Forgiveness was easy for you then–why isn’t it now?

Coronavirus has made it painfully clear:  Life is fragile. Life if unpredictable. Do you have unfinished business or need to make amends? This could be your last best opportunity—the time to do it is now. Denial and procrastination are pathways to regret.

See the AgingCare article “Caregivers can Celebrate Mother’s Day With Forgiveness” by Carol Bradley Bursack. It is sage and timely advice—especially for mothers and daughters—and it really hitting home with me this year in a way I never expected.

  • The sainted ideal of motherhood is a myth.
  • Mothers are only human and therefore have flaws. Your mother may have been a wounded soul who overcame her difficulties the best she could.
  • We need to understand, love, and forgive ourselves for our perceived failures. We need to try to understand, love and forgive our mothers for their imperfections, too.
  • Perfection is hard to define and is a matter of perspective.
  • Most mothers did their best, and most of us come to realize this.
  • Remember to look at your relationship through eyes of appreciation, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.
  • We are the sum-total of our life experiences, so nothing is completely forgotten. Forgiveness does not equate with forgetting.
  • Learn from mistakes—both yours and those of others.
  • Reaching forgiveness is important. It is needed in order to lose the guilt and to understand and forgive ourselves.
  • Anger and resentment make you bitter/disagreeable; they interfere with your ability to improve your own life.
Remember:  Deal with this now while the TIME is still available to you.

The Coronavirus Blues

See the Cargiving.Com article “The Decisions Caregivers Face During COVID-19” in which Denise reiterates a number of the points I have been making in in the past few weeks, as well as in an old posts from 2014.

Because of the Coronavirus, Denise had a discussion with her parents in March to assess their wishes for treatment.  They decided that being cared for at home was the safest course of action.  However, in April, Dad vacillated and said, “I don’t want to be put on a ventilator.” Denise had not considered that Dad, who always wanted to stay at home with Mom and not go to the hospital, would feel differently about Coronavirus because of the contagion factor and his concern about giving it to Mom. Denise concluded that it’s best to talk and to be prepared.   Nothing is certain, except that things will change.  Care plans will need to be tweaked and altered, but that’s okay.  What is not okay is the paralysis of indecision and procrastination.    

See also:

Have those difficult discussions. Do it now.

Caregiving contingencies

See the DailyCaring article:
Coronavirus and Caregiver Mental Health: 8 Coping Tips

  1. Maintain a regular daily routine and healthy lifestyle
  2. Improve sleep
  3. Focus on what you can control and limit “what if” thinking
  4. Give yourself a break
  5. Plan for your older adult’s care in case you get sick
  6. Take mini breaks throughout the day
  7. Remember, you are not alone
  8. Use humor to relieve tension

Each tip contains suggestions for how to accomplish the recommendations with additional links provided.    

I relate to #5 in particular.  Having a contingency plan for caregiving was something we overlooked when I took on the responsibility of being a fulltime caregiver for my mother-in-law.  Still in my 50’s at the onset, I was a healthy and energetic.  I did not foresee how the responsibility and the stress of escalating needs would take such a toll on my physical wellbeing. 

Undertaking a caregiving role is sometimes a very gradual process, but in the case of a crisis situation, it can be very sudden. In either case, caregiving responsibilities usually escalate as needs multiply over time. The less able our loved ones become, the greater their sense of independence lost. And as needs escalate, so does conflict. Caregivers sometimes begin by providing support in such areas as yard work or home repairs, followed by assistance with IADLs: telephone communication, housekeeping, laundry, food preparation, transportation, and managing medications and finances. Perhaps a greater sense of dependence involves the need for support with ADLs: bathing, dressing, grooming, ambulating, transferring, toileting, and feeding. The list of caregiving tasks grows and grows; the specifics are customized to each individual situation. When I was no longer able to care for my mother-in-law because of my knee replacement surgery, I wrote a job description for our nephew, which, in addition to the above-listed responsibilities, included the following tasks:
*Maintain an updated medical history to take to all doctor appointments
*Maintain hearing aids; help to put them in
*Manage oxygen
*Perform wound care
*Order medications, medical supplies, and equipment
*Order incontinence products
*Take to hair and nail appointments
*Provide opportunity for recreational activity
*Schedule and direct help—aides and hospice personnel

What to Do about Mama? p. 162

It is important not to make promises and commitments to the point that there is no way out. 

Taking Some of the Fear Out of Dying Alone

When I look at the obituary page, I always think “how nice” when I read that someone died surrounded by family. But that does not always happen, especially in these times of coronavirus when families are often separated from their dying loved ones. Thanks to Barbara Karnes for sharing information about what happens at the time of death and for making the thought of dying alone less frightening.

Described below is from a hospice nurse sharing her experience with her own mother’s death.

I sat vigil for most of the twenty-four hours. My husband, daughter, and son were with me for most of the time. I sent them home around eight p.m. All the clinical signs of impending death were there, but she didn’t want to let go. She was unresponsive, but at one point, when my family was with me, I attempted to do mouth care with a sponge/stick. From under the sheet, up came her fist, which she shook at me. We looked at one another and laughed. She was still mad at me. That was so Mom. Around five a.m., I had this strong feeling that she did not want me there. It was so clear. I packed up, alerted the nurses, and drove home. I had just fallen asleep when the nursing home called me to say that she passed. I did not feel any guilt. I knew that was what she wanted.

What to Do about Mama p. 286

Coronavirus Coping Skills for Seniors


A Sad Reality

See the source image
Alone. . .but not unloved

When my daughter decided that we needed to social distance, a morose thought immediately went through my head. “If I get Coronavirus and die, I will never be in the same room, or get to hug my children or grandchildren again.”  Do you think I’m being overly dramatic?  Read the article below.