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Been in a heads down mode---working on my upcoming book, card product, client work, and preparing to launch my youngest son to college. Long hours. No time for a new blog. No time for complete sentences. Short of breath.

The phone rings. The message—Mom’s been hospitalized with heart issues. It was time to drop everything and go. And so I did. To complicate matters more, mom is the majority caregiver for my 97-year-old grandmother. So not only did we need to take care of mom, but we also had to take care of Grandma.

Grandma’s a sweet soul with a feisty spirit that keeps her ticking. Her body is fairly healthy. Her mind is unpredictable. Much of the time, she’s unaware. So we hoped she wouldn’t notice when my sister, Barb, and I showed up to take care of her. Total and complete rookies walking into uncertainty.

So, we started with dinner and then we tackled showering her—a grand feat best done by a Powerlifter with eight arms. It exhausted all three of us. We dressed her in comfy PJs and had just sat down to relish in our progress, when Grandma’s dinner burst on the scene for a second time. It came up—and up and up, gracing her PJs and making quite a mess. So it was time for round two--undressing, cleaning, and redressing Grandma. It was beginning to feel like we were starring in an episode of Lucy and Ethel take care of Grandma.

Still a bit frazzled and counting down to bedtime, Barb began to entertain Grandma by coloring a page from an adult coloring book, letting Grandma choose the colors. Grandma eyed the page carefully. And then in a moment of clarity, she pointed to the saying on the page and read “Remember to take a deep breath.” Her gaze met our surprised faces. And she smiled.

Sometimes the messages we need to hear come from unexpected sources. So listen.

Uncertainty and clarity can co-exist. So don’t give up.

When there is no instruction book, just breathe!


(Update: Mom’s doing well. And Grandma’s already forgotten we were ever there. But we’ll cherish the memory forever.)


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