Life Changes Happen in the Blink of an Eye

While living alone, my Mother had a stroke in 2007. I immediately flew to be with her. It was evident, even in a phone conversation, that she desperately needed help. Life choices would need to be made.

The following days were filled with doctor appointments and discussions with Mom's attorney.Days became weeks as the two of us came to the realization that Mom could no longer live by herself. I knew Mom was counting on the promise I had made thirty years earlier that there would always be room for her in my home. Her decision was made. She informed me that she no longer wanted to live in her home. She was coming to live with me and my husband. In the blink of an eye, I became her caregiver.

The first months were rocky, but we hung in there together and worked it out so everyone was a winner. The months and years passed with leg surgery and rehabilitation, constant urinary tract infections, broken collar bone, shingles, small strokes and a large one, but still she enjoyed life.

As the years passed, my Mother became our child. We loved to see her face light up with a big smile and hear that deep laugh. We struggled with her through her illnesses and celebrated with her recoveries.

She loved being able to go out each day for lunch, just to see what was happening beyond the neighborhood. Our outings became a time to run errands, to sit by the lake, to talk and just enjoy one another.

August 28th, 2010 was just like any other day, same routine. We went out for lunch and then we went to look for a new pair of shoes for Mom. We found a pair of soft gray suede that she loved. "They feel so good", she said.

Three hours later we went into the kitchen where she sat while I prepared dinner. We were admiring her new shoes.I looked at her face and in the blink of an eye she was fighting for her life. She had a fatal heart attack.

Today our home is filled with sadness and grief; she is missed so much. Being a caregiver for Mothe brought so much joy and happiness into our lives.She enriched our lives and made us a family of three.

Caregivers are soft and loving; setting aside time to cuddle and listen. Caregivers are hard as steel when they are advocates for their parent and when the final DNR (do not resuscitate) must be verbalized.

Caregivers: Love, honor and cherish every moment with your parent. Change happens in the blink of an eye.