Tag Archives: Caregiving

Courage at Twilight: Miracle #2 (My Work)

I work as a municipal attorney for a small Utah town, advising the elected Mayor and City Council, the Planning Commission, and City department heads.  This has been my work for 28 years.  I rarely plan my days, which unfold in a never-ending series of problems and challenges, demands and crises.  (I disfavor the word “crisis,” which takes a mere situation and elevates it to a crisis, with all the increased stress of a crisis, instead of making the same situation simply something to solve.)  Working 50 hours a week in Tooele, plus ten hours of commuting, would hardly be conducive to fulfilling my primary purpose to care for my parents.  For the plan to work, I would need permission to work a flexible, non-traditional schedule.  Again, I solicited family prayers.  I presented my plan and my proposed schedule to my boss, the Mayor.  She enthusiastically approved, and even thanked me for choosing to help my parents at this point in their lives.  I will work four partial days a week in Tooele, plus remote hours from home on those days, plus working remotely from home on Fridays, and when needed on Saturdays.  I will still attend City Council meetings on Wednesday nights—after a career of some 5,000 Wednesday-night meetings, I see my week as Wednesday to Tuesday instead of Sunday to Saturday.  Anyway, this schedule, hopefully, will allow me both to work full-time and to be home enough to make a difference for Mom and Dad.  To my eye, this is another miracle.  If the schedule itself is not, the kindness certainly is.

Courage at Twilight: Superb Siblings

#4.  Despite my conviction of needing to help Mom and Dad, I had to make sure my siblings agreed with the plan.  I wrote to my four sisters and only brother to express my concerns for Mom’s and Dad’s health and safety (concerns they all shared), and to seek their blessing for me to move in.  As a career municipal attorney, I have seen too many instances of children and grandchildren moving in with their parents and grandparents, manipulating them, taking advantage of them, and taking their money and property.  Though my siblings know I am not such a person, still I felt it necessary to have their consent for me to assume such a trusted position with their parents.  All five wrote back to me with love and gratitude and support.  Megan wrote, “I support you 110%.”  Carolyn wrote, “We are behind you.”  Sarah, Jeanette, and Steven also gave their enthusiastic support.  I knew that with their love and trust, perhaps I could do this.  Their blessing in hand, now it was time to consult with Mom and Dad.

Courage at Twilight: Available

#3.  The need is now.  I am pondering the circumstances of my availability to leave my own home and to live with my parents in theirs.  I find myself divorced and living alone.  My seven children are mostly raised, with the youngest learning to drive.  Five years have been sufficient to transition out of the trauma of exile and isolation.  In those years I focused on healing, and too much, perhaps, on my own life, my little knick knacks, my art on the walls, my books, my mountain bike, my blog, my baking, my time, my my my . . . .  It is time, perhaps, to look more outward, more toward the welfare of someone other than myself.  And it is time for me to be available to do what I can do.  My siblings are dedicated, loving persons, and could do so much better at caregiving than me.  They already do so much.  But they are not available to do some of what requires doing.  I am available.  So, the privilege and the responsibility are mine, and I cheerfully accept.

Courage at Twilight: Evil Law Mower

#2.  I had planned to move in with Mom and Dad, if need be, in about a year, after my lease expired.  But the evil lawn mower incident convinced me to move immediately.  Dad loves his lawn: a source of pride and joy and exercise.  Monthly fertilizer has yielded a deep emerald green turf, which Dad cuts twice a week on his riding mower.  Plus: string trimming, driveway edging, shrub shaping, limb pruning, and dandelion digging—spread throughout the week in manageable increments.  The push mower is for the corners the riding mower won’t reach.  When Dad was pushing the mower downhill toward the garage one day, it ran away from him and dumped him on the concrete driveway.  Providentially, Dad broke no bones.  I knew that a broken hip or leg, or a blow to the head, could have been the beginning of the end, with long-term convalescence away from home.  When they told me what had happened, I received a sudden conviction: now was the time—immediately—to move in with Mom and Dad and do what I could to keep them in their home for the remainder of their days (may they be long).