Monday, July 28, 2008

Moving forward....

The first time I told my mum Sampson had died suddenly, she was upset as she could be but she really worked hard to comfort me. She patted my back and told me to turn the tears into joy. And to say a prayer for Sampson and she told us that he was a really good dog. She was genuinely moved by his death. I was amazed at her sensitivity. She was actually comforting me! Since her dementia, it's always me that is doing the actual caretaking and comforting. It's about her needs 24/7. Ah, the insight to motherhood!

I had to tell her a friend of hers was dead and she said, "Oh, no!" Thoughtful silence. " So where are we going?" and that was about it. She doesn't really cry at that kind of news. I don't know if it's the dementia or the drugs she's on. (I wonder if she'd share some of that stuff. "Hey, you didn't get that part you really wanted - again." "Oh, no! So what's for dinner?") We saw her again on the weekend and she seemed to forget that he had died but then remembered on her own. It was one of the few times that her and I can actually sensibly converse with one another and I'm actually getting something out of it.

Hung out with Mum last week. Had to explain to her AGAIN that the dog had died. The worst part is that she is genuinely surprised and I have to go through the whole thing again with her. Sigh. It would be funny actually if I hadn't been so depressed. We walked around and then hung out on the Starbuck's patio. We made our usual stabs at conversation and then I read the paper while she people watched. When I dropped her off back at the home, I just let her out the elevator and took it immediately back down. I don't usually do that, but I was on edge and I had to get away. I hate it when I get like that.

Hubby came home early that day and immediately set out to go biking in the Endowment Lands. It's about 10 km away and once you get over the bridge, it's all uphill. And I do mean uphill. Not one of his best ideas, but you can't tell a guy that. He survived and evidently made a stop at his buddies before returning home. I had biked a few km myself over to a district chant and by the time I got home, he was on the couch and a bit stoned. To his credit, he did BBQ some excellent steak (ala the Incredible Hulk - You wouldn't like me when I'm hungry). It always makes me feel so alone when he does that. Yeah, I know, his dog died. Can't say I blame him. I drank every day last week. Fortunately, the stagette broke my habit.

I had a stab of panic that the same thing would happen to us - that he would retreat into his world and I would retreat into mine to deal with the grief. And separately we worry about one another. Yeah, I know, communication is the key. In my efforts to keep moving forward and keep frantically busy, I need to keep in mind that just because we don't have our dog, we don't have a child, we're still a family and we need one another. Compassion is the driving force behind perseverance. Okay, gotta keep that in mind.


loribeth said...

(((hugs))) I remember my grandmother was like that after my grandfather died. She'd keep asking where he was, & then she'd ask how long they had been married. My mother found a letter in her purse she'd been writing to my grandfather. Apparently she had it in her head that he was off with another woman (!!why else wasn't he coming home??)(my poor grandfather...!!). It was one of those do you laugh or do you cry moments. Hang in there!

luna said...

it must be so difficult caring for your mother and witnessing her decline. a constant exercise in living in the moment.

I'm sorry you and hub deal with things so differently. it's hard to even communicate that way sometimes. while a bottle of wine was a good release for us, for a long time that was the best way to get into deep conversations about our situation, though they often took a dark turn and we realized it was not a good pattern. we needed to deal sober. then after our pup died, neither one of us could drink because we were a big ball of mess... I'm rambling here, just wanted to wish you well.

annacyclopedia said...

Oh sweetie, that's so hard with your mom. I really know what you're going through with this - both my grandma and my mother in law have dementia, and one of the biggest frustrations I have is just that they can never really be there for me when I need them. You can get the random surprise moments, but that's it. Luna is right - it is a constant excercise of living in the moment. Which is hard when you have to repeat certain difficult moments that you might rather avoid.

And it sounds hard with your hubby right now, too, but I have a lot of faith that your insight about compassion and perseverance (not to mention your overall brilliance and goodness) will carry you through this. Perhaps I risk being the articulator of the obvious, but it's not going to last forever, your grief and your dealing with it separately.

Thinking of you often and wishing you peace.

dmarie said...

I'm glad you had some nice moments with your mom. You're a wonderful daughter.

I think you said it so well--compassion is the key. I hope you and your hubby to continue to be open and available for each other.