Mom's caretaker is enjoying her well-deserved time off for the month, which means she has her second-string helpers reporting for duty the next couple days.
Admittedly, I used to dread helping with bathing, but I've come to appreciate the time much more these days, maybe it's because it's a less-frequent task, maybe because any time I still have with my mom feels precious.
I'm not sure this is time my mom enjoys as much, especially as she's jostled and flipped by someone I often remind her is not the nurse she was. I do my best, but I am awkward, clumsy, stumbling through the process. I do my best, play music she liked, let her know verbally each move I will be making with her before I do it.
Mom's arms lock up quite a bit and often we need to massage them to get her to loosen them at all. It makes changing shirts and bathing under her arms difficult, but taking the time to rub her joints helps soften the stiffness. Throughout the process of doing this, she kept grabbing my hand and holding me tightly, maybe an involuntarily movement, maybe to stop me from making her ease up her arm. But she didn't seem uncomfortable, and the gesture, regardless of the intention, made me smile. Despite the suds, despite the direct focus on my calloused, unladylike hands, I love this picture and am reminded of the #TomWaits song:
"Now Peter denied and Judas betrayed
I'll pay with the roll of the drum
the wind will tell the turn from the wheel
the watchman's making his rounds
well you leave me hanging
by the skin of my teeth
I've only got one leg to stand
you can send me to hell
but I'll never let go of your hand."
#endalz #alzheimers #grief #grievingdaughter #stillrene #love #earlyonsetalzheimers #earlyonsetalz #earlyonsetalzheimersdisease #alzheimersawareness #griefjourney #griefwriting #dementia #dementiaawareness