I’m exhausted. Raw. Completely overwhelmed with no sensible reason that I can pinpoint.
I spent the last week trying to get it together, trying to pretend I wasn’t losing my mind and unraveling emotionally, and barely holding together my days. I kept trying to find a logical reason why, after all these years (seven!) of doing some form of caregiving for Mom, now that things are more or less stable, that I’d be having a breakdown.
But sometimes there’s no logic. Something is going on with me and shifting, and I can’t deny it anymore. My heart feels like it’s breaking open and every visit to Mom, including the long drive there and back home, is emotionally excruciating. I’ve been feeling like I can’t do this anymore, though to give up is not what I want.
I’ll be traveling a bunch during the next couple months and I think I’ve been feeling guilty and scared to leave Mom without anyone to check up on her care.
I finally got some sleep, and then remembered to seek consolation from my favorite author to turn to when I’m sure everything is going down the drain.
Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun who writes in a humorous, liberating, down to earth way about what to do when you hit the wall completely and feel there’s nowhere to turn.
No matter how bad things have ever seemed, so far her words can always lift me to a new perspective where I can take a few breaths, reframe, and take the next step.
I own a handful of her books. Last night the one I opened up was, “The Wisdom of No Escape”. It was perfect for the situation I’m finding myself in right now. After reading a couple chapters I knew what I wanted to try again. I turned to Craigslist. Here’s the ad I posted:
Seeking Social Visitor for Senior with Dementia
Date: 2012-06-11, 9:47AM CDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m seeking a kind, patient, interesting, fun person to visit my mother for about an hour per day on the days when I cannot, in the afternoon or early evening. Days are flexible – I can work with your schedule, but I tend to need more help on weekends. Young people, seniors, and people of all ethnicities/races are welcome to apply, but my mother usually prefers females, due to her feelings of vulnerability, although if you’re a younger man with great social skills and experience in this field, she might be convinced otherwise.
You must be very comfortable around people with dementia (my mom’s is mild – she can hold a conversation that usually makes sense). She lives in Memory Care and gets really bored, so I like to get her out in the sunshine for fresh air and to see the flowers, which she loves.
It’d be great if you have some background and personal experience with caring for the elderly, but not necessary. The staff takes care of anything she may need regarding personal care or mobility, and they will help you move her wheelchair outside if it’s too heavy for you. She just needs some verbal stimulation and a fresh, smiling face to give her some attention once in a while! She’s a smart, creative lady underneath her disability, so she prefers being around people who have a lot of interests, can talk about anything, and are open-minded. Her favorite people are often gardeners, artists, musicians, or any creative types who love life and nature.
Her favorite visits often involve heading out to the inner courtyard to see the flowers, chatting, and eating some olives or cheese or fruit, or scones and coffee- her favorite snacks. I’ll reimburse for any foods you bring and share.
The first dates I’m looking for visits to her are the weekend of June 22, June 25th, and the weekend of June 30th.
Payment is flexible depending on your experience and requirements. Please let me know the hourly wage you would suggest when you email.
**You must have a crystal clean background check and 2-3 wonderful character references**