I often share about the difficulty of caring for an aging parent. It is especially difficult when that person is having a hard time adapting and frankly, I don’t blame her. While there are moments that my level of patience and compassion are low, yesterday, shifted my emotions. My Mother has always been one who says exactly what is on her mind. She wasn’t one to sugarcoat her thoughts nor was she one to back down when she was itching to prove her point, so to see her now is a jolt.
In the last few months, as her eyesight continues to challenge her, I have noticed her processing of information has dwindled. Yesterday, she asked me to come over to look through her wallet. Her anxiety was high because she was adamant that her medical identification wasn’t there. We spent twenty minutes going through each credit card (she wanted the expiration dates) and locating her medical information. But, it wasn’t just verifying that everything was in its place, I ended up explaining it repeatedly.
I can always tell when she really isn’t understanding what I am saying. There is a blank look on her face. Sometimes I get frustrated and impatient which I simply label as being human. I am fallible. Watching a parent age, no matter what the circumstances, is painful. More so when she is uncomfortable and ends up fighting me on most everything. But, she is doing the best she can, just like I am. We are walking this journey like two drunken monkeys.
Here is what I do know, aging is a privilege not given to everyone. The context of this process renders me speechless sometimes. Even though I feel triggered and completely overwhelmed with trying to make things easier for her while she bucks change, I have decided that maybe I should just be. Be present without trying to force solutions that she doesn’t welcome. Even though she isn’t aware, she is still teaching me. Teaching me that I don’t always know best. Teaching me that it is okay to be scared. But, most of all, challenging me to see her for who she is instead of trying to change her for my own comfort. Progress not perfection.