Taking care of an aging parent or spouse, as one is also aging, is not for easy. But there’s a silver lining to this as well.
Several years ago, I returned to the house in which I grew up to take care of my now 94-year-old mother with the assistance of a daytime caregiver. When the pandemic hit and the lockdown began, I worked from home as an IT security engineer trying to remotely protect the University of Maryland at Baltimore from multiple computer viruses, hackers, and careless faculty, students, and staff. I could write a book, but I won't.
At the same time, I was locally trying to protect my high-risk (COPD) mother (and my old self) from a deadly virus as well.
As for that silver lining that I mentioned earlier, my isolation at home has allowed me to focus on what we have been commanded to do. I have tasked myself with trying to honor my mother and her life’s work. My mother, Mary Simpson Gorman, minored in art in college. When my father had a major stroke soon after I graduated from Washington & Lee University, my mother took up her marriage vow and cared for him for 13 years until he parted in 1987. She had been taking art courses at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), one at a time, to keep her sanity from the hand she had been dealt. An administrator at the school suggested that she sign up for a degree.
So, she did, and soon received the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, at the age of 65.
My task to honor her includes collecting all her artwork to photograph, digitize, and frame. You’d be amazed at all the greeting cards, sketches, drawings, collages, watercolors, paintings, etc. that can be stored throughout a house in all rooms, basement, and attic. I’m even considering making prints and merchandise of her artwork — like coasters, placemats, calendars, mugs, etc.