This is a difficult time of year for caregivers, I think. I feel like I have to keep doing all the things I always do for dad in the good weather months, even when the snow keeps coming and the temperature keeps falling. I feel overwhelmed sometimes with it all!
For those of us in the northern states of the USA, this year has been especially cold and snowy in the 6 weeks leading up to the first day of winter. By the first day of winter, this past Saturday, it felt like we were already half way through this cold season.
I am one of the wimpy ones that will not drive on snow. In fact, I sometimes can’t even walk on it without sliding or falling. And I get really cold even in the house, so when it is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, I am extremely cold. Still, I have been trying to keep up all the pre-Christmas activities and my regular visits with dad. In the past 2 weeks we have had an inch or more of snow almost every day except for the 2 days when we had a welcome thaw.
I managed to change around my visiting days so I could continue to visit dad except for the week they were in quarantine. Dad is usually in the lounge, asleep, when I arrive. I wake him, tell him I am putting his snacks in his room, and then return to sit by him and try to get a conversation going.
I had planned to visit dad either today, (Christmas Eve), or tomorrow, Christmas Day. The advance weather forecast looked like either day would be dry but cold. Then the forecast changed and when I got up this morning the snow was coming down fast. I called my son to see if he planned to visit dad and luckily he did, so I got my ride.
My son doesn’t understand why I get so stressed by all this. If I can’t go out, just stay home. But I feel like dad will feel abandoned if I don’t show up for Christmas. I still had his present to bring him, which I brought today. Dad wanted me to leave it in his room (and my son’s gift to dad also) so he could open it Christmas morning.
Actually I just went to visit dad 2 days ago. While I was there, my sister and her daughter and grandchildren arrived. We had a nice visit and my sister gave her gift to dad. It was food so she had him unwrap it so it would go in his refrigerator. The children played in the lounge while we talked. Dad took intermittent naps as he frequently does lately.
Today when my son and I were talking to dad I began to realize that dad didn’t remember the visit from my sister and her family just 2 days ago. I began to wonder why I stress so much about getting over there to see him. Will he even remember tomorrow that I was there today? Will he remember how his gift bags got there?
When I visited dad on Monday I saw he had a new sweatshirt and a Christmas gift bag in his room. I asked who gave it to him. He said he didn’t know – the sweatshirt just appeared in the chair. Yet, I bet he took it out of the gift bag himself just days or hours before.
I think it is good that my sister and her family visited dad, even if he doesn’t remember. They will remember and be glad they saw him, for who knows if they will get to see him again? And I feel the same for myself and my son. We see dad often, and dad knows that, but for each visit, he may not remember whether it was today or yesterday or the day before.
Soon I will be going south – for which I am very thankful since I get so depressed in this winter weather. Yet, I am also stressed because I have to make all the arrangements for people to go in and check on dad while I am away. There have been some extra challenges in lining up his companions this year which I will write about perhaps in another post. I will just say that I am not 100% confident that this is totally covered yet. Companions are just like the rest of us, and sometimes their own lives get complicated.
While the snow continues to fall, and cards continue to arrive in the mail, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays with your families.