I just want to, okay?
I want a time machine just back to when we could easily move my dad from place to place. When our little grands were littler and things just felt so black and white and not as confusing. To when we at least had one of our daughters living close, to a time when wearing masks seemed laughable.
That time machine would also go back several years to when refugees were easily brought to our country, and people desperately wanted to work with seniors who needed help navigating their final days on this planet. For two years we have been in caregiver crisis mode. My dad, Bob, is pictured with our daughter and girls only two short years ago before Christmas. He had had a big fall the summer prior to this picture, but only needed help in the morning, and at night in his home where he still lives independently.
That all changed this past fall. He went down after rolling his ankle, had surgery with pins and plates on his birthday, and a horrible rehab experience that didn’t allow us to visit for eight long weeks. His memory, his cognitive abilities are now so diminished. It has been so very hard. In the midst of this he has lost two extraordinary caregivers, one young man from Uganda and then another wonderful woman from the Philippines. After his hospitalization we have had a parade of people come and go for about three months. We have been living in caregiver crisis.
I can’t understand why our care organization can’t get someone steady and faithful to work with this sweet man who just needs help getting up and down from his chair to his walker. Our caregiver from Uganda was deported. Our caregiver from the Philippines blamed herself for his fall … she was not at fault. We begged and pleaded. All we want is a person to live with him faithfully, and treat him with respect and dignity.
And I am exhausted.
And I just want to see my kids and grands who live in other states (now that we have shot #2).
I know everyone says that refugees are complicated and difficult to bring into our country. This is true because our past administration drastically cut the numbers allowed. Many say that people from our country are out of work and we need to employ them first. I agree in part, however, from my perspective, it doesn’t seem like too many people want to care for needy 96 year olds either.
Refugees are trying to escape desperate situations— crave steady work, and have made the difficult decision to leave their beloved homeland. Many are ready, willing and able to offer companionship to the elderly, and hopefully our new administration will open our borders very, very soon. Many of us also want our country to wade into the murky waters, and offer a clear path to citizenship for the people in our land who have come illegally also.
On Friday, I met a new caregiver for my dad. She came to the states as a refugee during the genocide in Rwanda. I haven’t heard her entire story yet, but has worked with another older person for ten years who just died at age 109. The woman she cared for out lived her own three children. When I met with her she was still grieving the loss of her American mama.
By her words and countenance I could tell she was tender, respectful— full of love. I only pray that she will stay with my dad until the Lord takes him home.
PS If any of you are interested in helping with the refugee crisis there are many organizations that so this wonderful work. I am partial to these two: World Relief and my daughter-in-law works for Lutheran Family services. Check them out to learn more.