­one hurts my feelings, I don't remember it very long. " What a gift. Help me to imitate her."


"I've been sulking a little . lately because I don't have the freedom I'd like. When caring for a parent who needs someone nearby, there is always some burden to bear. Something to feel sorry about or a new worry. But I've noticed how much better I feel when I concentrate on the gifts I find when I look care­fully for them. It's a little like hunting Easter eggs, finding those little treats, partially hidden and easily over­looked. My mother's smile and pleas­ant nature, her willingness to help with anything I am doing, her endless patience with things as they are. My feelings of appreciation for her life and my joy at pleasing her with a funny story. My gratitude that her life has lasted long enough to permit me to return some of the attention she so tirelessly gave me. I hope I never get too busy or too full of self-pity to miss the joy of these precious things."



"I'm never quite sure what's the "right" thing for my mother when the choice is between independence and safety. She walks so unsteadily that she will often fall if she is unattended. Even though someone stays in her home all the time, I can't seem to convince her tht she must call for help before getting up from the chair Maybe she can't remember to ask. But she says she doesn't want to bother anyone. Yesterday she fell and hit her head. She couldn't remember exactly how it happened. While I waited for the doctor to stitch her up, I thought about the time when I was an inexperienced driver She worried that I would hit something (or something would hit me) yet she didn’t trv to prevent me from going.  Maybe there's a parallel here. What can I do except talk to her about-it often? I sound like such a nag. If I keep the room monitor with me, I'll be more apt to hear her get up from the chair. Lately everything seems to be a difficult compromise."



"I'm learning, or at least I think I am. So often, the activities I plan for mother are more compatible with my interests and energy level than hers. You'd think this might be obvious, but it's hard to shift out of the mode where mom was always ready to go. She's ready now and wants to go everywhere, but two garage sales are better than ten! Events which start in early afternoon never work well. Mom always endures, although the rest of the day is more difficult when she misses her nap after lunch. I've never thought of myself as a slow learner, but it seems to be taking awhile on this one."



"I'm always keeping lists. Lists of things to do, lists of people to call, even lists of life's priorities. Keeping every minute filled efficiently has been a goal for me. My new goal is to spend some completely unstructured time sitting quietly on the deck with my dad as he looks at the trees and pond He talks to me then. Sometimes he tells stories I've heard a hundred times before, but sometimes he comes up with a new one. Then I am given a gift of new insight into his childhood or his working years. I wouldn't miss it for the world. "