It's been a long time since I've posted, I know (though probably not as long as it seems). I could blame the holidays, but that would only be partially accurate. Those of you who know me personally know that for the last seven months I've been living with my grandmother (a dementia/Alzheimer's patient) as her caretaker. As her condition progressed and got worse, my mom started staying with me since I was no longer able to move and care for 'Moofy' single-handedly. Over the last couple of weeks Moofy became gradually more and more unresponsive; last Wednesday she slipped into a coma, and went to be with the Lord Thursday morning, December 30.
I won't lie--it's been hard. Caring for an Alzheimer's patient has thrown challenges at me that I never expected and, frankly, had no idea how to deal with. What do you say when your grandmother asks you "Are you going to marry that boy that's been seeing you?"... and you haven't been seeing anybody? How do you convince someone that there's no one in the house when they're pointing saying "Who's that?" Even adjusting to simple things like brushing her teeth once she was no longer able to stand up created big challenges that I had to learn to help her overcome.
But all in all I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. My grandmother's declining condition taught me to be creative in overcoming physical challenges. Her hallucinations and loss of short-term memory taught me a lot about patience. Helping her take care of more and more personal needs as she lost the ability to do it herself taught me compassion on a very deep level. My grandmother was able to spend her last days in the home she loved, surrounded by family, even if she didn't always know we were there. And now we can all rest knowing that she's at home with the Savior she spent her life serving, and she's not sick or hurting any more.
It's going to be hard getting used to life without Moofy. Frankly, after seven months of my life revolving around someone else's needs, it's going to be hard getting used to just looking after my own business. But I'm happy knowing that I gave Moofy the best care I possibly could, and I'm thankful for everything that God has taught me through these experiences.
I made it through the last challenge God gave me, so now, while we're still in the first few days of the new year, I'm looking forward to whatever new challenges and adventures He might be ready to send my way!
Do any of you have big things you've learned in 2010 or big challenges you're undertaking in 2011? I'd love to hear about them!