On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert does a recurring skit, now a best-selling book, called Midnight Confessions, in which he “confesses” to his audience with the disclaimer that he isn’t sure these things are really sins but that he does “feel bad about them.” While Stephen and his writers are famously funny, I am not, so my JC’s Confessions will be somewhat more serious reflections, but they will be things that I feel bad about. Stephen’s audience always forgives him at the end of the segment; I’m not expecting that – and these aren’t really sins – but comments are always welcome.
In the months that my mom was in the skilled nursing unit, she had a couple of neighbors who used to shout out “Help me!”over and over to anyone passing by their rooms. There were also a handful of residents who would occasionally wander into her room and mistake my dad for their husband or me for a daughter or a staff member.
It was hard for me not to get annoyed sometimes, even though I knew that these other residents were ailing and exhibiting dementia symptoms.
As I reflected more about this, I realized that my reactions were tied to feeling helpless. I couldn’t help what was happening to these other residents and I couldn’t help what was happening to my mom.
As a caretaker, one is always trying to make things better. It hurts when that isn’t possible.