|Sweet Pea's Graduation|
This week marks a milestone in this process with my parents. Because, after a year of living in an independent retirement community, mom started middle-of-the-night-wandering to the point of actually MAKING IT OUTSIDE the facility, and my dad can't remember to set the door alarm, so it is obviously time to move mom into the Alzheimer unit, called The Courtyard.
After 61 years of being together, you can imagine the intense grief my dad feels. Although she is out-of-touch, he is lost without her. He is lonely. And despondent. (In my darkest moments, I pray the baldman will feel this way about me one day.)
To him, it is a love affair, a partnership, and now a marriage altered. And this was a partnership he counted on, even when it was flawed. What does he do without her?
I am filled with sorrow as I watch his heart breaking.
I am the 'bad cop,' the person who tells him to 'buck up, it's going to be okay, this is just the way it is.' But I feel like an imposter. Because nothing I can say can make up for the broken dream of a twilight time enjoying their memories together.
On a positive note, she is in a much better place now. Instead of her sleeping all day and being depressed, she is involved in activities. I love seeing her (and her adorable page-boy haircut) happily involved in singing "If You're Happy and You Know It," making a craft project, or eating with her catatonic 'friend.' (Yesterday she gave the baldman the peace sign as he walked by.)
I've come to terms that my beloved mother is now in a child state. But so often I remember our closeness as she raised me, and the fact that I could share anything with her. She was an incredible mother--she could empathize with me and still provide constructive criticism. I still remember her mantra: "make decisions with your mind, not your emotions." She was witty and hard-working and understanding. She told great stories and created incredible scavenger hunts with silver dollars as the prize. She was a nurturer and a good woman.
|Mom with little Sweet Pea|
Mom had a genius-level IQ, and made historical strides in the field of nursing. She was understanding and kind, but yet a fearsome feminist--who did her very best in launching the first Church of Christ university Nursing Program at Harding University--in the midst of the still-very-chauvinistic-and-discriminative-South. She loved Harding and gave her all to create a nursing program at the very excellent best of the field; so that her graduates would be at the top of their profession. And she achieved this goal. Her efforts launched one of the best nursing schools in the country--which continues today.
|With Dr. Carr at Harding|
With all of this noted, I watch her. . . clutching a blanket and looking hopefully confused. . . and I cry hopeless tears.
Why? What caused this? Why can't we fix it? I miss her!! I miss my mom.
Lord, please help me. And please, please comfort my father.