Gratitude

Sometimes I get bogged down in the difficulties involved in caring for my parents. I often forget how my life has been enriched by their presence here.

Before my parents came to live with me, my house was in total disarray. It’s not in tip-top shape, now, but I have donated or tossed an amazing amount of my clutter.

I was very depressed, and the dishes and pans would pile up in the kitchen, only getting washed when they were needed. Now, pans may sit until the next day from time to time, but I try to keep the counter tops as clear as possible.

The laundry area was impossible to navigate, there was so much piled up. The bathroom next to the laundry area (the only one downstairs) was not usable because I had taken the toilet out to replace the ring and found the floor needed repair… and decided to rip off the wallpaper while the toilet was moved… and then I wound up having surgery and the room became a place to throw everything. When my mom needed to move here, we hired someone to finish the work I started and put in a new toilet. How wonderful to have a bathroom on the first floor again!!

The flooring on the first floor was in desperate need of replacing. My parents arrival forced that change as well. Such a relief.

We added on to the house, which was not something we had ever planned on, but that addition took the place of a screened porch that was an eyesore. I’m still dealing with all the crap that we had thrown out there to “take care of later.”

The biggest change has been a sense of purpose. Two years ago, I could not get myself together to do much of everything, but when it became imperative that mom and dad move from their home into a place where they could have help, I was pulled body and soul into the here and now. Reality check. I did not want to live like I was living.

I’m a hoarder. I have so much (still) that I don’t need, and having my parents here forces me to face this on a daily basis. I can’t retreat into inaction, or everything falls apart, and the fallout is impossible when that happens.

I suppose I should mention that I love my parents and it’s great knowing that I can help them remain in a home atmosphere for as long as possible. Sometimes they seem so miserable that I wonder why I’m doing this, but I know they would be more miserable in a nursing home setting so I have to keep that in mind. It’s hardest when my mother says things like “I feel like I’m not long for this world” or “I don’t know why I’m still alive”….

But I am grateful. Really. I am.

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