Monday, March 25, 2013

Discovering Something New

Discovering something new was not my plan or even a thought that crossed my mind when it came to visiting my mother at her community. But I soon learned then and continue to enjoy the moments when a senior says " I did not know that" or looks at me with wonder in their eyes. Sure there are times when what used to be known is forgotten and becomes new again. And with it a wonderful opportunity for someone to enjoy the new discovery together. However, loss of memory was not the cause of this new discovery with my mother.

For years I had heard the story of how my mother would sing lullabies to me, and only after she stopped would I stop crying and go to sleep. She declared on many occasion that she could not sing.  I do recall her teaching my brother and I "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" during a long road trip, but no other memories of her singing other than to a song on the radio or on the HiFi.

I grew up singing with my father, listening to him play his guitar, and share familiar tunes and original works with his down home Alabama style. He taught me how to play the guitar, comb and spoons but most of all how to have fun singing. Mother did not enjoy or approve of such 'noise' and would prefer that I listen to classical music, identifying all the instruments and aspire to sing more like Mario Lanza than Johnny Cash.

Singing became the very thing that kept me going through High School when I was introduced to Madrigals, Jazz, and Musical Theater. From then till now singing has continued to be a part of my life. And so it was only natural that I would bring some nostalgic music books to sing from for the residents at mother's community for them to enjoy and perhaps sing along. And mother could help me turn pages to participate.

And that's when it happened, the new discovery that touched my heart and soul. Not only did my mother sing along with me, but she would be found singing by herself when I did not know the song. And she had a beautiful strong voice. I fondly remember the nights when we sat at the piano singing together after everyone else had gone to bed. She sat on the end of the piano bench, turning each page and saying ya or nay to each song. I was astonished that not only did she sing with me, but at the number of songs she knew so well, even country ballads!

What she had hidden or not disclosed to me all those years had become a new discovery for both of us. And well into her last days I would continue to sing with her. A new discovery for both of us resulted in moments of delight, enjoyment and time spent that provided a lasting memory for me.

A new discovery can be found in the simplest things in life. Sometime all it takes is a conversation or just sharing what brings you joy. And it can happen at any stage in life, as we truly never stop learning  or "Discovering Something New"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

An Unexpected Journey of Care for my Mom

Does anyone ever really anticipate or expect to be suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver and decision maker for a loved one? With all of the warning signs, and public awareness you would think that I might have seen what was coming. Oh sure I had a feeling or thought that 'someday' I might be in that role, but never would have counted on it playing out as it did. Through each step with and for her I was exposed to the various levels of care and services available to seniors as well as a multitude of options for which I was faced with making the best decision I could on her behalf.

On the other side of her care I am on my own unexpected journey, that of using what I learned through this experience to help and encourage others on their own journey of care. I most certainly do not have all the answers, and do not claim to be an expert in any area of senior care. However I hope that what I share will be of benefit to someone else and perhaps point them in a direction to where they might find the help they need.

This blog is dedicated to the countless caregivers, family members, professionals and long suffering individuals who care for and provide services to our aging population. Thank you!