Growing up, I would see how my mother cared for my grandmother and grandfather. She worried about them and made sure that they were safe and well. The many visits to check up on them had built a foundation for me.
I have cared for my own mother here in the United States for 25 years. And she has also taken care of me and helped raise my 4 children.
As a mother, my nurturing ways makes me my family’s caregiver. But what happens when aging parent gets very sick and needs to be cared for?
You see ….. the actuality of being a “Caregiver” is not for everyone. I know this, only because when I became one, some of my friends would comment and say to me, that they could never do what I was doing.
Caregiving is a task that comes with — not only a caring heart and hand, but a lot of patience and a strong stomach to handle unexpected situations.
It’s physically and emotionally draining. The caregiver also needs plenty of support from her loved ones.
When my mother got old and got real sick, I became her primary caregiver. But to my surprise, I could actually handle two mothers at the same time.
I was offered to care for my mother-in-law who was at the early onset of Alzheimer’s in 2015. During the early stages of her illness, she just needed a companion. Someone to drive her around, keep her company and make sure that she was okay. I was able to incorporate these two wonderful women in my daily routine of making sure that they felt loved, acknowledged and cared for.
This was my life, day in and day out for four years.
I look back and feel gratified with the kind of caregiving I have done. As my mother in law’s Alzheimer progressed, I found myself doing so much more than just being her companion. I would give her showers, get her dressed, feed her, get her ready for the day, take her to her doctor’s appointments, drill her with math problems, card games, doing spelling, coloring books,—-(just to help work on her memory) and to my surprise, I discovered a method I could use that I can call my very own—— I incorporated singing children’s nursery rhyme songs, and rewriting the lyrics using words that would make her remember her children’s names and other things like- looking good and feeling good, and fighting to keep her spirit alive!
I even made a presentation board that will show her – her own “Family Tree”. I glued pictures and wrote names of everyone, while my son Trevor connected lines to each member of the family. This helped my mother in law with face recognition and names.
When the “visiting nurses” from the hospital would come to check up on my mother in law’s vitals, and sometimes do physical therapy- they would tell me how amazed they were with my method of caring.
You see…. I challenged my mother in law’s brain by keeping her active every day.
People would say to me…. “I don’t know how you can do this!”
Well….I took pride in it and I could not be prouder to be my mother in law’s caregiver!
I look back and just can’t believe how I did it.
I ran a household of 4 kids, a husband, and my own mother living in one house —-and I was able to care for my mother in law who has Alzheimer’s. When I accepted the job of caring for my mother-in-law, it was so easy because I had so much love for my husband – therefore my love just overflowed from him to his parents.
The hardest part of that 4 years was the negative energies I got from some people within the family.
Some did not agree and some would say that I was not qualified to do the job.
I respected everyone’s feelings. If I had focused my attention on what will only hurt me- I would not have been attentive to what was needed to do the job right.
My father in law couldn’t be more thankful that I was caring for his wife. My husband’s sister had such peace of mind knowing that I was with her mother. And My husband John would bring me home flowers just to thank me for the hard work, and love I have for his mother. I was told by others….and strongly believe – that the best person to care for a sick parent – – if possible—— is a family member! 🙌🏻
So the moment came when my mother in law was in her severe stage —— now it was time!
It was time for my father in law to hire someone “full time” – someone who is certified, a live-in – and who could care for her physical daily needs.
I look back and I still cannot believe to this very day – the opportunity I was given to experience what it was like to be a caregiver.
My mother in law is now bedridden. It is very sad. I miss the days of just walking around the mall for hours, taking her places, singing songs in the car, and just being able to connect.
And as for my own mother, she always said that she will never get to the point where I would have to clean her and change her clothes. She decided to go back to the Philippines in 2017, and felt it was time too—- she got really sick there and was cared for by my brother Raffy.
I cannot thank my brother Raffy enough for taking on my role as our mother’s caregiver. It was such a challenge for me to manage her care from 20,000 miles away! My brother Raffy was our rock. When our mother passed away, he was on her bedside with my very good friend Maryanne (who’s like a sister to me).
I was on my way to the Philippines 🇵🇭- 2 hours into my flight, my mother joined our creator ✝️
I miss her so much! In March of 2019, our mother succumbed to Pneumonia.
Now I reminisce…… I remember cooking every single day and bringing it up to my mother’s bedside for one full year after she had her 2nd mild stroke here in the U.S.
I remember just driving her around because she loved being in the car, going places and looking at things.
It didn’t matter if I was wheeling her in her wheelchair – her disability did not stop me, or her. She did the same thing with her parents.
So that is the circle of life!
Seeing what my mom did with her own parents is what I did. I can’t tell you how many times a stranger has approached me, in malls, restaurants, or doctor’s waiting rooms—— they say —- the gates of heaven are open for me.
I just know that I have already built a foundation for my children!
I love you Mom Mary Spitaletta ❤️
I love you and miss you my Dearest Mommy ❤️ Ms. Annie Brazil ✝️