I lost my husband on October 3rd 2017, after many health issues since 2007… Stroke, heart attack, open heart surgery and many others.
I am so glad I made a difference knowing I gave it all I had…
We loved, laughed, and made some great memories through it all…
He was able to see his grandkids grow and they were able to know their grandpa…
We were all together at the end…
I feel calm and at peace knowing this…
God Bless all caregivers
If I could
Hold your hand just one more time
Hear you laugh and call me cutie
Feel the warmth
Of your breath on my cheek
When you kissed me
If I could
I would just one more time
If I could hear you speak
Just anything would do
But I had to let you go
Can’t help missing you
A few weeks ago, I was at the beach and I saw a young woman walking with her two little boys and her husband. Her husband was disabled, walking with a cane and appearing to have lost some muscle function in his arms and legs. I keep thinking about the woman and what I would have said to her at the right time, in the right place. This blog post is for that woman, and the other young people who are caring for an ill or disabled spouse, while raising a family.
To The Woman on the Beach:
I see you.
I see you enjoying a day in the sun with your family.
I see you including your husband, who is clearly finding it a challenge to walk in the sand.
I see you take his hand, silently letting him know you are there for him.
I see your little boys, enjoying the sand, seashells and surf like all little boys would at the beach, happily oblivious to what you and he are going through.
I see you trying to make life as normal as you can…for your boys and for your husband.
I see you putting on a happy face, even when you aren’t happy.
I see your concern for the man you love.
I see your heartache and your heartbreak…watching the man you love suffer, wondering what your future will be like, wondering if you will someday be alone.
I see your worry…worry for your husband and his future, worry for your boys and their future, worry for yourself and your future.
I see your exhaustion.
I see your resentment and your guilt.
I see your loyalty.
I see your commitment.
I see you lying in bed in the wee hours of the night, waiting for the darkness to pass and the light to return.
I see your sadness.
I see you taking one step after another, walking through the storm, hoping that someday there might be sun again.
I see you trying to find happiness wherever you can.
I see you being grateful for all the little things.
I see you wishing for things you may never have.
I see you laughing.
I see your tears, cried silently when you are alone.
I see your appreciation for the moments you have together.
I see you taking care of everyone’s every day needs, while putting your own aside.
I see you wishing you could have time to yourself.
I see you keep going even when you think you can’t.
I saw you on the beach that day. I saw you, and I want you to know, I understand.
Not the kind rain kids like to run in and lovers like to walk in, but the unkind rain that kids run from and lovers shun. The hard-driving cold rain no one wants to be out in.
They were out in it.
A mother and her young daughter, alone, at a bus stop, arms wrapped each other, heads bowed against the wind and the water going through them like they weren’t even there.
A car drove by.
‘That’s so sad,’ the passenger said, looking out at the mother and daughter.
The driver said nothing.
Two blocks up the road, the car pulled into a Walgreen’s parking lot. The driver got out, went inside and returned carrying two umbrellas, one of them a kid-size yellow umbrella. A few minutes after that, the car was parked on a side street next to the bus stop. The driver got out, walked through the driving rain to the mother and daughter, handed them each an umbrella, turned and walked back to the car. Other than a squeal of delight from the child not a sound was heard, not a word was spoken.
The passenger’s name was Empathy. The driver’s name was Compassion.
Compassion was a caregiver.
We talk a lot about the caregiver.
We talk about oxygen masks, oxygen tanks, oxygen tubes, suction aspirators, nebulizers, blood pressure kits, catheters, glucose meters, insulin pumps, lancing devices, and blister packs.
Day after day.
We talk about cleaning, wiping, dressing, undressing, transferring, lotions, meds, cooking, shopping, and doctors.
Day after day.
We talk about anger, fear, frustration, the feeling of hopelessness, inadequacy and sleeping with one eye and both ears open.
Night after night.
The thing we don’t talk about is the thing that drives them – the difference between empathy and compassion. Look it up – you’ll find something like this; While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help.
Compassion is the caregiver.
Compassion is the kid that cried when Bambi’s mother died. Compassion is the kid that couldn’t kill a bug on the sidewalk, the kid that adopted the runt of the litter. Compassion is the person that attracts people with a need, financial, physical, even just the need for a good listener.
Compassion is the caregiver.
