We’re going to make an exception to our rule about moths over butterflies. This lovely guy must have just emerged from his chrysalis and walked out onto the road to dry his wings. He was slowly stretching and flexing them, as if he was getting used to them. If he was doing this at the gym while watching his reflection in a mirror, I would not have invited him to visit us at the Bossy Spa, but I think his wings were just brand new, and I worried he might get run over.
Texas is home to more than 400 species of butterflies, so it’s hard to identify them all. I tried to look up what kind this one is, but the site was organized by the butterfly’s scientific name. I don’t know the name. That is why I am looking it up, but I think this is the Gulf Fritillary butterfly.
When I bent to take his picture, he started ambling toward the edge of the road. Since our country neighborhood is pretty quiet, his chances of making it safely to the side were pretty good. Later in the day I looked for him and he had not been flattened, so take note. Sometimes lovely creatures don’t get flattened.
When the big picture looks dismal, sometimes it helps to focus on something small like the fuzzy brown body, delicate antennae, and beautiful brown and orange markings on our butterfly. Maybe your mother with Alzheimer’s is sitting on the front porch with her overcoat over her pajamas, wearing pink flip flops, holding a purse full of gumdrops and paperclips, and asking you every five minutes when you are taking her to work. The big picture for someone with dementia can be pretty draining to deal with every day.
Ask yourself if there is something small and lovely that can get you through the day today. Maybe there is, but if there is not, if you are just at the end of your rope, and no small lovely thing can make a hill of beans worth of difference, it is time for a change, maybe a big one.
Caregiving progresses in stages, just like your patient’s disease. When you are just fed up and this feeling persists more than a couple of days, you may be ready for another stage. Is it time to hire outside help? Is it time to move him out of your shared room? Is it time to go off the medications? Is it time to move her into residential care? I cannot answer these questions, but I can tell you with certainty that no one is served by continuing with no changes if you are at the end of your rope.
You think if only you were nicer you could keep going. Quit this silly line of thinking. You are not any nicer than you are, and you cannot keep going at a rate that will land you in burnout or depression or compromised health.
Consider today what you will change to make your life easier. It may be time to do that next thing. Move your delicate, lovely, beautiful self over to the side of the road. Get out of harm’s way to keep yourself from getting flattened. You are precious, you know.
Please share what is the next step for you.