Isn’t it funny how this blog world works?  How it is possible to “miss” someone you don’t know.  To miss the familiarity of Lisa-Jo Baker on the first Friday after she passed the torch to Kate Motaung.  I still check in on Lisa-Jo, so it’s not like she’s gone.  It was just different.  And it was change.  And it’s no secret I am not a huge fan of change.

But then I visited Kate’s site again and read her words on FILL and felt so comfortable.  I liked what she had to say.  I smiled at the all-to-familiar image of a worn Chuck Taylor and I have decided to think of this as a shift, not an all-out change.  Truth be told, I knew I would come here to write.  To sprint with abandon for 5 minutes.  To connect to these wonderful writers who I look forward to reading every week.  So thank you Kate…here we go…

FILL

Caregiving for an Alzheimer’s mom – I feel like I start far too many things with those words.  Or offer up those words as explanation for why I can’t do this or that or why my children need exceptions for this time and that class…but it is my life.  It is my choice.  It is my responsibility.

So, yeah, there are trials and challenges and some weird scheduling leaps we need to make.  And it’s rewarding when I stop and realize what I am accomplishing.  But most often – it is draining.  Soul-sucking.  All give, no receive.

And it would be so easy to never recharge my batteries.  To never reFILL my soul.  And if it were just me and mom – I might let that happen.  But it is not.  I have two beautiful children who need me to be more than a caregiver to my mom.  They need me to be their mom.  I need to be their mom.

So I do the work that needs done…some of it unpleasant, most of it without dividend, all of it demanding.  And in between the feeding and washing and feeding some more and lifting and encouraging and more feeding and motivating and calming and reassuring and being up to my elbows in the negativity that many times accompanies Alzheimer’s – I reFILL my soul.  And did I mention feeding?!

Anywhere and anyway I can find it.

I don’t get a lot of extra minutes, but when I do – I sneak outside and find joy to spare in the clouds and stars and flowers and sounds.  I savor at least one or two sips of coffee with my eyes closed…the power of that first morning taste of dark roast…ahhh.  I text a friend or visit a favorite blog.

And I pray – at a traffic light, as I sit down at the computer, while I’m washing grapes and making peanut butter sandwiches and scooping mom’s evening ice cream.  I pray every morning before I get out of bed and every night before I close my eyes to sleep.  I pray when I feel my blood pressure rising or my shoulders tensing up or an angry word forming in my brain.  I ask for peace.  I ask for help.  I turn it all over to God and feel the bad stuff release, making room for the good stuff.

It’s amazing what a moment’s touch from my daughter’s hand or a hug from my son or a quick phone call to my husband can do to light my day.   And some love from a big white fluffy dog has some pretty awesome power!

The trick to reFILLing my soul is intentionality.  It’s remembering to ask for help.  To look for beauty.  To accept reality.  To give thanks.  To pray.  To write!  Feeling better already!

STOP

I am sharing today with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  One word, five minutes, fellowship and freedom.  You should join us!

16 Comments on Five Minute Friday – Fill

  1. You just summed it all up nicely. That is care-giving. And we who are caregivers are caregivers to everyone. Remembering the take time for our-self is the hardest. I never allowed that while I was caring for Richard and there were many times I was on the edge of burnout. But NOW I have nothing but time. And I have no regrets. Thank you Lisa for sticking with me

    • You know Paula, I remind myself every day how quickly it can all come to an end. Whether it’s mom going further into her Alzheimer’s or going to heaven or the kids growing up and away….I would regret not spending the time and doing the work, I’m just sure of it…but I do need to recharge or I will be a big ole evil beast!

  2. Lisa, It’s so important to reFILL ourselves, isn’t it? I do the same — go out to the patio, sit down for a few minutes and enjoy the flowers and birds. It really is rejuvenating. And if my Emma dog comes out with me, watching her roll around in the grass is even better!

  3. Hi Lisa – I like the combination of fill and intentionality … you’ve expressed it so well – it’s allowing those few moments of silence, solitude, time to dream, time to be us .. and the caring touch of a loved one or welcoming words down the phone .. beautifully expressed – cheers Hilary

  4. Intentionality. That’s it, especially in a life filled with caregiving. The need is constant. The strength needed to continue on to be the mom you need to be and the caregiver daughter requires connection to the Source. It sounds like you have found some awesome refilling “stations” that work.
    Good, good words. Intentional filling. It won’t happen otherwise.

    • Thank you Cheryl. It keeps my plate full, but it is God’s plan for me. So many lessons. So many opportunities. Intentional filling – that’s the plan!

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