Wednesday, 26 August 2015
The Care Partner Wednesday-- The Care Partner's Alphabet--Y
Y is for yesterday. Be careful not to deify it.
What are your best memories?
I remember a time in the early years of our marriage. We were on our hands and knees, washing the kitchen floor. I can't remember why, but things were tense, when suddenly the picture we made struck us both funny and we began to giggle, then laugh uncontrollably until our sides hurt. That was almost forty years ago, but the memory is vivid. I also see us driving into Pioneer Camp for a week of family camp, and someone stopping us before the car was parked to ask, "Do you have a song this year?" Bill was a talented guitarist, but one of his little-known talents (except among that group) was his ability to take a popular tune and write words about someone at camp that had everyone hysterical with laughter. One year it was the camp director and his red shirts. Another, it was a couple who got lost in the woods. I still have those songs in a binder, and they are precious to me.
Memories are a gift. Bill has been gone almost eight years now, and I have moved on, but those memories remain as a warm reminder of the good times. The problem comes when the memories become deified.
When what I remember--yesterday--becomes bigger than today. When that happens, today gets lost.
I often see it at work. Perhaps Mom had an exciting career, raised three children and looked after the house. Now she doesn't say much, or remember those children. When they come to visit, it hurts to see her as she is. They remember her vibrancy, her fabulous meals, her jokes, her love. They look at her and feel they have lost her.
In some senses, they have. The person they knew is gone, and will never return. Yesterday is gone. Remember it, mourn it's loss, but move on. If you don't, you will miss today.
What does today look like? What can Mom do? She may not know your name, but she knows you are important to her when you visit, and her smile lights the room. She may not be able to bake cookies any more, but she still enjoys eating one with you. Especially the homemade chocolate chip ones you make from her recipe. She can't remember the names of the flowers she used to have in her garden, but she loves you to push her in her wheelchair through the neighbourhood, so you can admire the gardens together.
Resist the temptation to deify yesterday. Celebrate each today.
Tomorrow is never for sure.