Recently, I got to spend some time with an elderly lady who moves slower than molasses and doesn’t always remember details. Also, I got to help her bathe. And then? The memories came .,,
I remember taking a shower with my mom so that I could clean her body. She was sick with cancer and could not wash herself. I was young and too selfish and afraid to experience those memories as precious. Sadly, I chose to be her caregiver and not her daughter. And then, one day she was gone. Then I wished I had cared more about loving her and having time with her instead of just giving her care.
I cut off me hurting from losing her long before she was gone. Why? I was frightened of the pain.
Let me encourage you to stop and look the person you are caring for in the eye. Breathe in and breathe out. Listen to them breathe too. Then wait. Maybe God will give you a creative way to love them.
I used to frequent nursing homes because our oldest sister lived in one. She was bathed maybe twice a week if the staff was organized. Once I witnessed someone cleaning my sister. The lady was rough like sandpaper and moved so fast I barely saw the water get my sister wet. I cringed as I spied. After that I did what I could to ‘show up’ during bath time so that I could help them wash her myself. I even got to gently explain how they were the hands of kindness to a person who rarely got touched other than by her sisters. They had not considered that their bathing job was really a love job in disguise.
Listen, I just want to encourage you not to run so fast that you miss the one you are giving your care to. If your parents are elderly, enjoy every inconvenience. If you have a child who is challenged, love him or her as sincerely as you can. Remember you might be the only touch they get so be gentle and reassuring and above all, LOVE.
Until soon, Donna Reiners