The Gift of Time

For a few days last week, I was blessed with the gift of my daughter’s time and attention. For two and a half days, Kara dedicated herself to helping me with Project Mom, but that’s not all. From Thursday afternoon until Saturday night, my mother and I had Kara all to ourselves. We would have loved to have had our granddaughters too, but since bringing them was really impractical, Kara could devote 100% of herself to helping us with a variety of tasks that only a daughter or granddaughter can do.

During that time, Kara and I provided my mother with 5 restaurant meals, a much appreciated break from the abysmal food they serve at her assisted living home. Starting with a pastry treat on Thursday afternoon, she was served meals from 5 different restaurants. Kara kept offering to take Mom out to the restaurant, but for all but one meal, she preferred to have it brought to her. Her back was really hurting. It is such an ordeal to walk out to the car, and get in and out of the car and walk back to her room, that it wasn’t worth the effort. Of course, using her wheelchair was just out of the question. Even though walking is painful, her pride will not allow her to accept being pushed in a wheelchair. She is determined to walk as long as it is physically possible, even though it completely wears her out, even to walk to the dining room.

She did go to The Olive Garden with Kara on Friday for lunch, and Kara said that her grandma simply glowed with pleasure, sitting in that booth and being served by all the kind and gracious servers. The aids at her home are kind, but they are always in a rush. She cleaned her plate too, which is rare for this little old woman who has no appetite. Kara was happy to get her grandma out of her apartment, because she knew how much this meant to her. If my mother should pass away today, Kara should take comfort in knowing that she did the very best she could to make these last few days fun for her.

Between running out for meals to share with her grandma and with me, Kara was busy with marking things off my to-do list as well. One of the most pressing tasks still hanging over my head was to get the inventory of Mother’s belongings done. This is not only a requirement of the home, but it also will help me in the future, when I will be faced with disposing of her things. In the meantime, it will allow me to locate items that she says she can’t find and needs, so I won’t have to go out and buy replacements. For instance, we found 3 flashlights, 4 pairs of scissors, dozens of pairs of hose, precious old letters from 80 years ago, unused greeting cards, photographs, and hundreds of other things, all mixed together.

Our goal was only to count them and record what was there. Our temptation was to sort and clean things out, so she could find them, but that would have taken much more time than we had. That will eventually be a project for another day. This time, my recording device held up, so I was able to get an audio recording, as Kara named everything she saw in every drawer and closet, on the wall, and on the table-tops. Finally, this huge project is behind us. Almost. Now all I have left to do is type them up and make copies. I am tempted to show Mother a copy, but I think she would be appalled at how she has allowed her belongings to get so disorganized and cluttered. This is not the way she used to keep her house.

Meanwhile, Kara took me shopping at some places I rarely get to go, like Sam’s club. I now have a year’s supply of paper towels and laundry soap. In addition, we put Braille on Mother’s microwave, so I can use it when I’m there. It’s just amazing that she got all this done in 2-1/2 days, but when my daughter is on a mission, she’s a “get-er done” type of person. 

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