Monday, 27 April 2015

Worry Jar. #atozchallenge. Care for the carers.

Two days after her 73rd birthday my Mum took her final breath. She had Alzheimers and Motor neurone disease. For her final 3 months I was her main carer. A privilege I am grateful for and will cherish forever. This years #atozchallenge theme will focus on being a carer / care-giver.


Remember to care for the carers.  


Worry Jar





"Please Mum, don't worry"

"I'm your Mother, it's my job to worry."  Of all the misguided lessons she'd learnt this was the most destructive of them all.   

I started a worry jar. One dollar for each worry. Repeated worries cost double. I told her it was the easiest money I'd ever make. So entrenched was her duty to worry, she smiled and said she was willing to pay. 

I tried to show her what an empty jar looked like. 

Worry gave her a purpose. Her creative imagination wasted on wrestling anxiety and strengthening sorrows.

'Why worry?' I'd recite what I remembered of the Irish philosophy stuck on her fridge as we were growing up. '...Either you are healthy or sick... if you're healthy you have nothing to worry about.  If you are sick you will either get better or die....if you die you have nothing to worry about' - or something like that.

Every afternoon around 4:00 o'clock, she'd worry about where the kids were. The neighbourhood's kids had become adults decades ago. I asked her all sorts of questions. 'Whose kids, how many of them, how old are they, where were they before..?' I knew she meant her own babies but still I tried to move a mind that had lost its way in 2012, and lingered at times in long ago. 

In the end I stuck to reassuring her that everyone she worried about was happy and safe.  

"Thank-you. That's all that matters." she'd say.

One morning I wrote her a note. Anything written down was important and trusted. It worked better than the worry jar. I gave her the same note almost every day. It would have been better without the date. 

"2014?" she'd question. 'Already.' I'd say.






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10 comments:

  1. Love it. Mothers are meant to worry some at least. Hopefully they don't do it to the detriment of their health. I worried as a father, but my girls all made it through their teenage years and now seem to be responsible adults. I don't worry about them much anymore.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I think worrying, even just a little bit, is both a symptom and cause of detrimental health. We don't live in a perfect world so at least worrying about them less as they mature is a step towards better health, or perhaps it's just proof that there was nothing to worry about in the first place. Thanks for visiting Lee - this years #atozchallenge seems to have been another great success

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  2. Yes I guess that's what mothers are for (amongst other things). Bless her for her ongoing concern over the neighbours even though they were grownup.

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    1. Our street was always filled with kids, after school we'd gather and play. I often joke that she worried so much about her own children that she organised for the neighbours all came to our front yard, so she always knew where we were. She had time warped back to a time where the sound of children playing let her know we were safe... so the silence worried her.

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  3. My mother would worry about not having something to worry about. She used to drive me nuts.

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  4. Mothers will worry. It comes with the responsibility.

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  5. Hi Ida .. I had a sad conversation with my mother, when she said I should be taking care of you ... but I can't any more, and now you're taking care of me - it was very sad ... but she was so right and so down to earth .... and I was lucky, as she knew what was happening etc ... You really did work out what your mother needed - well done ... cheers Hilary

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    1. We had that conversation often. My Father would reassure her that it was only natural. :) Empathy rather than worry helped me understand what her needs were.

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  6. Worrying is a part of a mother's job description!! My mother (in her seventies) worries about me and I worry about my daughter... The circle continues... Maybe we should try the worry jar and have a wonderful meal out from the money collected ... :)

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Feedback and your own stories are welcome.