Even though Spring has not quite yet sprung in my neck of the woods, there is a distinct scent of change in the air. The sun seems brighter and the sky is more often blue these days rather than gray. The afternoon breeze feels refreshing rather than bitter. And the thought of warmer days brings a sense of joyous anticipation after the harshness of this past winter.
I enjoy each of the four seasons in my part of the world. And just when I seem to lose my affection for one season, the next rises to its occasion. It is this cyclical change which keeps my boredom at bay, and allows me to appreciate each season for the gifts it brings.
And very much like nature’s seasonal evolution, my role as my elderly mother’s caregiver has also evolved. And just when I seem to be running out of the emotional fuel I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, somehow I magically discover a hidden treasure of strength buried deep inside myself.
I have learned, and more often the hard way rather than the easy one, that taking each challenge as it comes is the only way for me to survive. While keeping an eye on the larger picture can be a good thing in order to be prepared, it is easy to lose sight of the smaller details of the present. And since I do not have a crystal ball to gaze into and see what the future may bring, living for each day is truly a gift unto itself.
Because I know my mother will never get better. Because like a thief, the dementia steals pieces from her each minute of each day. Because her arthritis will only get worse, reducing her mobility in increments to minuscule to measure on a daily basis. But her heart and her spirit are still strong. And no disease or ailment can take these from her.
So, I take my cues from my mother. I follow her lead on this arduous journey we share. She is running point, not me. And as my role continues to evolve, I have chosen to look forward to each cycle like the anticipated change of a season.