Caregiving Story

Sherina Selimaj, In Memory Of

Location:Patos, AL
Cared for by:Liri Selimaj
Years of Care:20


Mama Sherina was a great woman. She was full of positive energy and wisdom. Her condition did not stop her from living the life she loved so much with her seven children and 24 grandchildren.

When I met my husband and he told me about his mother's condition, I couldn't help but feel very sorry for the woman. I loved my husband and he loved me very much. That helped me be stronger, even though I was a little scared to be living with his disabled mother and not knowing if I would be able to care for her. In my mind I saw this woman sitting in a lowrise bed all day long and feeling very disconnected with the world that surrounds her. I was 100% wrong.

When I first met her, I thought she was the most lively and good humored person I had ever met in my life. She was a great teacher to me and my three children who adored her and her great stories. The lower half of her body was paralyzed and that prevented her from moving around, but she did everything else with her hands. She used to help me prepare vegetables, sew dresses for my two girls, and make rag dolls for them.

We lived in a communist country at that time and electric wheelchairs were not available for those who were unable to move around in their own. Now, every time my family and I see people that are able to move around and be free thanks to those chairs, we look at each other and think how great it would have been for our grandma to have had one of those chairs.

We lived in an apartment on the fourth floor and the buildings in our country did not have elevators, or any disabled access for that matter. If we had to go somewhere to visit family or go on a vacation, we had to carry her like a baby. It was very painful for her to move like that but there was no other choice. I remember how great my three kids used to deal with that situation. Even though they were very young, they used to chip in and always wanted to take care of their loving grandma.

My two girls used to help me carry her in a bassinet when we would give her a bath. When we undressed her, the scar on her thigh would make them want to hear the story of how grandma was hurt in the war. That's how, for lack of a doctor, she ended up paralyzed.

Our house was always full of people. Her children would come to see us and fill the house with grandchildren. They would always run by the bedside of their lovely grandma and nest in her chest. They would enjoy the head rubs and the songs their grandma used to sing to them. She would have candy and fruit in a little box next to her bed for the children so they would not leave empty-handed after they came to hug and kiss her. I loved being part of her life and her being part of mine.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to remember a great person in my life. God bless you all.

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