What I Learned From Taking Care of My Mom Until the Day She Died

“I’m sh**t*ng in my diaper!” my mom yelled out to me. She was going through a period of uncontrollable bowels due to her many medications. Mommy needed my help and I did what I had to do.

Eventually, the disease got to her major joints and resulted in a lot of replacements. Hip, knee, foot, hand… Name it, she got it. Mobility became very difficult. Mom was in and out of the hospital and in nursing homes recovering so often that her illness became a normal part of my life. Her missing my major life events like senior prom, college graduation, and my engagement party (JK. That didn’t happen. Still single, guys.) was no big deal. It was life.

In high school, I often woke up in the middle of the night to help her use the bathroom. Then began my routine of me showering her every so often. And when I came home from college, it wasn’t to go out and catch-up with high school friends at the latest rager. It was to relieve my brother and father from their mommy duties.

It can be trapping, having to take care of a sick parent. Especially one that basically needs around the clock care. You feel like you can’t leave the house…ever. I didn’t have weekends for a very long time. I never went to a single brunch because I had to stay home while my brother and dad went to work. I began to resent my mom’s sickness but never her. She didn’t choose to become that ill. But home was never an oasis of peace. It was a place of constant worry and work. My mother never seemed to be getting better. It was either the same or worse.

Ultimately, I learned the true meaning of love and patience from my mother’s situation. When she could no longer walk and had limited movement with her arms, she moved at a slug’s pace. Helping her to use the bedpan or get comfortable in bed required gingerly actions. And after having to clean her up multiple times from accidents, like sh*tt*n$ in her diaper, you appreciate life a little more and learn to love a little more.

Written by: Dara Adeeyo

Dara Adeeyo is a freelance writer and has been published on Thought Catalog and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Check out her website here to read more about her and her work!