about writing and life and God

Dementia Diary 18: Just doing my best

on November 3, 2012

Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends. It’s just that they’re all so good at so much, it’s easy to feel bottom of the class.

I mentioned my attempt at making treacle scones the other day. Hot out of the oven, they tasted pretty good – but later that afternoon, when one of my clever friends turned up, I regretted offering home-made rather than shop-bought. The last two were crumbled and put out for the birds.

This morning, a very green-fingered friend gave me a house plant. I think this may be a simple enough one for me not to kill, but I am not confident. There’s a sad African violet on a windowsill that I think she gave me some time back and it is not thriving.

Not African violets: primulas fighting for their life against my neglect

Yesterday I took my husband out and encouraged him to go on the outings his residential home offers – not having thought through that he may not be going simply because he does not feel safe about going places he doesn’t know. As his consultant told me at the beginning of the year, ‘He will become more and more content in smaller and smaller spaces.’ But I forgot and now I’m hoping I haven’t created problems or unhappiness for him. Hopefully he will have forgotten.

But in comparison with my wise and clever friends, I do feel I’m not doing very well. Especially compared with my neighbour who continues to cope amazingly at home with her husband’s deterioration.

I recognise that all God’s people are officially designated ‘saints’ but I reckon my neighbour and all the other at-home carers struggling along pretty much on their own deserve sainthood with a capital S!

When I stop to think about it, I know that my neighbour would not agree about Sainthood and would cite lack of patience and all the other ills that carers are prey to. That reassures me.

But still there is a nagging desire to do better. But how do you do better when there is no recognised scale for what you’re doing, when each encounter is wholly unpredictable, and the only time you can think of  what you maybe should have done is afterwards when it’s too late!

So we’re back to simply doing our best. And accepting that sometimes other people’s best will look a whole lot better than ours. Looking back over this post, I can see I’ve been trying to do things that maybe I’m not gifted for – and maybe should leave to those who are. (Shop-bought scones next time?)

We each have gifts, each have things that we’re good at. And we each have our own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to this caring business.

Maybe instead of trying to meet other people’s standards, or being Jack of all trades, we would do better to focus on what we do well and happily and then aim to do that to our very best?

Text: “There are different kinds of gifts…” 1 Corinthians 12:4

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for my clever friends. Bless them in all the good things they do and give me contentment with the gifts You have given me.

Self-care suggestion: Stop beating yourself up! Accept that few folk get ten out of ten for everything and instead drop the things you can’t do and enjoy the things you can do. This will reduce stress!



One response to “Dementia Diary 18: Just doing my best

  1. This is when you trust God. He put you in your husband’s life because He knew your husband needs what YOU bring the table. Praying for you.

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