We must respect our elders

Recently I read a piece about a daughter whose mother was in the throes of dementia.

She felt frustrated with her mother often. She was asking for so much help. The girl loved her mother, but felt ill prepared to care for her as she was. Her mother was 93 years old.

One day she complained about the elevator in her building not working. The daughter questioned the manager only to find out that it was not broken. The truth was her mother forgot how to run it.

She realized how challenging things were getting for her mother.

While she worked, she was also responsible for visiting her mother. Sometimes she was exhausted. She felt like she could not do this anymore.

She prayed about her situation. The Lord answered her prayers with remembrances of things that she had forgotten.

She forgot how her mother so carefully cared for her all these years.

She forgot how her mother often gave up things to make her life go smoother. She forgot how funny her mother was and that she had a good sense of humor. All these things made her feel guilty.

Now she saw the blessing of still having her mother around. She saw the blessing of being able to help her. She realized that with advancing dementia her mother would need more understanding, more help. She realized that she could be that help.

None of us know how we will age. Will we be aware of our surroundings or will we lose our memory? At any rate we will need help and understanding.

We will not be able to do some of the things that we now do so easily. We probably will not be as mobile either.

I have gone through this with my mother. When she lost her ability to drive, I had to assume the responsibility of getting her groceries, of taking her to doctor appointments. I had to do her laundry.

She was able to take the bus some of the time. She still went to lunch with friends. She rode with one of the other ladies to her hair appointments.

I was still working at the time. When I received a call from a doctor or the hospital, I never knew where I would have to go. When I signed for her to have a blood transfusion, I had mixed emotions.

The doctor did not feel her capable of making that decision on her own.

The transfusion did little to help her. I decided right then that I would not sign again. If it did not help, I would not make her go through it.

My mother was lucid right up until the end. The last night the whole family was in her room to visit. She especially liked seeing her little great-granddaughter. Although she could not hold her because of her arthritis, she could give her a kiss when someone held her up. That was a special moment.

We all kissed her and said good-by as we left for home. She passed before I even made it home. Yes, she was alone, but I am sure that is how she wanted it.

Mother, I miss you. I miss talking to you. I miss doing things with you.

I miss going places with you. You shouldered your responsibility well.

You were the best mother that you could be. You did it with the help of your mother and father.

My father played no part in my life. I always missed the feeling of having a father in my life, but that was not to be.

In my eyes you were a miracle worker.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact her at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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