Compassion is not weakness. It takes perseverance to get up every morning knowing the challenges of the day will likely be more demanding than those of the day before and still move toward them. It takes loyalty to stand by the person who has become someone you no longer recognize and worse, no longer recognizes you. It takes the heart and soul of someone who hears someone else cry out in pain, feels their pain and wants, more than anything, to rid the world of pain. And it takes the impossible strength to hold the hand of someone you love while they move from this world to the next.
Compassion is the caregiver.
The one carrying the yellow umbrella through the rain.
And only you will ever know the moments that make it all worthwhile.
I am my 85-year old father’s 64-year old caregiver. He is bedridden now and rarely speaks. His eyes do his talking for him. His eyes speak of how tired he is. He holds my hand and teaches me to be quiet and just be there. Do I talk too much Daddy? Barely a smile while nodding his head, “yes”. I laugh and try to be quiet. Our time together is growing shorter and there’s so much I want to say.
But we just hold hands.
One time he said, almost shyly, “You’re a good girl”. I stood there, suddenly 5 years old again, grinning like an idiot through my tears.
What will I remember of this last leg of his journey? All the pain and morphine? His silence? The way he reaches for my hand? I will remember all of it and treasure every moment.
For now, we just hold hands.
Nearly all of the people I’ve cared for, in the last part of their lives it turns out, the care was mine, but the giving was theirs.
It was not my gift to them, but their gift to me. It was pure grace.
Grace, that Don allowed me to read to him, even though he didn’t need, or maybe even want me to. He knew how much it meant to me to do it.
My mother watched in quiet acceptance and love as I tried everything in my power to give her comfort and attempted to lessen her pain.
My father knew as his strength ebbed, mine had to grow.
Each of them gave far more to me than I ever gave to them.
My husband was diagnosed with early stage dementia in June 2015. My heart was broken. A month later our son, Steven, died. How can a heart break twice?
My husband and I cared for each other but we were arguing more and more.
I wanted out.
But I could not dessert him. I could not put the responsibility for his care on our daughter. These circumstances have brought us closer. Our shared memories have brought us closer. We have found love again.
We live one day at a time, not thinking about the future because we have no idea if there will even be a future. Today we hugged and made a list of things that need doing so he would not forget. Then we hugged again.
It felt good.
In the autumn of 2006, my beloved husband was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a form of dementia. I’d noticed that this witty, funny, intelligent (two Masters degrees) man was beginning to struggle with, of all things, language. I had no idea then that nine years later he would not be able to communicate via language at all.
But the language of love and touch never left him.
On the evening before he died, a baby goat was given to him to hold – one that had had her forelegs injured during birth. He stroked and comforted her as he would have any living being. That is the moment I carry with me.
The language of love and touch never left him.
Or no choice.
You will be frightened.
You will be alone.
You will have doubt
And you will want out.
But only you will ever know
And only you will ever know the moments that make every moment worthwhile.
If you are a caregiver with a moment to share, send it to email@example.com. I will happily share it in Part 2 of this blog.
depression is weird.
especially for someone like me,
the always happy,
bullshit person that I am.
to be depressed is mind altering.
it takes up space.
it controls a part that isn’t easily handed over.
a constant battle between who you are,
and who you perceive yourself to be.
how do you come out of it?
should you be honest?
explain to your closest and dearest,
that you can’t go on?
or do you just go on?
and then just keep going on,
and on and on….
or do you wait out the wave?
because you know that is what it is?
just a wave.
and there will be sunshine soon.
just wait out the wave you tell yourself.
and you hope you can.
They are big and dark brown, so full of life.
When he sees you they sparkle! In fact, his whole countenance brightens.
It all begins in his eyes…
And you realize he knows love.
And if by chance you look any further, you will see a young man who requires total care..
he has never walked, or talked.
The muscles in his body have begun to contract.
But when you focus on his eyes…
You will see that he knows acceptance.
There are tears (his and mine) from muscles spasms and seizures that grip him periodically..
a machine feeds him through a tube in his stomach.. Yet
In those incredible eyes, you will see endurance.
Speak to him, you have his undivided attention
Sing to him .. he will coo along
Touch him and he will respond with a smile..
But don’t pity him… He doesn’t know it.
