Love and mess

Saturday morning I got a call from Bickford that Mom was refusing to take a shower! Good heavens. This seemed like a small problem to me, so I suggested the aide skip it and see if she was more amenable later in the day. I went out in the afternoon, and the same aide told me the later shower had worked, but that Mom had refused to go to lunch, finally shouting, “NO!!” in such an angry tone the aide gave up. I went to the room, and Mom was perfectly willing to go down to the dining room and have a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk, followed by pound cake and ice cream. Coco got a bite of the sandwich, I had coffee, and we had a pleasant time. In a way, I’m glad Mom will occasionally stand up to a directive she doesn’t want to comply with; she still has some will of her own.

Yesterday, Sunday, I picked her up to go to church, telling myself that it didn’t matter that she was wearing a bright pink jacket with a pair of reddish-brown pants. But may I say here that SOMEONE’S taste needs work–maybe Mom picked out the outfit. Anyway, we had a nice time at church, sang at least one hymn she could sing some of the words to. When I took her back after church, she stopped and looked at me with a face so full of love, and said, “God gave me a…”–long pause–”Gift?” I inquired. “Yes. When he gave me…”–another pause–”Me?” I filled in, pretty sure that was what she wanted to say. “Yes,” she said again, and really, the look of love on her face is one of the deepest I may ever receive during my life. “I love you so much,” she said, “so much.” So it’s not all hard caring for my parents; there are moments of great reward.

Today I visited in the morning, and my sister was in the hall. “Coco got in the trash again,” she said, face expressing the “yuck” of dealing with torn-up, urine-soaked briefs. Poor her. I’ve found such a mess, too. I recently bought a lidded wastebasket, which was supposed to solve the problem, but somehow Mom keeps getting the lid off. Or maybe the aides have trouble getting it off and, especially, back on. I bent the lid, and it went on more easily. Maybe this will help, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. So this clean-up, in contrast to Sunday’s lovefest, is hard. I visited Dad, and when I came back later, my sister had, BLESS her, cleaned everything up and sprayed the room, and there was no smell of urine. Wow! Way to go, sister dear.

Dad was sort of cute; I asked him if he needed anything, and he said he did, pulling out an almost-empty bag of StarBurst jelly beans. He made sure I knew what kind, because “with the system [he uses],” another brand just wouldn’t cut it. Huh. A system for eating jelly beans. I did not inquire about the system.

Up. Down. Up. The days slip by, one by one. Love comes in unexpected ways, like cleaning up and freshening a room for a mother, or buying the right brand of jelly beans.

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One Response to Love and mess

  1. Helga says:

    You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing that tender and private moment, Kathy. I’m SO glad you have those moments. They make all the rest just a little bit better, I know.

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