Saturday, November 16, 2013

Resilience




This fall we had an early snow. Some of my roses were still blooming, so I captured this picture of newly fallen snow on this beautiful flower.

The weather warmed up the next day, the snow melted, and I expected to see the rose drooping. Here it is, just as pretty as the day before the storm.

It got me thinking about resilience. I wonder how I am at facing trials in my life?  
My mother has been ill with cancer this past year, and I cared for her until her death. We found out last December that she had stage 4 cancer, and the doctor referred us to hospice. At that time she lived in her own home and wanted to remain there, so I visited her every day, taking her shopping and helping with the yard and cleaning.
She was fairly independent until the first of June when she became violently ill, unable to hold any food down at all. We both felt the end was probably near so I moved into her house to give her the 24 hour care she needed during the last few days of her life.
My husband was very supportive. He remained in our home and came over for dinner and an evening walk every night so we at least go to see each other. I am so grateful for his love and support.
It was difficult to see Mother sick to her stomach all hours of the day and night--very stressful for me to see her go day after day and week after week without food and not to be able to help her at all. It took the hospice doctors two months to find some medication that calmed her stomach enough so she could eat a little bit.
She continued to deteriorate for four and a half months before she died. Many times the elderly become senile and aren't aware of the things going on around them. Mother knew everything and that made her decline even worse because she hated having me clean her up and change her, etc.
She died the 10th of October, as angelically as she had lived. I had my own grief, but I was so happy for her that she didn't have to suffer any more I felt almost elated.
What did she and I learn about resilience from this experience?
1.         We looked for the good in this difficult situation. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to spend this last time of her life together.
2.         We were flexible as her health deteriorated to vary her routine with a wheel chair and walker, etc. so she was comfortable and able to care for herself as much as possible.
3.         We were both optimistic about the outcome of her illness. She was anxious to join my father who had died 65 years earlier, and I was excited for them to be together again.
4.         We persevered through the difficult times. We could have put her in a care facility, but that would have killed me to let someone else care for her.
5.         I managed the stress of it all by walking every night and visiting with my sweet husband.
I don't know if I'm as resilient as this rose, but my mother was, and I will try to follow her example of Christ-like living in all that I do.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the metaphor of the rose. I looked at my roses covered in snow last week and thought they would be hardened and dead the next day, but they weren't. Please accept my condolences and, seeming congratulations at the same time, as your mother reunited with your father. Sixty-five years is a long time. I know they had a very sweet reunion.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this Cindy. I live with my father who up to now has been fairly able to take care of himself. But starting last December with an emergency stint operation (mucho heart issues), he's declined. Not eating is definitely a bad sign and depression. It's not easy or fun to care for ailing parents.

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