With Mother’s Day 2017 approaching, we spoke to some dedicated men and women who show their love and appreciation to their mothers not just on Mother’s Day, but all year round – through the sun and rain, good and bad, easy and difficult.
So this year on Mother’s Day, as we remember and appreciate the love of the devoted Moms who brought us here, let’s also celebrate the quiet heroes who remember their love for their elderly moms 365 days a year.
Grace, a young mother of 3, is also the only daughter of Jeanette L. from Asheville, North Carolina, who began the aging process young as dementia set in early, leaving her a shell of the vibrant woman she was just a few short years ago.
“The second hardest thing,” Grace shared with AvaCare Medical, “is juggling my duties as a wife and mother with the added chores of caring for an elderly patient who needs just as much attention and care – if not more – as my husband and children do. It leaves me so drained… if I didn’t also make time to show myself some love, I would probably have fallen apart long ago.
“But the hardest thing, the thing that kills me inside, is watching my mother, who is still in her 40’s, the strength ebbing from her, the sadness in her eyes, the helplessness and fear… She used to be the one I turned to when I needed help, but now she’s the needy one… I can’t get used to it – I don’t know if I ever will.”
When asked how she does it, Grace had a very simply answer:
I love them. I love my mom, I love my family, and I’m gonna give them everything I’ve got as long as I’ve got it. I think that’s obvious… I mean, she’s my mom.
Ellie is a loving mother, grandmother… and daughter. Her aging mother lives in an assisted living, but Ellie steps in to help her balance her checkbooks, take care of housekeeping, do her shopping and serve as her cheering squad, lifting up her moods and encouraging her to get out a bit.
“It so much a part of my life,” Ellie shares, “I don’t see it as amazing… I just help her do things; help her get things done… I do it because I love her.”
Ellie has six siblings, two of whom live in the same town as her and her mom – and this presents as one of her greatest challenges.
In her words: “One of the hardest things about having an elderly mother is juggling the many opinions and keeping peace. My sister takes care of the medical things, but when there are disagreements or confusions, I step in to be the sounding board for them.
“I serve the role of peace-maker, and I’ve learned to try and appreciate what the others are doing for my mom that I wouldn’t be able to shoulder instead of resenting their opinions and advice. At the end of the day, it’s really true what they say – one mother can take care of seven children, but seven children can’t take care of one mother.”
The best thing I can do for my mother is make sure that as she ages, she can know that her children have peace.
Howard B. could have retired years ago, but he’s still as active as ever – “luckily for my mom!” he says.
Howard’s mom is similarly independent, despite being 81 years old, but she can’t drive anymore, so he does her errands and brings her to her appointments.
“It’s not always easy,” Howard relates, “always being available to get her a bottle of milk when she runs out, pick up a new medication that she needs urgently, or make her deposits when she needs money in her account… But then I remind myself, she did so much more for me when I was growing up. Even once I left the house, she never really left me… Until this day, she’s always available for me when I need to talk, and she’s constantly calling me to ask how I’m doing, how my kids are faring… I have so much appreciation for her, that I can’t possibly feel resentful that she needs me now.
“When I call her to remind her to take her morning pills,” Howard laughs, “she’ll always ask me if I’ve remembered to take mine.”
She’s just the kind of mom I would wish on anyone… and I want to be the same kind of son.
What are your experiences as a caregiver for your parent? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like your story to be shared on our blog!