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  • The heat and humidity have returned to the Grand Strand of South Carolina with a vengeance. Yesterday morning and evening, it was just too damned hot to ride. I could barely breathe. I did take my morning reading, did a few yoga poses, and meditation by the lake with the fountain at the front of the complex here.

    I was feeling a bit out of sorts most of the day, yesterday. Some helpful suggestions had come in for things I could be doing here, just as I had worked things out and was managing to juggle being here for Mom, making it as livable and tolerable as I possibly could for her, setting it up so it will be easier for the next sibling who comes in after me; all, while trying to keep up with the couple of major projects at work that I’m supposed to be leading, and taking care of myself, nurturing my own spirit and soul, in the process. It’s a necessary balance one must strike.

    It takes a lot to coordinate everything and to get it to where you feel like you’re doing the best that you can on all fronts. Then someone makes a suggestion, or a couple of people make suggestions, about what else you could be doing, or what you could hook up to help someone else be included, and these suggestions take you way outside your comfort zone, and throw you off your established rhythm, and you wind up with the feeling, all day, that you’re not doing enough. Like yesterday.

    I’ll just say it –that’s a really crappy feeling. It takes you out of “being here now”, that I really work hard to do. I know, that sounds funny – “work hard to be here now? Isn’t that kind of counter-intuitive?” Of course it is – welcome to my world! Left to my own devices, and the vicissitudes of my mind gone unchecked, I would be everywhere in the universe but “here now”. It takes an effort on my part to be here. This is why I, almost religiously, set aside a half hour to an hour each morning for reading, contemplation, and meditation. This helps. But, it is certainly not a perfect science.

    So, I was feeling not good enough, feeling like I was letting Mom down, feeling stupid and unskilled because I don’t know skype from snipe, and Ipads just scare me. I had one once – great paper weight! Never did see what value it added to the electronic gadgetry I already had at my disposal, and wound up selling it to my brother-in-law. Now I’m supposed to be trying to hook up skype on the Ipad? And, getting contradictory information about how to do that? Come on – I just hooked up the fax line for the printer/copier/fax we brought in here last week, so people will have that capability. That’s about the extent of my IT capacity, o.k.? “Oh, but it’s easy…” Uh-huh – easy for you to say. Now, I’m feeling even more stupid. And not doing what I should be doing. Man, and things were going so well for a few days there.

    Then, it’s the massage thing. I have begun giving Mom neck, shoulder and back massages in her chair, when she’s getting the heavy waves of shoulder pain, and this really seems to help. But that’s not enough. I’m supposed to give her a full body massage now. I’m sorry…that’s just not me. I would honestly be worried about breaking something. Somehow, I just don’t think either of us would be very comfortable with that scenario. So, I say I’ll consider that, but I don’t. That’s just not me. I am not a physical therapist. I don’t think Mom and I need that level of intimacy, and I think we are both o.k. with that. But, it’s one more thing that makes me feel like I should be doing more. Man, I hate that feeling!

    I have taken the approach of, I’m allowing her to do what she feels she wants to do. If she wants to walk around her apartment without her walker, I let her. If there’s a price she’ll pay later on for that, it’s her price. I will not treat her like a child. I will not tell her what to do. It is her life, and I see my job as supporting her, as best I can, to live her life in the fashion that best allows her to feel like herself. She deserves that. She has earned that right. I am here to support her in doing that. I am told that sometimes, you have to tell her what to do. Well, I’m just not going to do that. It doesn’t feel right to me. I’ll make suggestions, but this is her life, not mine. Another thing that made me feel a little inadequate yesterday.

    Thank God that was yesterday. Today, I’m back to being here, now. Back to being o.k. working within my comfort zone. This is me. This is my way of being here with Mom. This will do. It works for us. I respect her dignity, and I encourage her to be as independent as she can be, because she and I are cut out of that same independent cloth, and that’s what I would want someone to do for me if I was in her shoes.

    Today went great. We went to see Laura, her physical therapist for her legs, who we avoided for 3 weeks because we didn’t like her assistant and Laura was away. We did everything here that Laura would normally do, and nephew Nathan sent in these leg wraps that made wrapping her legs much easier than the cumbersome ace-wraps Laura’d been using. Mom was afraid Laura wouldn’t approve, that she would scold us. Laura said the legs looked great, loved the wraps, and had no problems at all. Coming out of there, I said, “How about the Beach?” Mom hasn’t been to the beach all year. I planted a seed earlier in the week, and went down to pick up the beach chairs to have them handy. She said, “Sure”, and that was that. We grabbed lunch, then hit the beach.

    Sitting there with her on the beach, her absolutely favorite place to be in the whole world, a place she’d not been able to go to all year because of her myriad health issues, and might have even thought she’d never get to again – sitting there with her was heaven. It does not get any better than that. Forget about all the rest, for that hour or so that we sat there, taking in the sun, the surf, the amazing sky, the salty breeze, the sand. That moment will stay with me for the rest of my life. We debated high-tailing it out of there when the forboding clouds rolled in, but decided to defy Mother Nature, me and Mom did, and Mother Nature just laughed and deluged all over us, and we just laughed back and made our way back to the car, drenched, contented, laughing, and both agreeing it was all worth it.

    Tomorrow…we might just do it again!
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