If you’ve read some of the previous Chronicles of Caregiving blogs, you may have read the latest one about my mom and her parrot, Panchita, who had been a member of the family for nearly 20 years. Although Panchita could be quite annoying, at least to those of us who were not particularly fond of all her squawking noises and her particularities about the food she liked, nonetheless, she was a great companion for mom. Interestingly enough, it was just a few days after the blog was posted that mom called and sounding quite distressed informed me Panchita was gone – she had flown away. In all the years mom had cared for Panchita she had always been so careful about taking her out to clean her cage or to have her perch on her shoulder for some special bonding time; the parrot stayed close to her cage. Coincidently a few weeks prior to Panchita’s final escape, mom had acquired a new pet, Benji, a tiny Yorkie with a dazzling personality. I could not help but think that perhaps Panchita may have felt a sting of jealously over the attention mom was now giving to her new dog. After all, Panchita had been the sole recipient of all her attention for an awfully long time!
While mom has mourned the loss of her parrot and still goes outside in the evenings to scour the skies and the trees around the neighborhood just in case there is any chance of Panchita coming home; it’s little Benji that occupies her caregiving duties. Mom has spent most of her 92 years caring for others – her mother, husband, children, and grandchildren as well as occasions when distant relatives needed a temporary home. Now as she slowly reconciles with the inevitable fact that she is the one in need of someone to care for her; she still lingers on to what gives her great comfort and joy and that is being a caregiver.
This reminds me of a quote from Josh Jameson – “There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.” Mom has chosen to turn the page in her life and continues to give her love and attention to others, she is not ready to close the book! While Panchita flying the coop was certainly a loss for mom, gaining Benji maintains her spirit!
mmLearn.org provides FREE online videos for caregivers of older adults. Are you caring for an elderly parent, sibling or spouse? Share some of your insights and challenges about caregiving – we would love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more episodes of Chronicles of Caregiving.