Since the beginning of time, women have traditionally taken care of their families, but the term 'caretaker' is relatively new.  Because mankind is living longer, helping and supporting our elderly loved ones has become a new focus for many.

I've been helping my folks, 89 and 92, for close to five years now, since a stroke knocked my dad flat for awhile.  He recovered very well, but has since sustained another small stroke in the same area of his brain.  He and my mom live in an assisted living facility a mile from our home.

Dad and Mom on their wedding day in 1950.

I could write a book - and maybe someday I will - about walking along side my parents in the aging process.  We've laughed, and we've cried.  I've been very loved on, and I've had days where I felt completely alone.  I've felt very grown up, and had moments where I was sure I was only five.  

Day to day, hour to hour, things can change.  By small shifts, or massive gapes.  Over the course of this month alone, there will probably be an S curve or two.  It's a rewarding, but heart-tugging adventure.  I'm learning as I go.  

I have learned one thing for sure.  In the flesh, I am often weak and sad.  In the spirit, I am confident my parents are in God's hands.  He alone determines the number of days we have breath.

And He is trustworthy. 


Retired Knitter said...

I hear you friend! I feel I am walking right beside all those who have the determination and heart to do what both you and I are doing. And it takes both qualities to be successful at this.

I have been off the blog land wagon for a bit - hope to return again soon. And I lost my Google Reader and I haven't figured out how to transfer my subscriptions to another reader! (Only 48,000 google readers have done this successfully, and then there is me!!!)

Anyway, probably a good time to pare down the list, but you, dear lady will remain.

Glad to see you on A to Z this year. I opted to skip it this time.

Take care.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

There are many in your shoes. Yes people are living longer. Your parents are blessed to have you. Great post!

Anonymous said...

It's important to appreciate them while they are here, as you do. Some of us would give anything to have our parents still here to care for... thanks for writing a poignant piece.


Unknown said...

I love the photo of your parents, Mare. I love old photos. I'll probably use some before the A to Z is over. Have a great day!

Jenelle Leanne said...

I did click on your link because I thought, "Hey, cool, I like baseball!" ha ha.

I am also a fan of plays-on-words.

Very nice blog. Checkin' in from A-Z... I will be back!


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We dealing with helping our mother adjust to long term care. It's very difficult.

Unknown said...

Love the picture of you're parents Mare, they're adorable. As a person in the same boat find the most difficult thing for me as a caretaker is all the meds! My mom's meds are always being changed and adjusted, drives me crazy!

Joyce said...

It is a very challenging path to walk. I think our generation is experiencing this season in a new way since people live longer, stay healthier, have more opinions and options for care...your parents are lucky to have you walking beside them.

S.P. Bowers said...

I've been watching my grandfather walk this path. I live to far away to help as the family cares for him and my grandmother. It's a hard thing to do but I know I've also missed some good times too.

Elizabeth said...

The posts you write about your parents are always so touching and very, very loving. Read Jen's post about Courage today. You exhibit great courage in your care for and caring of your parents.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I can't recall I been here before ... but I like were I landed.
I like your gentle and caring post here about your parents.
Thanks for visiting me and good luck with the challenge.

LuAnn @ BackPorchervations said...

Following from the A to Z Challenge.

I so agree with you. My father passed at 47. I am older than that now. My mother passed at 87. She was going downhill for several years. I was many states away with my own family by then, but I got to visit a couple of weeks before she passed. Just before I left her bedside the last time, I bent down and whispered in her ear, "I love you, Mom. God loves you." I am so glad I got that chance.

Unknown said...

I've been so blessed that we could afford to add an apartment on to our house for my Mom. I get to keep an eye on her. You SHOULD write a book!!
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I look forward to reading more of your A to Z posts!
Peanut Butter and Whine

Lynn Proctor said...

God bless you mare, i know a little about care-giving and is a daily challenge :)

Kate Sherwood said...

I love that you illustrated this post with their wedding photo.

It is interesting, this circle of life.

Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

Juli said...

It's an odd point in life when you realize that your raising children AND your parents.

Thankfully, my parents are only 60. But Tony's mom is 76 and not in great health. *sigh* His brother and family live with her so the burden is not on us so much any more, but still...

A weird place indeed.

Dana Martin said...

Awwww... I really, really, really love this blog post. So beautiful, so eloquent... so vulnerable.

I especially like the end. You ended it perfectly.

This was precious. Thank you.

See you tomorrow. :)

Waiter, drink please!

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

What a lovely post! It must be tough looking after such old and fragile people, particularly when they are your own parents. My parents have not got to that stage yet. Keep up the good work!

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Jaime said...

If you wrote a book about your experiences, I would buy it. You're setting the bar for us "younger" folks when it comes to caregiving.

Jerralea said...

Wonderful post, Mare. And I love, love, love that photo of your folks on their wedding day.

I've often heard the golden years referred to as a second childhood. Your description of how things change moment by moment with your parents makes me feel that really is the case.

You definitely should write a book about caretaking.