I have strong feelings that would seem to contradict each other: I’m not doing enough and I’m doing too much. I’m moved and touched and inspired by blogs and stories of caregivers and children of parents with dementia and all they do for them. “I visited my mom every night at 8pm.” “I took care of my wife for 10 years at home.” “My dad came to live with us when he was diagnosed with dementia. He’s been with us for 3 years.” These often leave me feeling that I am not doing enough, that I should be doing more. And then I have a month like I had in February where my body broke down to a state that there was no denying that I needed a break. I was doing too much and my body and mind stopped all but essential functioning until I was willing to reassess. I am fortunate to have a supportive husband, friends and resources in my life that enabled me to go away for 4 days and hit the reset button.
February brought me a few aha moments: A statement at an Alzheimer’s Support group by a women whom I instantly connected with: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it”, a shift to embrace that it’s a gift that I’m here for mom and little moments will be what I remember and a book I bought a book I ran across – “Creating Moments of Joy” and have been thinking about focusing my attention and thoughts more on the moments of joy and creating any moments of joy I can with mom and spend less time focusing on what I “should” be doing, worrying that I’m not doing enough for mom, feeling like I have to do everything for mom (should be obvious, right??).
Mom likes to get out of her place, “The Box” she calls it. It’s not easy for her or anyone who takes her places, to get her out, navigate cars, restaurants, etc. Bringing her to our house is relatively low stress, little driving and navigable for her. We try to bring her here once a week for dinner and when the weather is nice, we sit on the back patio. The flowers are blooming in the backyard and I took mom on a walk in the backyard to look at the flowers and while she was standing by the hummingbird feeders, they put on a show. They were zipping around and drinking from the feeder and mom was captivated by them. A moment of joy.
If I focus on the moments of joy, it will always be enough.