Each member of Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support Program is or has been a caregiver to an older adult or adult child, creating a valuable shared experience among Advocates and those who seek their assistance. In this ongoing series — The Heart of Caregiving — our staff, volunteers and others share their personal caregiving stories and the insights learned along the way.
The following story comes from staff member Daria Sawochka.
Life is demanding. It seems to challenge us at nearly every turn, no matter how long we’ve been on earth. Sometimes I feel like a little seed, safe and snug under a warm blanket of soil that does not want to push upward. But grow I must–ready or not. After all, that is where the sweet smelling blossoms will be found.
As Mom settles into her new home, having just moved into my house, she adjusts. She is adjusting to life after Dad. She is adjusting to not always knowing what day it is. She needs more reminders now. She cannot trust her memory as she once did.
There is also a growing sweetness as Mom tends to live more in the moment. She laughs easily, has the kindest soul and still looks for the good in people. She loves the energy of her 20 year old granddaughter and says she lifts her spirit, just by being near her.
I am adjusting too. I have fancied myself a free & independent spirit, doing what I wanted when I wanted. Now I find myself in the role of caregiver. I make sure Mom eats. I make sure her clothes are clean and her bed is warm. I make appointments for her and take her to them. I encourage her to come outside on invitingly sunny, early spring days.
I tend to my marriage. I check in with my spouse to ensure we stay on the same page and continue to be “all in.” We decided from the beginning that this arrangement needs to work for all three of us…win-win-win.
I keep my siblings in the loop, updating them along the way. I am one of the fortunate ones who has a brother and sister to talk things over with, and sometimes vent to.
Where will all this lead? I have no idea.
I too, am getting daily practice in staying grounded in the present moment. Being here. Now. Breathing slowly through the challenges. After all, everything else is just a possibility, a guess, which may or may not happen. And that seems like a waste of precious energy.
What I do know is that I want Mom to feel loved and safe, because she gave that to me when I was a little girl. I have it to give and will do so for as long as I am able.
And the rest will simply have to take care of itself.
If you or someone you know could benefit from this kind of conversation, give Sound Generations a call at 206.448.3110. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Trained staff will guide you forward to the Caregiver Support Program. We are stronger together.