The Samurai Caregiver

The Hole In The Room

Posted on: June 8, 2017

There’s a hole in the room.

I knew it was going to be there, intellectually, but I didn’t expect my emotional response to the hole in the room

The hole I just deliberately created in the room.

As the former caregiver and eternal placeholder in my heart of my Mom, three and a half years later, I am still in the ‘continue to let go phase” of her items that remain in the home she shared with me until she drew her last breath.

The last three weeks of her life were extremely difficult ones for her and I. When they released her from rehab to get hospice set up for her in our home, I purchased an electronic chair that would allow her to recline and snooze while watching television and assist her to a stand when it was time to get up. I was fortunate to find it at a good price. She enjoyed it; it definitely was a help to me when I needed to help her. Previously, it had been of assistance to another mother as well.

I placed it between the long sofa and the love seat couch. The configuration made a nice, comfy, little L-shaped cove that sectioned off a part of the room quite nicely.  It became a little DIY theater area while we watched the Harry Potter movies she so enjoyed and doubled as her dining area, where her every meal was served to her taste  – as her taste for anything dwindled and declined with each meal …until she didn’t want any meals at all.

So, it’s been sitting there, all this time, holding the space together, continuing to make the nice, cozy, living space in the room I spend most of my time in when I’m home. It’s been holding the space when I entertain others in the room. Quietly, peacefully and stately, just sitting there, not bothering a soul, nor asking for anything. Like it belonged there; like it had been here all the time.

…and then, I received a call from someone whose mother-in-law needed a chair. A chair like the one I had. Like the one I wasn’t really using – and that people seemed to respect when they came over to my house to see me since Mom’s transition. They all knew that was her special chair. Interesting? No one would ever sat in the chair and no one ever asked. I tried a few times, but it just-didn’t-feel-right. Maybe that’s what other people sensed when they came over, and that’s why there was no approach, no discussion about sitting in that chair. Hmm…

So when the inquiry came about me selling the chair I and for how much, yes, there was a little clinch, in my chest,  a little hesitation on my part, yes. But I knew it was time. Inside, I knew it was time. It was okay. (Breathe). Someone else needed it now. Someone else’s mom. (Breathe) How could I be selfish and say no?  It was time for this chair to go to a new home and help another mother. Someone needed it, Now, so I needed to let it go, Now, and not waffle on deciding to let it go,  Now!

I called him and told him I was here and he could come pick up the chair.  I cleaned and prepared it for its departure. The similarity of calling and preparing the chair to leave my home was very uncanny as I think back upon it now. It was I that called the funeral home to come retrieve my Mom when she transitioned while I and the nurse cleaned and prepared my Mom for her departure. It was a bittersweet meeting with the gentleman as he paid me, thanked me on the behalf of his mother-in-law,  loaded the chair and drove away. I watched him for a minute as he and the chair drove out of sight.

I did not watch as the hearse drove away with my Mom.

There’s a hole in the room.

…and the scab that continues to grow over the hole in my heart, only to get ripped off over and over again, exposing its hole, is exposed once again. Will it scab over once more? Of course…but will it ever heal…???

There’s a hole in the room.

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The Samurai Caregiver

Sybil L. Ingram, MBA, Ph.D.

Dr. Sybil Ingram is a respected and experienced professional in the areas of healthcare information systems and regulatory compliance issues with significant knowledge on INFOSEC, NIST, FISA, FISMA, CFR 210,211 & 820 as well as Lifespan Respite Care Act regulations. With over twenty years of healthcare experience, she has been one of the nation's foremost speakers and active consultants for the HIPAA implementation challenges, addressing all major aspects of the Administrative Simplification Subtitle and affected entities/stakeholders. Dr. Ingram has served as a clinician, clinical researcher and instructor, emergency preparedness and readiness specialist as well as serving as an independent validation and verification compliance manager for multiple national providers of healthcare services. She has held key positions for healthcare industry leaders such as HBOC/McKesson, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Labs, the Georgia Technology Authority and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). In addition, Dr. Ingram is nationally board certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, a former associate with the American College of Healthcare Executives, founder of Ingram And Associates, a certified INFOSEC professional by the Information Security And Audit Control Association and the US National Security Agency. As a volunteer, she is an active senior Georgia state representative for the National Family Caregivers Association and has an inventor's patent (pending) registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Organization. Dr. Ingram speaks nationally and internationally on topics that address information privacy and security as well as family care giving issues.

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