Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Compassion on a Rainy Day

I had already decided what I wanted to share today as part of One Word Wednesday before I got all the way out of bed this morning.  The word this week is COMPASSION.  I had a story ready to share.  And then I got up....

Today is my husband's birthday, so I had a mission - a doughnut run.  To Shipley's for the best devils food doughnuts in town (our opinion).  Candles, the happy birthday napkin, singing, breakfast in bed...the whole shebang!  I got up extra early to make it all happen and still keep mom on schedule...

...and she'd had another accident. 

My initial reaction was to put my head down...not sure if I was going to cry or scream. 

Thankfully, I looked over to see how bad it was and how it happened and I saw the sadness in her eyes.  She had no idea who had come and wet her bed.  She had no idea how it had happened or why she was wet or if she had told me or if it was time to get up or just time to go to bed...

And I remembered looking up COMPASSION online last night ... "...along with a strong desire to alleviate their suffering."  And that was exactly what my heart was telling me.

I am off-the-chart empathetic.  I can't help it.  I am a hot mess at a movie - totally invested, totally in tears or on the edge of my seat, whatever - I am a director/actor's dream audience.  I am the same way with books, commercials, YouTube videos...those Pet Rescue videos...OMG!!!  So, there is no way I can look at this sweet old woman with tears in her eyes and this look of absolute dependency on her face and not want to make it all better.

I am admittedly tired of cleaning up pee.  Even when it's so awful that it's funny.  Even when I can write about it and let it all go.  Even when I have had a good night's sleep and an empty washing machine.  I wanted to scream.  To pound my fists and stomp my feet and throw that bedding across the room.  I'm pretty sure I considered wagging my finger at mom - scolding her.  What the heck?!

She is an infant.  A puppy.  A sick old woman with the world's most awful disease who is doing the best she can.  And compassion - my desire to "make it all better" - allowed me to see that.  Allowed me to start a casual conversation about making coffee and jelly selections while I quickly removed her bedding.  Allowed me to grab a warm washcloth and towel and help her clean up while I told her a funny story about the doughnuts I bought this morning.  Allowed me to give her normal, every-morning prompts to help her dress.

The plus of Alzheimer's is even though it might be obvious to me (and most of the non-ALZ world) that something had happened since the bedding was pulled, mom didn't seem to notice.  And all of a sudden, she wasn't sad anymore.  She was asking about her schedule for today.  And oohing and ahhing over her coffee.  Just another day in the life of a caregiver.

And I felt at peace with myself.  The sheets would need to be washed whether I lost my cool or not.  That darned comforter would need to be strategically shoved into my machine with just the right amount of detergent even if I threw a fit and stomped my feet.  The bed wasn't going to make itself if I went off the deep end.

Compassion saved the day!  I was able to be an example for my kids.  A nurturer for my mom.  For heaven's sake - I had a box of doughnuts in my house...can you imagine if I had lost it - I could have polished off 5 or 6 of those babies and gone into that weird, buzzy sugar high followed by the migraine of all migraines if I had not taken time to let compassion win.

So, maybe I'll tell my "planned" story another day.  For today - I just wanted to write a thank you note to compassion for saving my day!

1 comment:

  1. God certainly blessed your Mom when he gave her you for a daughter.