Monday, February 15, 2016

Life's Difficulties, Part Three (Kleenex Alert)

It's done.  The evil work is done.

We've seen it coming for six or seven years.  We've talked about it, ignored it, attempted to broach the subject with dad many times, and now it's done.

Last night we went to bed feeling as if most of our work with mom is finished.  We have done a good work, although at many points we have felt traitorous, evil, selfish, you name it.  Everyone's feelings have run the full gamut of possibilities.

My mom is now in an Alzheimer's unit. And dad lives across the street.  Seventy-two years of marriage, and now they are separated by a street.  Dad has always taken care of her and has run through the same emotions the rest of us have.  Mom, in recent years, has always THOUGHT she was taking care of dad, and thinks she should be with him to take care of him.

The second day in her unit, and do you know what she told us when we came to visit?  "Every one of these doors is locked, and I can't get to Martin."  As tottery as she is, I have no idea how she tested that statement.  You know, sometimes you have to laugh so you don't cry.  We've cried way too much these past days, so we choose to laugh at that one.

Dad admitted this weekend too that we did the right thing.  It was huge for everyone to hear that, and huge for him to say it.  Taking care of her has taken a toll on him, and we've all found out recently how hard it has been.  Always the Man, he just omitted telling us of her escapades which has made it hard for him for a long time.

All these years we have been saying goodbye to mom.  Although last week we were unprepared for her to die, and finally resigned to it, we've known that it's been a long goodbye.  This past year with her there's been no conversation.  It flows around her and she nods and smiles.  It's just too much brain work to put together a conversation and contribute. If asked what she did 15 minutes before, she couldn't tell us.  She has introduced me to staff hundreds of times, and we all just smile and wink. When asked what she had for breakfast, we may get a shrug of the shoulders and a smile. Her facial recognition is going.

It's been a long goodbye.  That cute little feisty lady in the home is, well, my mom.  But then again, my mom really isn't there anymore.  That shell of a body has no memory, but is holding something very special.  It's the temporary guardian of her soul.  One of these days, her body will finally release that soul, and in a way will be closer to me at that time.  Because I know that I will see her in heaven.  Whole.  Happy.  Knowing everyone.  Knowing.

My mom is safe.  My dad is healing.  Everyone's hearts hurt.  We are still feeling alternately all the possible range of roiling emotions.  But today is a new day, and God is with us.  He will protect her, as he protects us all.

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