One of the most difficult adjustments I've had to make as I've become my mother's caregiver has to do with a relatively minor matter. I have low tolerance for what I call Mom's endless loops. She will get stuck on one phrase or story and repeat it every few minutes throughout an entire afternoon. I am not mature in the way I handle this. I generally say brightly, "Well, Mom, I've got to go finish up cleaning that oven," or some other such implausible excuse--and I make a run for it.
When Mom's endless loop has to do with some subject that is irritating or slightly inappropriate, it is all the more painful. For example, any endless loop having to do with bodily functions is particularly hard for me to bear. And tonight Mom's subject was swearing. As I washed and set her hair (and this task obligated me to stay in Mom's vicinity rather than taking my usual coward's way out) Mom told me about the fact that she had once been guilty of using a few swear words. In the record that follows I've deleted the actual words themselves so that the blog analysts won't censor me: Mom kept saying, "I would occasionally say words like **** and ####, and very rarely %%%%!"
I tried quoting Scripture to no avail. "The Bible says, 'Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only that which is useful for building others up," I said, misquoting Ephesians 4:29.
"Well how nice," said Mom, not meaning it. And then scarcely drawing a breath she said, "I would occasionally say words like *****...." And so on. And on and on and on.
I occasionally repeat stories to my children with a sense that I've told the same story many times before, but liking the sound of my own voice and the point of my old story I tell it again.
Somebody just shoot me.
Lord grant my children tolerance, long suffering, perseverance, and love, lots of love. And while you're at it Lord, better give me a helping of each of those as well.
Scripture: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).