• Parenting your parent

Today I had to face a new chalenge: taking care of my mom’s personal hygiene; I gave her a shower and scrubbed her back for the first time in my life. To clarify, my mom is 97 years old and living in a retirement home since she had a femoral neck fracture 4 years ago. The last time I visited her I noticed some unconfortable smell around her and when I asked the caring people they told me that my mom refuses any help, arguing she knows very well how to wash herself. She was a Red Cross nurse during 2nd World War and knows better the job than these young ladies! Every time the nurses tried to get her ready for washing she begann screaming and rolling on the floor, simulating a dementia crisis. For that reason they asked me, if I would like to try it, maybe I could have any authority on her?

So this morning I did it! I went to see her and said I would like to help her and make her smell lovely with some nice products I brought with me. She first began moaning and shouting but I kept on telling her the nurses are liking when family members show how they help their parents and as the weather is so hot the nice shower will be so good for her and so on…

She got undressed by herself, still moaning and grumbling while I put all dirty clothes away and prepared the fresh clothes. And so I helped her under the shower. For me it was difficult to see her so old body, her hunched back, her fine and wrinkled skin, but I washed her. I felt suddenly very proud of this help I could give to her, it was a proof of love and my discomfort dissapeared. I took fresh towels and dried her body, helped her in fresh underwear. As final extra I creamed her face, arms and legs with nice smelling cream and helped her in fresh clothes. I brushed her hair with pleasure and nearly melted down when a nice smile appeared on her face! She was happy and grateful that I helped her. She was proud to show the nurses that she still has a daughter who takes care of her.

Her skin was fresh and smelled good and my heart was swollen with joy. I surpassed my apprehension, I gained in self esteem and have shared something with my mum.

I don’t know how old she will get, she still is in good health, buth things can change from one day to the other. This souvenir will be unique.

I just know we need something good to share with our parents in the end of their life, this will help us to put the bad souvenirs in the background. My effort and then my joy, her gratitude and the moment shared will remain