Yes, it has been months since I posted anything here. Not because I haven’t wanted to do so, but because I haven’t had the emotional energy to do so. Those of you on this journey know you hit spots where all you can do is put one foot in front of the other, move forward one step at a time, looking toward a day when you’ll awaken rested and refreshed.
This has been a trying year. My mother was hospitalized twice, albeit briefly. I wasn’t needed at her side as her illnesses were fleeting, and in fact, the second time doctors couldn’t even figure out what caused her to experience a couple of days of lethargy. Had I been there, I would have said, “Don’t you think it’s just the disease?” But I wasn’t there, so I won’t second-guess the ones who were. I suspect that despite their expensive educations, many doctors still don’t realize the many ways Alzheimer’s affects the brains. So they have to run their tests, do their analyses, and look for a cause. I get it, I do. If I could find the switch that would turn off the dementia, I’d do it. But no matter how many MRIs doctors order, they’re not going to reveal an improvement of her brain.
My mother-in-law died at the end of March. It was as sudden as it can be for someone with dementia. One moment she was breathing, the next moment she wasn’t. And despite our awareness that she could leave us at any moment, we were still unprepared. (Is anyone ever prepared for a loved one to die?) I stood with my husband in her room, touched her arm, and in my humanness wondered, “Really? Did she have to go so quickly?”
My husband said something to me shortly after his mother’s death that has proven wise and has been a help to me. He said that as we age we just need to know that we will be getting the phone calls about our elderly parents. There will be the 180-degree pivots to make when something happens, and you can’t wring your hands or stress over the decision to be made every single time it happens. You just need to act, know that whatever decision you make is the best one you could make at that moment, and then let it go and move on. I know it’s hard to do, but it has helped me to accept, finally, that there is a new normal, that difficult times are going to happen, and that while my stomach may be tied in knots for a while, the knots will eventually loosen.
Between travel to be with my mother and helping my husband deal with his mother’s funeral, her exit from residential care, and the estate-related paperwork that has piled up in our home office, I’ve also been rather busy with work. So much so that when I received a check in the mail for a contribution to a blog I contribute to, I thought it was an accounting mistake. I’d forgotten about an essay I’d submitted. I didn’t realize it had been published more than a month ago. It was a piece about a memory of my mother when I was a child, and I’d struggled to find a home for the essay. When I submitted it I took my husband’s advice and told myself: If it’s meant to be published, it will be, and if it’s not, so be it. Then I let it go, and moved on.
I’m sharing the link to this piece because I know many of you have had a similar experience. As more and more memories slip from our loved ones’ minds, we can’t help but keep searching for that reflection of ourselves in their eyes, hearts and mind. Here then, is the link to The History in Her Skin: http://www.mamiverse.com/mother-daughter-relationship-43176/