Being a caregiver for a sick loved one is one of the most stressful undertakings anyone will experience. I am not married and I have no children, but over the past 7 years my mother has now become my child. She is living with severe dementia; a condition I do not wish upon any living soul. Three to four times a week I visit my mom at her assisted living facility. No two visits are the same, yet ironically it always seems like Groundhog Day to me. Dementia takes away more than just your brainpower. It robs you of your independence, your faculties and your dignity.
With all the sadness that comes from reliving the loss of who my mother once was after every visit, I find that it’s the smallest things that keep me sane. Like when I whisper, “Mommy, I love you” and she clearly says, “I love you too.” When we walk around the facility she grabs my hand, probably the same way I did with her when I was a toddler. She uses her thumb to rub my hand over and over again. That rub is the touch that melts my heart and keeps me strong. That rub is priceless. I thank God for it everyday.