They say that all good things must come to an end. This week we officially "put an end" to our church volunteers.
For the past 3 years, wonderful ladies from our church have been volunteering their time to come over and sit with mom. When mom and dad's ward saw the need, they filled it. Every Sunday, the "compassionate service leader" passed around a sign up sheet in the women's auxiliary (called the "Relief Society") and women from church signed up for two 4 hour shifts throughout the week. Additionally, if we were ever in a jam, we knew we could count on them to help us out. This was such a huge relief for us, especially in the beginning when were first discovering that Mom needed some extra supervision to keep her safe at home. It was a huge relief and stress off my back (as the caregiver coordinator) to know that there were those two periods of time that I never had to worry about. I knew that they would always pull through for us.
About 6 months ago, our wards changed and Mom and Dad were merged into my ward (our church operates in boundaries, much like a school district system). This meant a new coordinator in Relief Society and a different group of women. While the ladies in the other ward had come to love Mom and looked forward to their service with her, this new group wasn't as familiar with our routine and need, so it's been more of a struggle to get people to sign up (or show up when they do sign up). I don't fault or blame anyone, it is what it is and it may be a lot to ask people to sign up for. Dad and I have been discussing the phasing out of volunteers and knew that it wouldn't last forever.
As expected with this disease, Mom is advancing in progression. In some ways it is easier (she spends a lot of time in bed) but in some ways it is much harder, especially now that she is diapers full time. We've been very fortunate to have no issues on our volunteers' watch, but I know that we have just been biding our time. It will inevitably happen that Mom has a big mess while a volunteer is with her, and I wouldn't expect them to have to clean up that mess.
Taking all of these factors into account, we have officially called off our church volunteers. It is bittersweet. I have come to love many of these women who have so selflessly and compassionately loved and served my family. I know that many of them have come to love and care for my mom as well (and they are certainly welcome to come visit!) On behalf of my family, I want to give our sincere gratitude and thanks to all of the women over the past few years who have stepped up and helped to ease our burden. We could not have done this without you! We love you and will forever remember the great service you gave to us in our time of need. I don't know that I can ever repay each individual back, but I hope to repay it back by giving others service in their time of need. Love, service and compassion is what makes the world go round!