Now look in my eyes and see what this child of mine has taught me
On a cold morning at the end of January I am driving to a small town twenty miles away to visit one of my home-healthcare clients. We’ll call her M. She is eighty-nine, has one daughter who rarely visits, and is fairly healthy aside from a diagnosis of mild senile dementia. Her old New Hampshire farmhouse is at the top of a snowy hill and has drafty doors and uneven floors. M. and I have agreed that I will come at eleven on the days that I help her, but she rises late and is never ready. She can’t seem to grasp that I have a limited amount of time to spend with her.
When I arrive, she is making breakfast: a woefully underdone boiled egg, toast with jam, a cup of tea, and a large hunk of expensive cheese. Her brindled hair is cut short, and her body is slightly bent. Her face is a riot of wrinkles and pouches, and as always she wears a red bathrobe covered with bits of her previous meals. She will not let me wash it.
Because she uses a walker, she is slow in the kitchen, and by the time the tea is hot, her toast is burned, but she seems content as she sits down to eat and read the paper.
I pause near the kitchen table. M. often asks me about my writing, though I’ve told her I don’t write anymore. She also asks about my daughter, a successful singer. Frequently M. will mention that she knew jazz singer Billie Holiday. I think she does this to remind me of her glorious bohemian past, when she lived in New York City. I see the story of Billie Holiday, who died of cirrhosis of the liver, as a cautionary tale about the perils of addiction, but M. sees it only as the trajectory of genius.
After we’ve chatted, I go to M.’s bedroom, where I dispose of the aged contents of the portable commode, pick up the tissues she leaves everywhere, sweep the floor, and empty the wastebaskets. By then she is done eating and ready for me to help her with her bath. She has trouble getting in and out of the tub by herself. Though it’s warm in the house, she always wants me to set up the clunky space heater she keeps in her room. Once I’ve wheeled it into the bathroom, there is barely space for both of us and her walker. To plug the heater in, I have to get down on the floor, which is littered with strings of dental floss.
M. sits down in a rickety chair, and I pull off her bathrobe and threadbare nightgown. Then I work on her stockings, which are as tight as a second skin — to prevent edema in her legs. Finally she steps out of her adult diaper and into the tub.
Recently I began caring for a nine-month-old baby, and I am enamored of his plump legs and silken skin. Even his little man parts are like something carved from ivory. M., on the other hand, is a wreck of dewlaps and burst veins and brown moles. She asks me to wash her back, and I give it a good going over while she sighs with pleasure. Then I move on to her hair, which is surprisingly thick and streaked with black. She says her Italian blood is the reason why her hair isn’t all white. (She is still vain about her appearance and often shows off her small waist by wearing wide, elaborate belts.) She likes for me to massage her scalp, and she has me lather and rinse her hair twice, as the directions on the bottle say. I am amazed that she feels free to make so many requests. I was raised to take what I got and be grateful for it. Yet I must admit there is something charming about the way M. lies in the tub, waving her hands in the water as if she were floating. When she closes her eyes and smiles, I know she will stay in the water for ten minutes or more. This is my chance to get some real cleaning done. I tell her I’ll be back as I head for her bedroom.
“Don’t touch anything sacrosanct!” she calls after me.
M. has been a writer all her life and has manuscripts everywhere. Only a few have ever been published, and she has no agent, but M. is not daunted. As far as she’s concerned, she is a grande dame of letters, every bit as important as May Sarton or Margaret Atwood. On one side of her bed is a bookcase stuffed full of papers and books, and on the floor are several piles of bulging envelopes and magazines. Next to the commode are a stack of incontinence pads and a carved wooden screen hung with ragged nightgowns and scarves. On the other side of the room is a desk covered with loose paper: M.’s writing mixed with ancient newsletters from the senior center and outdated solicitations for support from public radio. There is also a table strewn with reading glasses, hearing aids, face creams, hair clips, pieces of bark, feathers, and stones. (She likes to pick up objects she thinks are pretty on her walks.) In short, the room is a nightmare of disorganization, but M. claims to like it this way and says that if I tidy up, she won’t be able to find anything. When she is feeling irritable, she will imply that my “mania” for order is evidence of my conformist soul, and that my urge for cleanliness is an attempt to “sterilize” her. There is no need to “categorize” her anarchic abundance, she’ll insist; she has been messy all her life.
M. is often busy writing, and many of the scraps of paper in her room are filled with her lacy, crooked script. I’ve read some of them: her thoughts are as jumbled as her possessions. Even so, she refuses to let go of her idea of herself as an artiste. I imagine that this self-image has comforted her all her life: when bad things have happened — her daughter became an addict, her sister died of cancer — she has told herself that all artists suffer, and someday her pain will be part of the story of her greatness.
