Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for a difficult year

Traditionally people reflect on all to good things in their lives this time of year. As I reflect on this year all I can see are the struggles, disappointments and losses.

And still I am thankful. I have learned a lot about who I am. And I have learned to change my view of life.
  • I managed to keep mom in my home for the most difficult year of both our lives.
  • I lost a very close family relationship ... one that I thought would be with me until the day I died ... and discovered I could manage without her.
  • I grew to realize I could not be "all" for my mom, that I had to let go, and give up her care to others more able to manage the challenge of her declining abilities.
  • I said a quiet goodbye to a dear uncle and celebrated the wonderful life he lead and the family he left behind.
  • I found unanticipated support and strength in friends who walked this path before me.
  • I rediscovered the fact that I have the best kids in the entire world. I know this for a fact. Don't bother to argue with me.
It hasn't been the best year of my life and it may not be the worst - but it will probably count in the top 3 of worst years for sure.

You never really know how strong you are until you are tested. This year was nothing but a litany of tests. I passed a few, I bent under a few, and I probably failed a few. But I am glad to discover that I am still the same person, maybe stronger than I thought - someone who is surrounded by a loving family, who is living by her own judgements, and who despite the worst this life has dealt out to me thus far ... is still standing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A hard post to write

What to say ...

Today is 3 weeks since her admission into rehab. In many ways she is less than she was, and yet she continues to improve in small ways. Maybe I see the improvements because I look for each little step forward. Maybe I want her to improve more than she wants to improve.

Physical therapy says that they will be discharging her by the end of November. But the discharge will include the recommendation that she has 24 hour assistance/monitoring. This translates to admission into Assisted Living or to an aide in our home for a minimum of 12 hours each day.

An aide in the home is not an option for us. Our townhouse is small. My husband is uncomfortable with the idea and I am not wild about it either. But my main concern is for my husband. After 5 years of living with his mother-in-law in sometimes difficult circumstances, I cannot ignore the line in the line in the sand that he has indicated. He also has expressed concern for the physical and emotional toll all this has taken on me to this point.

But what about mom ... After 3 weeks in rehab I can see that she is ceasing to try, to achieve, to remain connected to her surrounds. She sleeps a lot. She appears angry at times.

But most importantly she doesn't understand that she can no longer do for herself. She can no longer make the smallest common sense decisions for herself.

When she is awake she appears unhappy and no longer takes joy in the presence of family. Some of this is fatigue. Some of this is discouragement that she is not home. Maybe we are dealing with some depression as well. But without her corporation and desire to do the work to get stronger, there is no way to physically bring her back home.

I greatly fear that she can no longer live at home safely.

How will I ever be able to give her that news!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sadness, Joy and Struggle

My, how quickly the time passes.

I returned from a quick trip to Florida to attend a viewing of my uncle who died this month.

The trip was filled with sadness and joy.

The loss of this favorite uncle was hard to accept. Yes, he lived a long and wonderful life. But letting go of loved relationship that helped make you the person you are is very difficult and filled with sadness. There was joy in putting my arms around my dear aunt, giving her a hug from my mom and one from me. Her last care giving years for my uncle took a large toll on her. Her work was done. Now she needs to build a life of her own. I would imagine that task looks like an insurmountable mountain after 57 years of marriage. There was also joy in catching up with my cousins on this side of the family. They also filled many of the memories of my early growing years. Visiting with them and their families was wonderful.

I called mom everyday I was gone. I tried to keep connected during the days when she would have no visitors.

But when I saw her on Sunday she appeared somewhat down and a bit restless. Maybe the understanding of her brother-in-laws death had finally been absorbed. Maybe she is struggling with the facts of her limitations. But her desire to just "go home" seems to be growing. It is hard to make her understand that she can't just be released ... that she has to be able to do some simple things - like getting out of chair unassisted and walking with a walker unassisted.

It is like saying I want to be able to run 5 miles this afternoon ... without doing the necessary months of work necessary to achieve that goal. I wonder if she would understand that analogy.
She completed 2 weeks of rehab and her doctor said probably 4 to 6 weeks were necessary. It is going to be a very long 4 to 6 weeks, I fear.

So I am back home and back to daily visits with mom. Blogging time continues to be hard to snatch.

I'll be back but it is hard to know when.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Briefly ...

Rehab for mom is going as well as can be expected. I am happy with the place and mom is happy with the place but she would be happier home. She is still in a wheel chair, but I can tell she is getting stronger.

My days this week seem to be mostly on the road. Now in addition to my other normal trips, I include a 2-3 hour visit with mom. The trip out to her rehab is lovely, but it take 20-25 minutes each way. Last week I visited mom every day, making sure her adjustment was going smoothly. This week I planned to visit it most days - but skip one or two.

That was what I planned. But come the end of the week I will miss seeing her for 3 days in a row.

I got a call this morning that my Uncle (my most favorite Uncle) had died in Florida. Today has been very hard. I couldn't seem to restrain my tears. So many fond memories from my youth of visits to my Aunt and Uncle's house flooded my brain today. And with each memory, tears of sorrow at his passing.

This Uncle was married to my mom's sister. They would have celebrated 57 years of marriage tomorrow! So much sadness.

The viewing is in Florida at the end of the week. Since mom is safely housed in rehab, my sister and I will travel to Florida for the viewing.

So the week has been hard on a few levels. I am bone tired and emotionally drained.

I hope this thunder cloud that persists in following me this year passes on soon.

I just need a break.


Blogging will be sparse for awhile. Time has suddenly become pretty tight this week.