(This is an entry in the contest to win the new book from Dave Barry.)
by Martha Mills
I am the youngest child, only daughter of 4 children, raised in an Irish-Catholic home. I’m also a nurse—great role prep to be full-time caregiver for my 85 year old mom, who lives with Alzheimer’s disease.It was not a role I planned on, but just the way “things” worked out. I’m also a wife and mom, with acareer, and a life that is all too busy.
When my mother came to live in our home 6 years ago, we had an 18 year old and an 81 year old livingacross the hall. There is really no way to prepare for an experience like that—mood swings and memoryissues…on both ends. I fondly recall this as the time I discovered wine.
Every day is new, yet the same—refill the empty drawers… track down the toothbrush, toilet paper,pocketbook, eyeglasses, and shoes… answer a million questions: “Where are we?” ”What time is myhusband coming to pick me up?” “Where’s Mom?” “Do you know you are putting on weight?” “Yourbehind is getting awfully big…”
At night, a whole new world has opened to me—Mom talks and sings in her sleep—fullsentences…complete songs…loud and clear…completely asleep. I was unaware of this until I startedsleeping in Mom’s room while she has been recuperating from a procedure. I’ve actually learned somefamily history—I wasn’t sleeping, that’s for sure!
Sometimes difficult situations are really blessings in disguise, and give true meaning to “…live, love,laugh…”