Cindy and Dorothy May, affectionately known as Granny Dot’s story
Sometimes it’s hard for me to talk about my mom without getting choked up. That’s because when I think about all she’s done for our family, this torrent of emotion floods my entire body. I am so grateful for everything she taught us while we were growing up.
My 92 year-old mother, Dorothy May, started living with me and my husband since 2009. This woman has always been smart as a whip. She graduated as valedictorian in high school; and summa cum laude in college. My mom ventured into education as a career.
It was a privilege when she was given the title of 4H agent through West Virginia University extension office—she was the first in Putnam County, West Virginia to receive the title. She was also a high school teacher who taught English, Journalism, and Physical Education. She also developed a West Virginia history project, math project, and highly visible health project to kids in her school district.
My mom has always been the type of person who grabbed one opportunity after the next. When I was a child, I remember wanting to be just like her. So I followed in her footsteps and also pursued a career in education.
Nowadays, Mom is confined to her bed. It’s difficult to watch a parent’s health decline—especially when you consider how she was so vibrant, active and engaged in her younger years.
A few years ago, my mother lost her mobility. But that hasn’t stopped her from living as full a life that she can. To this day, her mind is still very active and engaging.
In 2014, my mom took interest in helping a local church and family organization that needed clothing for kids located on the other side of the globe. That year we sewed 72 sundresses for girls in Kenya—it took us about a week.
My mom also enjoys watching the birds fly up to the feeder that is located near her bedroom window. All sorts of bird species pay her a visit—from American gold finches, blue jays, cardinals, to nuthatches, and chickadees. I like to record the bird visits, so I keep a bird journal for my mom.
She twinkles each time I jot down who came to visit the feeder. She just smiles ear to ear. I wish you could meet her; she has the most gentle and sweet personality.
I take a lot of pride in giving my mom the best care possible. Her caregiving has become my mission in life. I do this for her—but I also do it for me. Nothing feels better than knowing you are giving your parent something they could not have, unless you provided it. I feel blessed that I find this work so rewarding. And in many ways, I feel honored that I am able to do this for my mom.
Caring for someone who is bedridden takes a certain amount of dedication. From daily bedside feeding, bathing, and constantly repositioning her, there’s never a dull moment. It takes a fair amount of effort on my part, but I’m happy to do it. And even happier to say, she’s never had a bedsore.
My mom’s skin is soft as can be. People are impressed when they see her youthful glow. I constantly moisturize her skin. I also use Sage Comfort Shield Barrier Cream Cloths on her bottom. I’m so glad I found the product because it keeps her skin healthy.
At age 92, my mom still wants to look her best. Each day she asks me, in her own way, to style her hair. Then, she usually picks her favorite rose earrings. Before I dress her, I give her two choices on blouses. She simply nods to let me know which one she likes. Even though she doesn’t talk much, we still have a wonderful way of communicating.
Sometimes I crawl up into her bed to sit next to her. We hold hands and it comforts both of us. When it comes to my mom’s care, at the end of the day, I just want her to feel comfortable, well cared for and loved. So am I willing to do everything I can to make that happen.
No individuals or organizations were compensated by Sage or Stryker for contributing to this article.