As I reflect on the past year with my mother being in a nursing home I have to admit I never imagined life with her as it now is. In all honesty I never pictured myself as my Mom's caretaker. I am grateful that she is in a good nursing home and that she is well taken care of not only by the nurses who work there, but also by the Hospice nurses who visit her weekly and then call to give me a report.
In the beginning I went every day, but slowly as she has adjusted to her surroundings I now only go 3 times a week. I visit, bring her laundry home and bring her goodies that she asks for each week. Some days the visits are easy and the conversations are light and good, other days like yesterday the conversations are heavy and I leave with sadness in my heart.
Always there is a fine line for me in helping my mother preserve what dignity she has left and still allowing her to make decisions for her well being. Anyone who goes into a nursing home loses so much...their independence, the ability to come and go as they please, privacy, and so much more. Mom had pneumonia for a few weeks and has not been out of her room much, but is finally starting to go to the dining room again and sit with some of the other folks.
The Social Services Director called me yesterday to tell me that Mom had gone to his office to see him. He is a sweet man with a big heart and a wonderful listening ear for all the folks that reside there...she had gone to tell him that someone had stolen $7 from a wallet she had hidden in a box in her room. He called to inform me he had gone to her room, found the wallet she had told him the money was in and indeed the cash had been taken, but they had left her the change.
How can anyone steal from an elderly person who has so little already? He offered to reimburse my mother the $7, but it really isn't about the small amount of money...it is about the hurt something like this causes in an elderly person who was so pleased to have been able to win this money playing bingo and hoped she could give that money to one of her great grandchildren.
Mom was upset when I got there yesterday. She told me, "if they needed the money and asked me I would have given it to them." I assured her that the nursing home was going to reimburse her and I would hold the money for her. If the money had been the only thing taken from her it would not be so hard to watch all of this...but so much more is taken every day.
Bob and I are faithful in going to see her and always she asks about her grandchildren and her great grandchildren, but their visits are few and I know it pains her to think she is mot important to them. It pains me as well because I know she loves each of them and always out of her social security check bought gifts for all their children on birthdays and at Christmas. The busyness of life is always the excuse and it saddens me to see the loneliness and hurt in her eyes.
Yesterday she said, "I know my days are numbered and I am getting tired...if the don't come to see me when I am alive or pick up a phone to call me, they do not need to come when I die." I understand...my heart can relate. There is a song by Selah that I love called "All My Tears.'
The lyrics are: "When I die don't cry for me In my Father's arms I'll be. The wounds this world left on my soul will all be healed and I'll be whole. Sun and moon will be replaced with the light of Jesus' face...And I will not be ashamed for my Savior knows my name. It don't matter where you bury me, I'll be home and I'll be free, It don't matter where I lay, all my tears will be washed away."
My mom has had a difficult life...so of it due to her own poor choices...some of it for pain that was inflicted upon her as a child...but her life has been one of torment and pain...of deep wounds that have never healed. I pray that she has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and one day she will know His peace and all her wounds will be healed and her tears washed away...and until that time I will do my best to honor her all the days of her life.