Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Today, I have planned to see Mary and it is something I dread. When we visited on Sunday and picked up her clothes to wash, I told her that I was coming. Will she remember? I don't know, these days it is a real toss up. When George visited last night, she was glad we had moved back to town. Last week, it was funny that she thought George and I were getting a divorce. The kind of funny that you have to laugh or you will lose it.

Well, this week the dementia has turned even more personal and it's not funny anymore. She is sharing her paranoid thoughts. She asks if George is where he is supposed to be during the day, is he really at work? Is he behaving? Is he doing what he is supposed to do? Then later in the day, she thinks that George and I are hiding something from her.

In my new life skills I would employ boundaries with this person who is coming at me. But she is very, very sick and I am responsible for her so I have to learn to completely detach from what she is saying, like she is a child. She pushed my buttons and I was angry and sad all at once. Then I read this quote on Facebook.

"Whenever you are upset about an event, a person, or a situation, the real cause is not the event, person, or situation, but a loss of true perspective that only space can provide." ~Eckhart Tolle

I immediately knew what was going on, her thoughts were triggering issues that I have with other people. As soon as I realized this, the feelings disappeared.

But the dread goes on.

Her arms are so thin, and she looks so emaciated from the top down but her legs are swollen from her body turning on itself for nutrition. She can't work a television remote or dial a phone. I had to cut her food the last time she came to our house, which was a new low. Her mind is not working right and her confusion is causing her much anxiety. The denial of the understanding of the cancer in her body, that has served to prolong her life for the last year is lifting and she is beginning to give up on her mantra of wanting to go to the doctor to find out what is wrong. We have had to scale back the visits with her beloved granddaughters because it is necessary for both parties and this kills every loyalty bone in my body. It is sad, sad, sad.

But I have now written about it, released it for a few minutes, and the emotional and physical exhaustion of yesterday, the last week, the last month and the last year has lifted ever so slightly and I will hit the treadmill before I go see her, try to get some endorphins going and carry on. I did not know my pledge to myself that I would be as present for her as I could possibly be in this terminal illness would be so incredibly difficult. In the end, my gift of presence to her, will be the ultimate gift to myself. I can't take care of her without taking care of me first.

No comments:

Post a Comment