But the fact is, it’s too late for her to achieve the acclaim she desires. M. is unable to write for any sustained length of time. She grabs a memory and writes about it for twenty minutes or so until her eyes grow tired and she has to rest. Then she puts the paper atop the pile by her bed and dozes, and when she wakes up, she starts to write of another memory on a different piece of paper. Her process is so haphazard as to be pitiable, but she certainly does not see it that way. She sees herself as triumphing over entropy and the certainty of death.
Having been a writer myself, I should admire her refusal to give up. Instead it makes me impatient with her. I believe M. lives in this myth of greatness in which her every habit or quirk is worthy of the autobiography being written in her head. It is the endless soliloquy of the interior paramour. Why do I believe this? Because I used to be that way myself.
I grew up poor. My family did not have a television, but we had plenty of books, and my parents read for both edification and pleasure. Because we couldn’t afford dance or piano lessons, it was clear to me that, if I were going to distinguish myself, it would be through my skill with words. To be a poet, all I needed was a pencil and some paper.
I can still remember my first poem, written in second grade. It went:
Dinosaurs were big and tall.
Tyrannosaurus Rex was the biggest of all.
He ate other dinosaurs, as we can see.
I’m glad I wasn’t there, or he would have eaten me.
I have a dim memory of being invited to share my immortal verse in front of a classroom full of children, and my grandmother sent it to her hometown newspaper in Brandon, Vermont, where it was published. As the fourth child of five, I was often hungry for praise and attention. So it’s no wonder I became hooked. From that moment on, I thought of myself as a writer and dreamed of success and glamour. I received enough encouragement in college to cement the vision, and I even got into the MFA program at Cornell, but I decided to be practical and went to nursing school instead. I earned my degree, traveled, married, and had a child. And through it all I wrote. I published poems and essays here and there but never a book, and none of my publications resulted in the desired acclaim and recognition. By this time, however, writing was a part of my life. It was my therapy, my outlet, my armature — along with alcohol and drugs.
Six years ago I was employed as a nurse at a Veterans Affairs hospital and drinking every day. I often had a shot of vodka first thing in the morning. I was in desperate straits and knew it, but I couldn’t manage to stop for more than three days. In a last-ditch attempt to get sober, I stole some clonazepam — an anti-anxiety medication — from a patient and took a pill one morning, hoping it would calm me enough to alleviate my need for alcohol. It didn’t work. I ended up both drunk and stoned on clonazepam. Impulsively I took about ten more, added some sleeping pills, and curled up in the loft of my shed to wait for death. As I lay there, I realized I didn’t want to die. I wobbled back down the ladder, called my sister, and passed out.
I came to while lying on a stretcher in the emergency room. A big, gloomy state trooper entered holding the pill bottle he had found at my house. It still had the patient’s name on it. He asked me where I’d gotten it, and, too loopy to lie, I answered truthfully. He notified the VA hospital, and I eventually lost my nursing license.
To my amazement, after my life had been blown to smithereens, I was able to get sober. Not right away, of course. I had to learn patience first. Looking back, I don’t know how I got through the anxiety and shame of early recovery. Sometimes the pain was so great it felt physical, and I sat twisting and moaning as if cloven feet were stamping through the chambers of my heart. But as the tiny pieces of my detonated life slowly drifted back to earth, I began working as a home-health aide, helping the elderly and caring for kids on occasion. A peaceful, sane existence began to take shape. The only problem was, I could no longer write. Somehow in sobriety I just didn’t have the juice to pump out pages and judge them as good or bad. Forced to acknowledge that I was a failure as a writer, I learned to live with my dashed dreams. That’s when it occurred to me that I didn’t have to write to prove to the world that I was a worthwhile human being or that all my pain and turmoil had a purpose. I wasn’t special — or, no more so than anyone else. It was time, finally, to grow up.
I sometimes think that M. and I have been brought together for a reason. If I can forgive her delusions, then perhaps I can forgive myself for the many years I spent harboring dreams of literary renown. Some days I fall short of forgiveness. I want to shake M. and tell her to get real, to stop seeing herself as a Writer, as if that were the only thing that could save her. Other days I respect her for continuing to put pen to paper at eighty-nine despite everything. Maybe the world needs us unsuccessful artists to form the compost upon which others sprout and grow to greatness. Or maybe the act of writing itself shifts humanity infinitesimally toward a higher consciousness. It’s like prayer: useful in the moments when we face uncertainty and our own mortality.
