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taking care of mom
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Taking Care Of Mom And Dad
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Taking Care Of Mom And Dad

As I was growing up I never realized my parents were not kids, probably because they acted like kids. Both mom and dad were full of energy and life and laughter. Summers spent playing badminton in the yard and when it snowed we went sled riding off the biggest hill. I enjoyed the closeness with my parents, I was an only child and so was my dad. Mom was one of nine living children in her family. I didn't have to share my parents with anyone.

By the time I was in elementary school, Iwas a happy kid and my mom was a homeroom mother. She helped with the fall festival and Halloween party, and learned to make popcorn balls! My mom was beautiful, but cooking was not her strong suit. Dad didn't mind though, and ate whatever she fixed him. She did eventually learn to cook very well. It was fun to have my parents come to the PTA meetings and the parent-teacher conferences and get all of my excellent reports. Seriously, I was a very good kid in school.

Next stop is the leap from being a 'little kid' to a junor high school student. We didn't have middle school so this was a huge change for all the kids. First day of school was so exciting because we could stand outside in front of the school and talk to all our friends. No going to the gym like the little kids anymore. Lunch was the same way and we all hoped we had the same lunch period as our friends. We had graduated from fall festivals to performing chorus, band and our parents could come see us perform in all of our glory.

I remember the day we had to decide what we wanted to take for classes in high school. You had little to pick from in those days too. You could choose College Prep classes to prepare you for going off to college after graduation, FFA (Agriculture classes for those who had farms and crops), secretarial classes that you chose bookkeeping or shorthand. I chose shorthand cause I hated anything to do with numbers. We also had a vocational school that served three local county school systems and they had training for block laying, construction, welding, auto body or diesel mechanics.

Funny how at the high school age you have spread your wings a bit and parents are not exactly welcome at the school, even for parent-teacher conference. Parents become something you try and hide for some reason, and I have yet to figure that one out to this day. You have grown up and you graduate and your parents are so proud and you go to school or get a job or something. Things are different at this point in your life. You are looking ahead, not backward.

What is really a shock is the day you suddenly see your parents are older. They aren't the young couple you remember from years ago. You realize that your mom and dad are now in their fifties or sixties. You also will maybe be lucky enough to have parents to tell you what they want in their twilight years. I remember my parents always saying they did not want to go to a nursing home, they wanted to stay in their home. That statement was etched in my mind and I promised them they would never, ever be put in a nursing home.

My mom had health problems toward the later part of her life and she managed to get around quite well. My dad had a heart attack in 1995, but recovered and his cardiologist said no damage was done to the heart. The years went by and my mom passed out on my dad and the huge pine trees on the hill had pulled the phone cable apart and they had to phone to call me. Dad brought her to my house, I reported the phone outage and went to the hospital emergency room on July 7, 2009. The ER doctor did a CAT scan and found a small anyrism in her stomach and she was Healthnetted to the University Hospital. The specialists said they could fix that problem and sent my mom for another CAT scan to see a better look of it. They told us she didn't need to have that fixed and could go home right away. I was told in the hallway that my mother had cancer and nothing could be done for her.

I brought her and Dad home and took care of them every day fixing breakfast, lunch and dinner for them, doing laundry, whatever needed done that day. My husband and my children pitched in and we took care of everything. I was the first person my mom saw in the morning and the last face she saw at night. I was with her when she passed, as was my Dad and my husband. We had had hospice come in at the end but I took care of my mom myself. Bathing her and everything that needed to be done. I know my mom did not suffer at all, despite the cancer, and I know she was glad I was with her and Dad when the end came. I would not trade that time I spent with her for all the money in this world.

I lost my dad March 14, 2011 to Alzheimer's and a lung disease, he was 80 years old. He never went to a nursing home either. Hospice came in toward the end but my husband and I were with my dad when he passed. He did not suffer either and I know he felt safe and loved with us there by his bedside. I would not trade that time with my dad either. I had made a promise to my parents when I was only about 21 years old and wasn't even married yet. But I knew that they were very serious about not going to a nursing home. I am grateful that God let me keep them in the home they had spent over 40 years in and all their possessions and memories.


Street Talk

Hi Debbie, Thanks for this wonderfull article. We are at the senior end of our life having been married 47 years so far with three children, all grown up and with littlees of their own. Funny how things work out as we always said the same as your good folks that a nursing home was never an option. One of our daughters has remembered this and is very close to us, in fact we are at her families home now for a three month stay, and enjoying every minute. Our elder Daughter decided all her problems were as a result of us so she has formally ended her relationship with us and we are also not allowed to see her three daughters. Our other child is fast losing interest in us as we get older. I guess one out of three is a good odds though, and we know full well that the Daughter we are staying with now will look after us, when the times come, just like you did - this is so re-assuring. Regards Keith

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I feel sad for your other two children who have not chosen to be there for you and your wife. The pain and regret will hit them when everything is all over and they will have no one to blame but themselves. I have seen this and it is truly sad. All the lost time and everything is gone. No chances to do things differently. I pray they come to their senses before it is too late. Your daughter is a good girl. I am setting up my website and will send you the web address for her if she ever needs a kind word or advice from one who has been there and done that. I am a soft-hearted gal and at times I thought my heart would break, but I never let my parents see that, I stayed strong and they were happy. Family is the most important thing in our lives, and of course, one's reputation. I will have information and articles on my new site that I hope and pray will help others with caring for their loved ones at home and later with hospice care. It truly makes a difference to parents to be in their own homes and functioning for as long as they can on their own. I will follow you Keith and when my site is up and ready I will let you know and you can keep the address and even my email info for your daughter, should she need a kind person to chat with on things. At 57, I am sure I can make the lives of others better and their loved ones twilight years the best they can be.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Hi Debbie, This is a very good article. Thank you very much.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Geoffrey! I am devoting my website/niche to this purpose to help children help their parents. I want to share my experiences and knowledge I have learned and resources I have found with others to help them cope with this fact of life. As soon as I get the site up and ready to go, I will let you know so you can check it out and give me your opinions. Thanks again for the comments.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I will be waiting for it . I know it will be very helpful to many people.

  
  about 8 years ago
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