Saturday, May 1, 2010

Heroism Doesn't Always Make it to the 6:00pm News

How's this for heroism?

My father died six months ago. Since then my mother has been living alone in their apartment and, until recently, has been enjoying the solitude. Recently she began having panic attacks and crying to me on the phone that she just can't stand being alone any more.

Now this may be a form of grief reaction or a realization of the great existential aloneness of being mortal. Whatever the roots, she simply does not want to live alone. She wants to move into assisted living.

The tangle is that my mother's neediness and my pain condition are wired into each other. The needier she is, the more ripples and burps I feel. Recently my pain has shot up from ripples to rip tides.

Richard and I have tickets to fly today to visit her and begin the process of finding suitable assisted living facilities. I am not in great shape, but she can't bear any postponement. Normally I would grit my teeth (after taking a double dose of pain meds) and soldier through.

But that's not heroism. That's stupidity. Here's the heroism.

Richard offered to go visit her solo, see assisted living facilities with her, and stay until she's feeling less panicky and more like there's a plan in place. She's not his mother, and while he loves her, he doesn't always like her. But he is willing to do this for her and for me.

To me, that's heroism.... and love.

Do you have stories of heroism you'd like to share?


Toni said...

Little acts of heroism on my husband's part add up to the big act of heroism from your husband. (I'm so moved by what Richard has offered to do.)

Since I became chronically ill, my husband, Tony (yes, we have the same name) has taken over all of the household responsibilities. He schedules his life around my needs. He drives me to doctor's appointments and comes into the examining room with me to act as my advocate if it's necessary. He doesn't mind what hour of the night I wake him up if I'm in need.

Like I said: little acts of heroism everyday.

I'm sorry to hear about your mother's difficulties. I hope they get resolved in a way that's comfortable for her.

colleen said...

Hi Barb, I am in agreement with you. You have a truly special husband! What a hero indeed!
-Colleen, wheelchairlady

bless your family during this time of transition.

Mo said...

It is sad to hear a story like your Mother's. It is wonderful to hear a story of heroism like your Husband's.

Barbara K. said...

Thank you Toni, Colleen, and Mo for your comments. Heroism can come in any size, I believe. What matters is the kindness and empathy that lie within.

MelD said...

I recently stood by a dear friend as he begin the journey to move his 90-something mother into assisted living, after several years of caring for her. Although I haven't personally experienced this, I have deep compassion for the many things you are having to accept with this transition. You have my prayers, my support.

As for your wonderful husband, give him a pat on the back from NC! He sure does deserve it!