Call it a vacation, a sabbatical, a semi-retirement. But I’ve got to stop for awhile. I’ll iPhone some small things in for awhile so you know I’m still breathing somewhere!
Slowly, the meetings have begun to be scheduled again- some of the same meetings I intentionally withdrew from last Fall. These are meetings that are necessary, despite my laissez-faire attitude about getting things done over a phone call or two and a lunch. Not everyone works that way, and it is flat-out wrong of me to try to squeeze everyone else into little molds of me! So, there has been a few additions to the numbers of meetings I attend. I don’t like that, but so be it.
The main thing I do it seems- each day now- is look for mom’s hearing aid (metaphorically speaking). I do that because I think the easier I can make it on the staff where she lives, the longer she will be able to stay there. I am trying, in a ridiculous way I know, to fill in a little of what she has lost through Alzheimer’s and..
It ain’t working..
The alternative to where she is now is more expensive, more distant, and it won’t afford the window views onto fields and trees which mom now is able to enjoy. If she has to move, I will probably have to move, too. And I don’t want to do that, not right now anyway.
Nor can I pretend that her illness has not fed into my own long crisis (series of crises) of faith. What to make of the “loving Lord” my mom still talks about , who (in her God schematic of the way God works) is allowing her memories and consciousness to be sucked away day by day? That, of course, leads to a whole series of mental challenges about human suffering for which the Bible has no non-conflicting answers. Theodicy has baffled greater theologians than me; all I can do is reduce it to kindergarten answers, and try to be calm and assuring when mom is crying and asking, “What is wrong with my brain?” (That’s something new, by the way- her awareness that something IS wrong.) Whatever I say back to her, the answer which underlies my words is this: “Don’t worry; in a year or so you won’t know who you are, who God was to you, or that you even have a brain.”
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it? But ask the caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients if it is not also true- that their loved ones became human husks before they finally and mercifully died.
If I sound FUBAR lately, and I know I do..well, now you know. FUBAR and his sidekick, Irrelevant. I know those are both self-perceptions born of ego, too much thinking, and a summer surge of depression, but they overwhelm me right here and right now. I’ve lost the ‘me’ within the ‘I’.
3 thoughts on “Right here, Right now..”
Barry, probably everything I write will seem trite, but I don’t mean it to be so. You’re grieving the loss of your mother. Her conscious self is dying with her brain, and the world she’s going to live in is closed to you. It’s that simple and that sad and harsh. Humanness isn’t only in one place, nor is spirit. That we can’t communicate it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It only means there’s no observer.
How many times have I wanted God to just fix it, fix it, dammit! FIX IT NOW! Doctrinally speaking, He did all to fix everything, and everything is fixed; but we’re still here. Suffering. It’s not heaven; this is the suffering part. It’s not easy, and it’s not fun or good, because it’s suffering.
There’s a psalm that got me through my daughter’s prolonged illness and death, I think in the 40s (maybe psalm 46?), and it says “…all Thy billows and waves have washed over me.” I remember fearing succumbing and being overcome, and I also remember raging because they were HIS waves and billows; and then I remember finally being comforted because He was right there with me. That’s my experience; I don’t foist it on you or demand the same mindset of you, I’m just offering it because it’s all I have except to say that I’m sorry you’re suffering; I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother as you know her; I wish you love and courage as you go through this; and I’ll pray for you as often as I think of Alzheimers, and when we pray every week at church for “all those who are suffering.”
If I were sitting with you right now, listening to you say these things, you would see the concern on my face, my sadness, and feel me pat you on the knee, maybe hug you and say “I’m sorry, I love you; I’m with you; take heart.” Foolish as I feel saying it, there it is. The part of you that I read here and that you show, I love and I’m sorry for his suffering.
Eve, I’ve written an email thanking you for insight, but I want others to know publicly here, how precisely poignant your thoughts are and, thus, so helpful. That they came from one who has been through that most difficult of human crucibles- the death of a child- makes them deeply powerful.
Thank you again..
I often questioned why God would allow his faithful to suffer with diseases such as Alzheimers. What a cruel, cruel disease.
I found some of the most difficult times where when my mom was still kinda with it and would have moments where she knew something was wrong. She would be more confused than “normal” and would become so aggressive and upset. It killed me to watch. It was the hardest and saddest times of the disease.
When she moved onto the next stage, it was much easier. She was still physically healthy but it rarely occured to her that something was “wrong”. She seemed happy in the little world she was in and would still remember me sometimes and we’d have great visits. When I’d visit her, she would say in hushed tone “I can’t take very long for a break…they’re watching me”. She thought she was a nurse working at this place!
When we had to move mom into the next stage of nursing homes, I cried. Actually, I cried everytime we’d progress….from her house to the hospital to the temporary assisted living place to the first nursing home to the last nursing home. It was like every step was a step closer to letting go/the end. But the last home was the worst move… it was truly the last step in the long journey and it just about killed me.
Take care of yourself…. write when you feel like it.