A study of perseverance and devotion

My mother is a study of perseverance and devotion. There’s no denying it.

For 51 years she woke up every morning; checked to see if Annie was awake; rolled her onto her back if she was; changed her diapers at first, then Attends as she grew older; got her up and into her wheelchair and pushed her into the kitchen for breakfast. With very little deviation, weekday, weekend, for 51 years.

Mom gave Annie her medicine; fed her breakfast; fed her lunch; put her back in bed for an afternoon rest; changed her Attends; got her back up; fed her dinner; then later put her back in bed; changed her Attends; changed her pajamas; rolled her onto her stomach and tucked her in, for 51 years. Every day without fail. Through it all Dad was there helping as he could, and he generally put Annie in bed at night, but in the earlier years he worked and wasn’t there a lot. After Dad retired and was home more he shared the responsibility for feeding Annie and most of her other care as well. But caring for Annie was an exercise in devotion and perseverance at which Mom excelled.

Now Mom wakes up every morning; checks to see if Dad is awake; helps him roll onto his back if he is; gets him up and into his wheelchair; pushes him into the bathroom to help him change his Attends; and pushes him into the kitchen for breakfast. With very little deviation, weekday and weekend.

Mom gives Dad his medicine; helps him eat his breakfast; puts him back in bed for an afternoon rest;  gets him back up; makes another trip into the bathroom with him; prepares, helps him eat, and sometimes feeds him dinner; another bathroom trip; and then later, puts him back in bed. Every day without fail. Mom has home health aides helping her a few hours every morning and each evening, but Mom continues to take responsibility for Dad’s care. Caring for Dad is an exercise in devotion and perseverance at which Mom excels.

As Dad becomes increasingly less responsive, Mom responds by becoming increasingly more engaged. Like in her care of Annie, Mom rises to the occasion. Sometimes I feel as if I am trying to shout through tiny chinks in a brick wall to get through to my dad, to get his attention, to have him raise his head and look at me, to strike some tiny spark of interest in his eyes. Sometimes I think of giving up. Sometimes I wonder, what is the point. But not my mom. She shouts louder. Tries harder. Never gives in.

My mother is a study of  perseverance and devotion.

There is simply no denying it.

April 28, 2011

24 thoughts on “A study of perseverance and devotion”

    1. Well, she is not perfect, but I love her and truly appreciate all that she does to take care of Dad and keep him at home. Her courage and strength has been awesome to witness at times.

    1. She is strong. It’s amazing sometimes. I was afraid she was going to break after Annie died and she was experiencing what could only have been unimaginable grief and yet was losing her husband to Alzheimer’s at the same time. We had some rough days, months, and actually years, but I think she is coming through it.

  1. Your mom is an inspiration for all caregivers. She gives herself completely for the ones she loves. She probably couldn’t imagine any other way to respond to their needs, but to give her all. Reading this post has brought tears to my eyes. Blessings to you, Christine…

    1. Well, if not born, then learned at a very early age. She had to take care of her siblings quite often when she was young and her mother had poor health. She never really got a break. That’s what I’m hoping for down the road—that she gets the chance to take care of herself.

  2. This is a lovely post celebrating your mother. Don’t be so hard on yourself, when you think of giving up. This is her life’s partner. You would probably do the same as your mother if it were your husband, or one of your children. She has set the example, the older teaching the younger ones. Hers is a life well lived.

    1. I’m not going to give up, but often there is a sense of futility about the whole thing. It’s a tough thing to deal with. And at times I get weary.


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