Women are the care takers on the planet. That is one of our instinctive functions spiritually. A lot of us understand intellectually that there may come a time when our elderly parents may require full-time care. Some people are prepared for it, some are not. One thing we can ask ourselves is can we take care of our parents the way they cared for us as children? Caring for our spouses and children seems a little more natural, but parents?
Hope Gamble, without hesitation, made arrangements to care full-time for her mother. She shares her story with Women Move the Soul.
Were you prepared to care for your mother full-time? Had it been something that you thought about previously? What kind of process did you go through as far as your thinking and your emotions?
My mom has always been a strong woman. She and my dad raised 9 children, me being the youngest. We have always lived in a house and always have always had enough food and clothing. My mom watched my children when I worked; I never had to worry about finding daycare or outside child-care for my children. When she got to the age where she could not work anymore, she stayed home and my dad worked.
In 2009, she became ill. She had not been to a doctor in 30 years and she could hardly move because her legs were so swollen. I tried to get her to go to the doctor’s, but she said its nothing a “Bayer Aspirin” would not cure. By June 2009, we had to have a nurse come to the house every other day to wrap her legs and check on her. I ended up quitting my job at the library because unfortunately my other siblings could not come and check on her daily like she needed, and dad was working.
One day at the end of August, my dad came home and sat on the edge of the bed and said he did not feel well. He went into the hospital that Friday, and mom went to hospital the following Monday. My dad found out he had cancer and my mom found out she had gangrene in the leg and needed to have it amputated. After mom got her leg amputated, we found out my dad had four weeks left to live. He said “dont tell your mother.” It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my life. I chose to tell her.
I wheeled my dad in to see my mom and the first thing she said was “Do you have any money hidden in the walls?”…It was so funny and at the same time so sad to see my parents who have been married 56 years…who grew up as kids on the farm together in Pamplico, South Carolina…who have NEVER been separated look at each other like they did.
I had the help of hospice to take care of dad at home until he passed Oct 8, 2009. He was my best friend – My Ace! I was the “baby” and my dad and I were so close. My mom and I always had a relationship that was somewhat “strained”. Maybe a lack of communication, or whatever it may have been…my dad was always the buffer. I went through so many different emotions when he passed. I felt as though he “left” me with all these responsibilities. I was sad and angry and cried every night.
I would go to the nursing home every day to see mom and I took care of the house and everything that came with it. My brothers and sisters would not offer much help so I basically had to do it on my own. I learned so much going to the nursing home everyday. Even after having 3 knee surgeries, I was not worried about how I would take care of mom in the “physical” sense…I worried about the “emotional” part of it. Would we get along?…”Would I be able to please her?” …”Where can I run to if she gets me mad?” Mom has been home since May 24, 2010, the day after my 40th Birthday and I must say that we are both doing well.