...there is no present like the time....
...there is no time like the present...
I’ve come to realize that many of the things I love to do are filled with “multiple occasions for hope.” Take fishing for example. Every time you cast your line out, there is hope a fish will find your bait irresistible and take the hook. That hope is there with every cast, whether the fish are biting like crazy or barely interested. Or in the case of my last trout fishing expedition, not interested in all.
When hiking, every turn in the trail provides an occasion for hope. You hope to see a stunning vista. You hope to see wildlife. You hope to see the end of the trail because you are exhausted.
Cooking is another example. I’ve had multiple occasions for hope as I’ve learned to bake at our 7000 feet high altitude. I hope that cake doesn’t “fall”. I hope that bread actually rises. I hope someone else will clean up the kitchen because I am a messy cook. Actually, that would be a wish, not a hope.
So what’s the difference between hope and wish? “Hope” is used to describe things we want that are possible. For example, I hope to catch a fish today. “Wish” is used to describe things we want which are unlikely or impossible. For example, I wish I were tan. I wish those dishes would wash themselves.
There is a lot of hoping and wishing in caregiving. You hope your loved one will have a good day. You hope he or she will eat today. You wish his or her health will improve. You wish for times when things were better. You hope you are doing the right things for your loved one.
And then there is faith. Faith is knowing something is true. Hope is more like wishful thinking where faith is confident thinking. I think a quote from Saint Augustine says it well. ”Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
So live deliberately. Enjoy the multiple occasions for hope in your life. Wish for the things that will make the journey meaningful and rewarding. Then have faith in the direction you have chosen and the reward at the end of the trail.
Does every cloud have a silver lining? No, but it doesn’t hurt to look for the silver lining. It is hard to find a cloud’s silver lining when the cloud is loss. We experience so many kinds of loss in our lives. To me, life’s biggest loss is the loss of a loved one. It’s an irreversible and seemingly unbearable loss. However, the pain of loss is a small price to pay for the intensity of love. No pain, no gain.
The “gain of loss” is a beautiful contradiction. It’s been almost one year since I experienced the loss of my mother. Even though her passing was not sudden and was not a surprise, I wasn’t prepared for the void her death left in my life. That void wasn’t created because I no longer had to care for her. It wasn’t created because I had time on my hands. It was created because she was gone. The many hours of caregiving provided countless opportunities to learn more about her, to grow closer to her and to share my love with her. Those were active, physically engaging moments that moved from the “doing” category to the “remembering” category upon her death.
I lost my mother, but in the end I gained the enduring gift of human companionship and compassion. Her death taught me a lot. Her life taught me more.
One of the challenges for a new author is book reviews. I've read that only 1% of readers will take the time to leave a review. I continue to encourage my readers to leave a candid review after reading my book. Here is a review done by IndieReader.com. I received a 5-star rating from IndieReader!
"Highlighting a mix of well-known and personal household phrases, Smith accompanies them with a flurry of hilarious stories that compare the experiences of her aging mom to Smith's childhood."
Anyone who has had to care for an elderly parent knows first hand how daunting that task can be. Yet amid all the trials and tribulations, there are moments—precious gleanings—of joy and pure laughter. That said, Smith’s memoir capitalizes on these precious gleanings from her decade-long role as a caregiver for her mother.
Smith’s debut offers lightheartedness to an otherwise somber aging and end-of-life process. Smith’s narrative reflects on moments when the familial table turns and she spouts out the same maxims her mother once used on Smith during her childhood. Laying the groundwork for her account, Smith opens with 16 valuable life lessons passed down to her from her parents, which play a key role in helping her “deal with being a caregiver.” Smith quickly draws readers into familiar territory when she includes lesson topics, such as “Honesty is really the best policy,” “Crying is good for the soul,” “Forgive and forget,” and “Do unto others,” to name a few.
Continuing to connect with her audience, Smith’s chapters are replete with her down-to-earth writing style. Highlighting a mix of well-known and personal household phrases, Smith accompanies them with a flurry of hilarious stories that compare the experiences of her aging mom to Smith’s childhood. While readers will quickly recognize adages such as “Are you going to sleep all day?” “Turn that down!” “Stand up straight!” and “Hang up your clothes,” Smith also provides a handful of illuminating lines, such as “Huh is not a word,” “Can’t never could,” and “Did you want that hair color?”
Smith closes with another set of lessons learned that incorporates helpful caregiver tips. Although respectfully dedicated to the life of her mother, Smith’s memoir serves a great purpose: “For all you wonderful children who provide loving care to a parent, I hope this book gives you a laugh, a smile and a little inspiration. You already have had enough tears. Just remember, sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”
TRADING PLACES: BECOMING MY MOTHER’S MOTHER is a bittersweet combination of pain and joy.
- See more at: www.indiereader.com
Welcome to my journey. I believe "caring" can be your most effective skill in tackling the challenges in life. Whether you are striving to achieve a goal, trying to complete a mundane task, or actually providing care for an individual, CARING gives you the focus to succeed.