In a beautiful post “Caregiving: Wisdom for the Sandwich Generation,” Christian blogger Michele Morin (Living Our Days) writes about being startled awake one night and needing to do a “balance check”:
Exhaling in the dark, I realized . . . no. I had been dreaming. She’s not here anymore. She’s walking in safety now, through hallways with sturdy rails, assisted by M.A.’s and C.N.A.’s and an alphabet soup of helpers who tend to her every need.
In another article at The Perennial Gen,” she writes of “New Mummy Guilt: Putting Your Parent in a Care Facility.” This is a story I can relate to, in reverse: Watching my mother die by inches in the dark, squalid memory care facility goaded me into bringing her home to live with us. Like Michele, I had hoped that it would redeem the hard places of our relationship (and thankfully, it has). But it also involved navigating the “wilderness of self-doubt, second guessing, and impossible choices.” Can you relate to that, too?
In the days following his release in September 2017, Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil spoke of two things that kept him sane during that nightmarish eighteen-month period following his capture during the ISIS attack of the home for the elderly run in Aden, Yemen, in which twelve souls (including four MoC sisters) perished. In a Catholic Herald article, the Salesian priest attributes his peace of mind to the Eucharist (and spiritual communion once the hosts ran out) and the words of a Christian hymn:
“One day at a time, sweet Jesus … Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus, and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord, help me today, show me the way, one day at a time.”
This song is the heartbeat of most mothers, I think — but perhaps especially those of us in the “sandwich generation” who must do what seems impossible, humanly speaking, every day. This is the secret, I’ve discovered: Just taking it a day at a time, and not worrying (yet) about tomorrow. As Jesus wisely pointed out, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil” (Matthew 6:34).
When you are walking the dark, disorienting halls of dementia with someone you love, this verse needs to be stamped upon your heart. Today is enough — enough to capture the joys and sorrows, the humor and the tears. In Jesus Calling, the little devotional mom and I read each night before bed, I was reminded last night, “Live in the present, for that is where you will always find Me.”
I’d encourage you to check out Michele’s blog, which is full of encouragement for adult caregivers. I’m adding it to the blog roll so you can find it easily. God bless your day!