Almost one year ago, mom came for a short visit, and ended up staying because she had a little stroke. That episode of illness was the end of her living alone.
Now, for the first time in almost one year of caregiving, I will have a respite of a few weeks. She has flown off to visit another sibling! Yes!
So many things have changed. It’s sad to think about it.
When she first moved in, I spoke to some friends who had experienced caregiving. I read books. In both, I found I was urged to get respite care and guard against burnout. “Check her into a home a few days, and go off on your own!”, a good friend said. I was incredulous. In the first place, I didn’t feel burnout (at that time). In the second, I could not imagine leaving my mom in a home even for a few days. Having dementia, I don’t think she would understand it was only for a few days and not forever.
But because I was urged to get time off from so many quarters, I was prepared when the subject of a trip away to visit the sibling was broached. Make it as long as possible, was my request. This after all, is the sibling who did not make the trip back here to see mom when she had the stroke. Although my advise then was, yes, mom is stable now, but you should try to come back, sooner rather than later.
Last night at the airport to see mom off, my daughter said to me quietly, they will get a shock when they see grandma, so much has changed. I was startled by what she said, but I had to agree. It has been 2 years since they last saw her.
I look forward to my break from caregiving. Time to myself and my kids. Time to rethink my relationship with mom. Time to heal, and move forward.
I hope mom is fine on the flight. I am tracking it online, thank goodness for technology.