By Charles Towne
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a series of articles on caregivers and caregiving.
One evening several years ago the phone rang. It was my wife and it was obvious that she was distraught and that she had been crying. She told me that she had left her workplace in Apopka and instead of turning right to go home she turned left and drove and drove and drove. She drove over twenty miles out of the way and ended up at the Orlando International airport.
About a month later the incident repeated itself.
During this time Nanny was involved in three minor fender-benders and then she rear-ended a pickup truck at a stop light. She was given a ticket for careless driving for that last one which resulted in her having to take a driving course.
Much to her dismay, she couldn’t make heads or tails of the traffic signs and the inevitable verdict came back, “NO MORE DRIVING!”
Like most of us my darling, my well-educated world traveler, my adventurer, took driving for granted. It was like breathing and walking, something she knew she would always be able to do. And then one day she was no longer able to do it.
Please imagine one of your greatest freedoms is suddenly snatched away from you. Imagine losing your ability to do something that you have always enjoyed doing, imagine…
One day I found my sweetie sitting in the driver’s seat of our pickup truck. She was neatly dressed and her purse was on the seat beside her. Her face was wet with tears. I opened the door and asked, “What’s wrong honey, why are you crying?” Smiling her beautiful smile She looked at me through her tears and said, “I can’t find my keys… Charles, have you seen my keys?”
And so now, after fifteen years of caregiving, I was forced to make a decision. As difficult as it was I am satisfied that it was the right decision.
Nanny is now a resident of the Florida Living nursing center. She doesn’t understand why, just that she is.
I love my wife. I visit with her for a few hours each day. It is not what I planned, it’s just the way it is.
A CAREGIVER’S PRAYER
Dear God, please help me to be understanding and compassionate as Jesus is understanding and compassionate. Please help me to always speak words of encouragement and hope to those that need it. Let others see Jesus in me. Speak to me and give me grace. In Jesus’ blessed name I ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.