April 1, 2020-It’s My Birthday!

 

I write this on the first day of April, the first day of my 59th year, 2020.

It’s been 2 months and 11 days since my mom passed away and I’ve been missing from social media since then and even longer. I had intended to post this on March 19, two months after her passing. And the Coronavirus happened and we were put on a shelter in place order. I’ve been in constant change since January. I am grateful that she isn’t here to see all the craziness.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s the back story. In July 2019 I resigned from my corporate job to be my mom’s full-time caregiver. Her health issues for the past couple years and was getting progressively worse even though we didn’t have a firm diagnosis. My dad had quit driving after a minor car accident. They now needed someone to take them shopping and to doctor ‘s appointments. Dad took care of my mom as far as preparing meals and helping her get dressed, however he wasn’t going to give her a shower, wash the laundry or clean the house.

That’s where I stepped in. Mom and I didn’t always see eye to eye overall they were glad to have me. For instance, Mom wanted the house squeaky clean; I wanted to take her outside and visit with her. Dad liked to shop early; I didn’t arrive early enough for them.

My dad wanted to go on errands. We went to a store or an appointment just about every day. I know it’s because he wanted to get out of the house. Mom was too weak to go out and about only going to appointments when it was absolutely necessary. She’s right. It was hard to get her out and transport her. But we did it because we knew she needed it.

In October Mom decided she was getting worse, although we didn’t have an actual diagnosis, she knew she wasn’t well. We went to her primary care doctor who ran series of tests-that day. Mom also admitted she had a lump on her breast that had been growing for the past three years.

Not surprising, she was officially diagnosed with breast cancer in November. The only option for her based on her age and health, and some other medical factors, was surgery to remove the breast and make her comfortable. Mom wanted the cancer to go away but she did not want surgery and have to recover from that.

In mid-November she went on hospice though her condition didn’t change. Now we had a nurse coming to see her twice a week and an aide who came to bathe her twice a week and visits from the chaplain, social worker and even a special visit on her birthday! I continued to care for her only now there wouldn’t be any trips to doctors and someone else did showers. (Shower day was hard for both of us.)

In December, after Christmas, she was in more pain than usual and agreed to take the pain medicine that was provided by hospice. On January 3, she declined greatly and became bed ridden. Our nurse now came everyday and the aid came three times a week. We hired a live-in caregiver and I became secondary. She died peacefully and alone in the middle of the night on January 19, 2020.

There are many stories that need to be told and over time I will tell them.

For now, I am caring for my father. He’s doing well but he doesn’t do laundry or housework – or drive. I go to his house 4 to 5 days a week. I’m set up to practice health coaching again and selling on eBay, my two passions.

Now COVID 19 has given us new challenges. My dad was just starting to get out again and visit friends and attend events around his hobby. The events he was looking forward to attending are cancelled through June and he can’t see is friends or go shopping. I feel sad for him.

So on this first day of April, a new month, a new quarter a new normal. Change is always guaranteed. I will make the best of it and enjoy the daily joys. Today many calls and texts and sunshine.