I attended a care conference for Mary.
It is not too different than a ‘parent teacher’ meeting when your children are in school. Only the ‘child’ I was receiving a report on is my sister who is 57 and living in an assisted living home.
She is doing well the report said and she is following all the rules. She has aged a lot I see it in her face and in her countenance. She is not the youthful sister I once knew. Her facial features are different and her eyes lack the spark I once knew and have been familiar with. The face without makeup shows wrinkles and scars and she looks much older than her age.
I grieve the old Mary.
She was fun and funny and deep and light hearted and when we shared matters of our hearts it was sweet and real.
She was also a deeply rooted alcoholic. So the funny person who I remember came out of the ‘bottle’… and now that she is no longer there in the same ‘atmosphere’ she is different.
Because I am her power of attorney it places me into a parental role.
I pay her bills and go to all doctor appointments and attend all legal meetings that have to do with her ongoing care. I take her shopping and do other errands and I am her younger sister.
I have been ‘her voice’ for many years and I am noticing now she has one of her own and can say what she wants.
There was a time she could not.
I remind her often in a joking way about when we saved her life.
She doesn’t remember most of it the story is written back in February of this year on this blog site. She doesn’t remember grieving for her husband and she doesn’t remember our grieving for her.
When I see her and look deep into her eyes … I see a ‘person’ wanting a different life and not really being able to find it. My visits with her are not as often as they should be and it is always ‘after the fact’ that my husband and I realize how we should have invited her to go with us to the beach or other family activities.
When her husband died unexpectedly she became a widow and it
changed her life forever and the life they had together ended.
She is alone except for her two daughters who often don’t agree with me on her ‘needed ongoing care.’ For as long as I remember I have been her advocate fighting for her to be safe and in the family and around the family.
When she lived in Arkansas ‘we’ were the ones who brought her home to Oregon.
When she was dying I was the one who insisted the doctor assign her to hospice.
My intention was always to keep her in the family loop and in the family concerns.
Yesterday I attended a care conference. Letting me know that others besides myself care for her and care for her well being. It was a nice meeting and I know there will be many more.
It is a story of sisters who are growing old together and as I see her change and become more healthy and able to take care of herself it shows me how she might not always live in this facility.
Lord God please give me strength in this process of letting go and taking charge as this prayer reminds me:
God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can and
The wisdom to know the difference.