In the last few years, my Mom has no longer been just a mother to me, but a role model for love and how to love. I've been able to witness, as an adult, the sacrifices she would have made for my brother and I 30 some years ago, when she had two children in diapers, with her own mother with Alzheimer's often living with us.
It's a profound example of love to see her give up so much of her routine and life's pleasures, for the constant care of my ailing father. They've created, in many ways, their own language of love and routine of sustenance in these fading years. Her true delights of gardening and socializing on the back burner as she cares for the love of her life. The vulnerable call of, "Hon," coming from the Game Room, beckoning for water, or a cup of fruit, or letting her know about his last bowel movement.
I've thought a lot in the last few years about the similarities between motherhood and being a caretaker in one's final years. There's a lot of conversations about poop. And food schedules. And sleep schedules. No longer the complexities of every hobby and adventure. Now, the adventure is a shuffle on a walker from one end of the house to the other and back.
It's been a beautiful thing, the last few months, to welcome Audrey Louise into our lives. To see my Mom have a new life and set of adventures to focus her thoughts on, outside of caretaking. It delights me to call her up and not only hear about which doctor came to visit today - but also that Carter and Lisanna brought Audrey over. And my Dad's emotional reaction. (And his determined mindset that they are going to have another, soon, and it will be a boy.)
It's the cycle of life. To welcome a new generation and my Mom's first biological grandchild, while my Dad lives out his last days, weeks and months. A beautiful blessing to witness and participate in.