When I am old...

Tracey was very kind to bring attention to "Washing the Feet of the Saints" in her Christian Women Online Blog post yesterday. In her post, "...when I am old..." , Tracey humbly shares her rather brief employment at a nursing home when she was a very young adult, and how she has been blessed to witness the generations in her family as they have lovingly cared for each other over the years. Tracey - thank you - and welcome to all of you who have found your way to this place by way of Tracey and Christian Women Online.

Tracey mentioned how touched she was by the black and white photograph of my parents' hands here. I wrote the Beauty of Winter about that photograph, a section that was cropped from a photograph taken by my nephew Michael White. It is a stark reminder to me of both the sanctity of human life, and the desire we have to reach out to those we love in our time of need.

Tracey also indicated that I am presently a caregiver - if only it were so. My father died 7 years ago, and my mother 5. I miss both of them more than words can express, and would give almost anything to have them still with us, but that would be selfish. I am comforted, however, to know that they are no longer encumbered and trapped by the diseases, pain and suffering that characterized their final years on earth and firmly convinced that they are rejoicing in their eternal life with Christ in Glory.

My caregiving years began on the road, as I traveled back and forth from my home to my parents' - more and more frequently, as their health deteriorated over time. My brother and his family, who lived in the same house with my parents, met most of their needs before my father's death, when we moved my mother into our home.

My father was in a nursing home for just 2 1/2 months before his death. Despite my objections, my mother had been rather insistent that my father move into the nursing home. Though it was a nice, clean facility, I believe that it was living in the nursing home that ultimately led to his death. Over the 2 1/2 months that my father was in the nursing home, my mother's health rapidly spiraled downward. After 3 hospitalizations and as many stays in the rehab center connected to my father's nursing home, my mother went from walking to using a cane, to using a walker, to not being able to walk or stand. When dad entered the nursing home, mother was able to perform all her activities of daily living and manifested only minor memory impairment. Two and 1/2 months later she couldn't even brush her own teeth and had no short-term memory - and no one - not even her team of doctors - knew exactly what had happened.

Two weeks after my father's death, with bedsores on both heels, dehydrated and malnourished, my mother made the three hour trip in a medical transport van from the rehab center to our home. It was a time of unparralled grief for me, and the beginning of the experience that I hope to share in much greater detail - offering hope and encouragement to others - here at Washing the Feet of the Saints.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patricia, I'm grateful for your blog here & look forward to reading more & learning much. Several years ago, my husband & I (with 2 small children) were ready to take in my grandfather. My parents talked him out of that & he died 2 months later. For years, my husband & I (w/many more children added--up to 7) tried to convince his grandmother to come & make her home with us. She ended up in a Home & passed away last Oct. Right now, we are in the process of adding on to our home in order to have my husband's father come & live with us. We are all VERY excited about this. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to minister to him & have the beneft of a "multi-generational" home.

Sadly, my parents will not hear of us taking them in when it is "their" turn. They insist that we put them in a nursing home if it comes to that.

I realize all that will change because of my FIL coming to live with us, but know with certainity that we are in God's Will. There is a peace present that only confirms that for us.

Thank you for sharing about caring for our parents.

Jennifer (anonymous only because I don't blog)

8:15 AM  
Blogger ~Patricia~ said...

Dearest Jennnifer - Thank you so much for your kinds words. I pray that I can be an encouragement to you in the future - it is my mission and my passion. My mother had always said that she didn't want to be a burden to me and that I should let her live in a nursing home, if that was needed, but she was eventually unable to make the decision for herself. What she could not have known was that I was far more "burdened" by having my father in a nursing home for those 2 1/2 months before his death than I ever was caring for her in my home. Please do not hesitate to email me if there is anything I can ever do to help you. In His Love ~ Patricia

8:53 PM  

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