Mary, how touching about
the flowers!!! Gave me a good reason to shed a tear or two
And how true it is that amidst so much angst that a gesture such as that can make things feel so great?!
My Dad had been in the hospital for several days with a horrible kidney infection and the nurses were calling me constantly to come help calm him down (which I DID appreciate), and to sit with him as long as possible because he always took a huge mental dive when he was sick, making him almost as confused and bewildered as Mom. I wanted to be with him and knew his well being was always better if I could be there, but Mom was continually leaving the room to go fix meals for the doctors, to get paint to spruce up the room dad was in, and even to go get many people who would bring balloons to cheer dad up. Of course I couldn't rationalize this with her and it was impossible for her to understand why we were at the hospital and how she should act. I entered her world as I always did and spent most of the time redirecting her while still trying to keep abreast of Dad's condition and be able to catch up with his doctors when they would come in. (I did end up spending many dollars having an obnoxious number of helium balloons delivered to his room so that Mom could let that particular idea rest!) Those 5 days were so difficult with Mom begging to go home and Dad begging me to stay at the hospital. It was a relief to get him home so that I could now care for them in the same place but he was still very ill when he was released and required much more attention than usual. Like a child, Mom could sense when I was distracted and would start doing "naughty things" which gave her great pleasure but usually meant a big mess for me to take care of. After 3 days of this at home I was so exhausted physically that I thought I was getting sick. Emotionally I was drained and just wanted to leave the house and be by myself. From lifting Dad repeatedly my back was in constant spasm and he was ultra-grouch and ultra-needy. I remember sitting on the couch and starting to cry, unable to stop myself. I got angry at my sisters for never being around to give any help. I fled the room so Mom wouldn't get upset and hid out in the laundry room while I pulled myself together. I knew I had yet to make dinner, change beddings, and keep Mom from feeling the chaos because my mood would affect her so easily. I did not want to leave that laundry room, ever! Then mom knocked on the door and used my name which she had not done for many months. I wiped my face, put on a smile and
opened the door to Mom who was holding a piece of paper out to me. She could no longer write legibly or even make any sense but from practice I could tell she was directing me to the kitchen. She had set the table (in her backwards, excessive silverware, and places for 7 instead of 3), put an old plastic flower arrangement in the middle, and had most of the food out of the refrigerator for me. She smiled this gigantic smile and said, "Linda, dear, you have been working so hard here at the restaurant and motel and I want to help because you are such a good girl and your father and I love you."
I will never ever forget that moment. She had not called me anything other than "girl" for several months, did not believe she was my mother, and didn't recognize that Dad was her husband. But in that brief moment she pulled so much together and shared the sentiment she obviously felt. I was so touched. Even her hug to me was different: not the hug to "that lady" but a hug to her daughter. In that few short minutes all the fatigue and frustration was gone. Mom had been there, only for a minute or two, but a precious minute that came when I really needed it. Even though it took nearly an hour to put away all the excess dinnerware and chairs, the food back where it belonged, and then a quick meal on, I was smiling. The point of all this is as you put it, a gesture or kind word can erase so much!
Keep it up, Mary, you are doing great things amidst hurdles that you shouldn't have to be struggling through. I wish you well, and also that you feel well from those antibiotics very soon.
Thinking of you,