Not enough time in the day…

I know I shouldn’t feel guilty.  But there are days when I do.  I feel guilty that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need to and everything I want to.  Including visiting Dad.  I wish I could go see him every day.  For a while, I tried.  But life got in the way, and it has become every other day, every third day, sometimes just once or twice a week.  I know in my head that he is being well-taken care of.  The staff at his Assisted Living residence is wonderful.  They all adore him (of course – everyone does!).  When I do go by, even if it is just for a quick 15 minute visit, he always seems to glad to see me.  I know that he doesn’t really have a sense of how much time has passed, but it breaks my heart when I haven’t been there for a few days and he says “I haven’t seen you in a while”.  In my head, I know he says that even when I was just there the day before, but in my heart, my guilt over how little time I can spend with him sometimes makes me feel like I am not doing my job.

But then I remember that I am grateful for the time I do get to spend with him.  I am grateful that he is here and not 1000 miles away on the East Coast.  I am grateful that I know how important it is for me to get there as often as I do, and I realize that I am doing what I can and should not feel guilty for having other responsibilities as well.  If he was located more than 20 minutes from my house or from my work, it would be so much harder to get to see him, even once or twice a week.  So I give myself an emotional break. I shake off the guilt and let it be OK that I didn’t get there yesterday.  And probably won’t get there tomorrow.  But today, I plan to go have dinner with him and enjoy the time we have.  I am glad I can make the time today.

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3 responses to “Not enough time in the day…

  1. My husband struggled with this when his mother was ill. It seemed as if the lawn *always* needed mowed, the piles of clean dishes and laundry magically turned into piles of filth, and the groceries weren’t going to buy themselves. Sometimes it’s so easy to get task-focused. His struggle was he always thought of social interactions as a frivolity–there were more productive ways to spend his time. As his mother became increasingly ill, I encouraged him to spend time with her. Quarterly phone calls became monthly calls. Then visits. Then weekly visits. When all was said and done, he was grateful for the time he spent with her–even if she called him by his older brother’s name and constantly repeated herself.

    Seeing anyone–especially a parent–is hard when they’re beginning to show signs of aging and deteriorating health. But those precious moments are WORTH IT. Kudos to you for realizing this before it’s too late 🙂

  2. Sweetie – everyone feels those feelings when helping an aging parent. Mom and I were 250 miles away from each other and I’d feel guilty if I missed a weekend going to her. I would get the same statement when I would visit her even though it had only been a week and I talked to her on the phone every day…it’s been too long since you’ve been here…oh boy,
    talk about guilt…you are being too hard on yourself as I was but be careful…I got myself physically ill from guilt and frankly Mom was living in her own world the last year due to dementia and could calculate time.
    You take care and know we think and talk about you, Jeanne, John and Edee all the time. Love,
    Your Minneapolis cousin

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