Lately, I’ve noticed mom just sitting for long periods of time. I may have to call her more than once to get her attention and it scares me. This learned behavior comes from the couple of times when her blood sugar had dropped dangerously low.
When I do get her attention, she seems confused and my mind immediately goes to, “Is this the start of dementia?” Jumping to the worst-case scenario is such a common thing for caregivers, isn’t it? After all, experience has taught us that life can change on a dime.
What I have come to realize and appreciate is that in these moments mom is thinking deeply about something. It may be a memory about dad or her childhood. It may be deciding if something should be added to our grocery list on Alexa. More and more, it is something she heard while listening to the news with her headphones and it generates a conversation between us about the state of the world or my opinion on something that has happened.
I’ve come to realize that mom sitting quietly doesn’t mean something is wrong. Sitting quietly can be a way of figuring out what has meaning in our lives. It is a way to process the craziness of this world in order to decide how to handle it. Do we take an action or let it go?
I’ve come to appreciate how sitting quietly and thinking benefits me as a caregiver. There are so many tasks on my to do list that I’m always stressed. When I write them down, I can let them go. It frees me to sit quietly even for a couple of minutes, which gives me the room to think. Trust me, I’m not coming up with some great philosophical idea. But I am making space in my head and body to slow down, relax and let my mind flow. Who knows, maybe in that space I’ll come up with a tool that makes a caregiver’s life easier. Then look out Shark Tank, here I come.