Saturday, August 8, 2015

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those night when you've got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail;
And your third fiancé didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead;
The morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,

People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;

This past week's visit was much like all of the rest. I found Mother sitting in her chair watching her favorite cartoon network. Her mannerisms were the same, that of gently  and methodically combing her fingers across her forehead and through her hair. That mannerism used to bother me because Joan was always so neat and proper. Doing anything with her hair except perfectly styling it was certainly out of the question. These days though, it's okay with both of us that she finds this stress-release.

I've been told that some of the next signs I'll see as her Alzheimer's progresses, is a frustration on her part to find the words she so desperately wants to articulate. I'm seeing shades of this now, but for the most part, her conversations are still intelligible.

Tonight's conversations were similar to the ones from my last few visit. "I look out the window every day to see if I can see your red car." "The people here are really nice to me." "I like the food, but I'm always full." "They forgot to get my laundry." "Can you fix my candle? It isn't working." I like the man who cleans my room. He found my earring." "How are Braxtyn and Gavin? I bet they are getting big now." all time favorite...... "Everybody here knows my name."

We all love recognition, don't we? A hearty hand shake, a kiss on the check, a tip of the hat acknowledging that we exist. That we are important. That we serve a purpose. Well then, I guess it's no different for Mother either. The most important thing to her is that everybody knows her name. That she matters. That someone cares.

As a care partner or advocate for those who depend on us, it's easy to get caught up in the 'what about me' syndrome. We spend countless hours caring for, worrying about, and advocating for the person who's been placed under our care-radar. We grow weary, frustrated and right out exhausted carrying this burden. We desperately want someone, anyone, to acknowledge how heavy the load is that we carry. But, what about the person we care for? How often do we take the time to deflect from our own struggles and show one ounce of empathy or compassion for their struggles?

Oh, so embarrassed to admit, that for me, it's not often enough. But, for a moment tonight, I listen to Mother whose life has a beautiful purpose, still reminding me that it's not all about me and that she loves being at a place where the troubles are all the same ,and Everybody Knows Your Name.


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