Caretakers and Cheesecake| March 23, 2021
We gave them $100. They made someone’s day. 9 stories
Nominated by S.S.
Lying in the hospital awaiting surgery for a slipped disc wasn’t fun by any account. But I did get to catch up on my reading, a luxury usually buried under my varied responsibilities. I flipped through Family First in an effort to distract myself from the pain, and that’s when I saw it. Make Her Day.
And I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Our family made aliyah when I was sixteen, and we grew very close from the experience. My mother’s greatest joy is spending time with me and my siblings. She works full-time as an OT, and in addition, she’s my grandmother’s caretaker. She would never hear of putting her mother, an ailing Holocaust survivor, into a nursing home.
“This is my zechus,” she says. “This is my mitzvah.”
My grandmother’s aide is leaving soon, and my mother is running around filling prescriptions, making food, and ensuring her mother is as comfortable as possible.
But her job as caretaker has recently expanded even further to include someone none of us would have ever dreamed would need such care. Our strong, solid father was recently diagnosed with advanced early-onset Alzheimer’s. At the age of 59, my mother now cares for her own husband.
There was denial at first, and then mourning, an accelerated five stages of grief, simply because there was no time. A will had to be signed immediately while he was still present enough, and other technical details needed tending to. His condition is rapidly deteriorating, and my mother’s entire focus is now on caring for her ailing husband and mother.
I wanted to surprise my mother with a beautiful brunch for me and my siblings to enjoy with her, but I couldn’t keep it a secret. I told her about the nomination; we both cried as I read to her what I’d written to Family First from my hospital bed weeks before.
The brunch was delicious, ordered-in homemade food that made us all feel pampered and spoiled, but my mother told us that what meant even more to her was the idea that I’d taken the time to single her out for recognition. She’s so busy giving to everyone else constantly; it was wonderful to have someone look out for her. And the bagels were really good too.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 736)
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