Yesterday was "one of those days" that followed immediately behind "one of those weeks" in my caregiving journey. Mom had been crotchety and critical, and my store of patience and kindness were at an all time low. I am sorry to say I had sunk to the level of feeding her bad attitude with a queen sized bad attitude of my own. I'd stopped bothering with such niceties as a cheerful smile or kind and cajoling words of encouragement and love, and thus was feeding Mom's determined belief that she was not being treated well. I told my husband that she acted as though she believed herself to be paying for service in a luxury hotel and that she was being cheated because the workers in this place just were not up to par.
Last night I went into Mom's room to deliver her evening snack. I was emptying her trash cans when I noticed she had thrown her head back in a somewhat dramatic looking pose and had one hand limply draped across her brow. I thought, "Oh for goodness sake."
"What's wrong with you?" I snapped.
She sat up straight, surveyed me and said, "I was praying for you!"
I could tell she was telling the exact truth, that she had noted my grim expression when I entered the room and had surmised that I needed prayer. She was right.
I laughed and apologized, then said, "Well, maybe you'd better continue on."
She laughed too. I was humbled by my mother's prayer for me.
Alzheimer's shrinks the world of its victims. When memories become like isolated and disconnected islands, the patient has only the moment she is in from which to draw conclusions about her circumstances. Those conclusions are going to be inaccurate much, if not most of the time. A good caregiver understands this, and ministers to the patient in the moment she is inhabiting, soothing fears and gently reshaping inaccurate impressions. This week I'll be praying for the strength and wisdom to rise above petty irritations and to be the good caregiver my mom needs!