When M. is done with her bath, I haul her out of the tepid water, dry her carefully, and squat to put her tight stockings back on. She places her hand on my head to steady herself and asks, “Have you heard of phrenology?” She is always trying to have intellectual conversations with me, as if to let me know that her mind is still active and her interests wide ranging.
“Yes,” I answer. “It’s the ‘science’ of judging someone’s personality by the protuberances on their skull.”
“Your bumps say you should try writing again,” she says.
When I’m ready to leave, M. is propped in bed with a pad of paper. She says she’s going to write about driving to Montreal in winter and sleeping in the car with six other people, their breath coating the inside of the windows with a thick rime, so that it was like being in an igloo.
“That’s a good idea,” I say. I am feeling impatient with her again, but I could never tell her so. That would be mean.
And as I drive home, past the peeling houses and dirty snowbanks and chained-up dogs and blue hills, I try to think of a way to put this grim, bittersweet landscape into words, to fix in time this mixed ache of being human.
I cannot forget the thunder of the moment and the lightning strikes that followed.
The Fifteenth of November
I try hard to forget;
Yet I can still remember
When this nightmare started
On the 15th of November.
It was an evening like any other
When it all began.
I suddenly heard these funny noises
Coming from my man.
He was breathing hard and heavy,
So I jumped up just to see.
I saw at once there’s trouble
And surmised what it could be.
His eyes were both wide open
And he was in a daze;
I knew we needed help
That only 911 could raise.
Thankful that the I-phone
Was resting right nearby.
I told him I was calling
As I looked him in the eye.
Help came quite quickly
They knew just what to do.
From me they wanted answers,
A recent medical review.
Again, back to the Iphone,
Meds were all listed there,
Along with doctor’s names and numbers
I once had entered with such care.
I was going through the motions
I was answering what they asked
They needed to know so much
About his recent past.
Ambulance and red lights
Questions all the way
It was my confusion
With them, order all the way.
Then there was the hospital
Reality sinking in
Life and death decisions
My mind in such a spin.
A major stroke he’d suffered
And quite a state he’s in
After being told the odds
I notified rest of kin.
This was the real thing
We would have to wait
Would he last the night now?
Or were we still too late?
Minutes turned to hours
As we sat by and waited
Needless to say
By then quite agitated.
We listened to the doctors
We heard what they had to say
And then we watched and waited
Through the night and into day.
I keep trying to forget
But always I remember
Each detail of that scary day
The fifteenth of November.
I cannot forget the helplessness I felt as you reminded me the nearness of death to life.
Terror is despair;
that helpless feeling
seeing loved one down
and your heart reeling.
Numbly walking through
the hours of the night;
near to hear his breathing,
crying out his sight.
Seeing death’s shadow
standing there beside him;
feeling powerless to challenge,
And praying, ” don’t let death win!”
My heart leaped when he finally opened his eyes, when he blinked in response to the doctor’s questions, and the first wiggle of the toes on his affected foot. Progress and promise.
I Could Only Imagine
I could only imagine
The fear that I would know
Waking from a deep sleep
After such a massive blow.
To wake up in a strange place
With nothing ‘round me clear.
Thinking only something happened
Something quite severe.
If I could not remember coming there,
And even not from where
I guess it would be confusing.
And fill me full of fear.
I would try to get my bearings
And reassess my state
But if I couldn’t move or speak
I guess I’d have to wait.
When this happened to my loved one
I worried ‘bout his fate.
With docs and nurses scurrying
I too was in a state.
When at last his eyes were open
The doctor turned to him to speak
“You have had a stroke,” he said
“And now you’re very weak.
You are in a hospital
And you are getting care
The best is just to rest now
So your body can repair.
Your left side has been affected
And your speech has too
I know things are confusing
And difficult for you.
You are getting best of care here
It will take time to heal
I will be back tomorrow
To check on how you feel.”
My husband did not tell me this
Although now he speaks quite well
He has not shared those feelings
In this new life we dwell.
So I could only imagine
The nightmare to which he woke
As I watch him face the challenges
Each day after stroke.
God, you taught us all about the damage that storms can cause, and the hard work and effort it takes for the cleanup. We found dedicated caregivers and devoted doctors in our path to recovery.
