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.

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