We learned the comfort of family and the test of friendships. We could not stand alone.
We found new meaning to those words, “in sickness and in health, ’til death due us part.”
He learned how to ask for help.
I learned how to recognize his needs and respond to his calls.
That Stroke Affected Both Of Us
Like a nightmare
That repeats each day,
We both wake up each morning
And try best to wish away.
Still locked within his prison
Trying hard to make it work,
I know it’s quite a struggle
This ‘twist of fate,’ a quirk.
I watch, as with much effort
He climbs out of the bed.
Truth is that the both of us
Have a very hard day ahead.
We can’t turn the clocks back.
We have to make it due.
But, together, we can make it.
This, I know be true.
It takes two to argue
And I won’t be that second one.
For we have to work together
And try best to make life fun.
Just to walk and talk
Is hard for him just now.
But patiently I watch and listen
And we get by somehow.
When I do remind him
Of exercises he should try,
He gets upset and angry
Not wanting me nearby.
“I only wish it on you,”
That is what he said.
“Only two weeks, so you could know.”
What was in his head?
I thought it cruel,
And told him so
For those words did hurt,
And were a blow.
Does he not know that his stroke
Affected both of us that night?
That he alone is not the victim
For both of us it’s a fight?
I’m not saying his role is easy.
I’m not running the other way.
Both of us are tired
As we make it through each day.
I wouldn’t want his place now,
That place he’s stuck within.
That place he’s wishing me to go,
The places he has been.
It will take much effort.
I know he wants to win.
I know he aims to leave that place
He finds himself now in.
He thinks that he knows all the rules.
It’s his way that he tries.
He’s looking for the door out
Of the world he now occupies.
And, for me, it’s ‘one day at a time.’
I help him where I can.
I fit things in for me too.
But make no long-term plan.
This stroke affected both of us
Each in its own way
But I know we can make it
And all will be okay.
It isn’t easy to change roles; to step up to part of caregiver, to acknowledge this ‘new normal.’
God, give us the guidance to focus on ‘today’ and not fall prey to the dreams of yesterday. Help us see through any clouds of despair and find beauty in each color of the rainbow. Teach me ways to give warning to others, so they too may not fall victim to these storms. If only we had been more vigilant to your warnings.
I cannot forget the thunder of the moment and the lightning strikes that followed.
Her beauty is not in her hair or her clothes or her face or her figure or her style.
Her hair needs color and cutting and perming and washing and attention. It is mussed.
Her clothes are wrinkled and stained and out dated and un-sized. They need replacing.
Her face is un-made, blemished, wrinkled. Her eyes are dark and oft-times sad. She avoids mirrors.
Her figure is mis-shapen, sagging, bulging with too little or too much weight. Her diet is for coping and sustaining.
Her style is old, a cornucopia of her old clothes, her mom`s old clothes, whatever clothes she can glean at the lowest possible dollar. She has little need for the stylish.
Her beauty is in her being, her heart, her intent, her struggle, her commitment.
Her being is geared toward care-giving, not care-taking. Her eyes look outward, not inward.
Her heart is full with love for her mom, the need to keep her as healthy as possible and as happy as possible and as content and as comfortable as is possible for as long as her mom`s heart can and does beat.
Her intent is to give to her mom all that her mom needs. She will sleep and eat and play and do another day when her mom no longer needs her to sleep and eat and play and do for her.
Her struggle is with the physical and emotional and psychological demands of her role as her mom`s care-giver. Her struggle is with herself and her own ambivalence in wanting to meet her mom`s needs and needing to meet her own wants and being unable to do both.
Her commitment is total. Un-ending. Without limit. At all cost. Unconditional. Her commitment is to her mom. She can`t help it or stop it or change it. Her head knows but her heart rules.
She is who she is. It is oft-times long in coming, and difficult to perceive but she needs to come to understand and accept and appreciate her beauty as it is and for what it is. It is not a beauty reflected in mirrors but a beauty reflected in her mom. It is still a glorious beauty.
Wanda Flythe has served as a caregiver to her ALS stricken mom for the past 9 years. Her four younger siblings provide her with some respite and a year and a half ago she was able to get home nursing help. She is an RN and served as staff nurse and clinical supervisor on the med-surg unit of her local hospital until she left her job to be her mother’s caregiver full-time. Wanda and her husband have two sons and a granddaughter.