Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finding the Positives

I feel like I need a three-hour long shower to wash this funk off me.  I'm getting out for a while.  It's just to Sam's Club, but it's going to feel goooood. 

It's like the Twilight Zone over here.  Dad's sleeping a lot of the time, but it's restless sleeping.  He makes strange movements with his hands and feet while he's sleeping, as if he thinks he's awake and active.  It's unnerving to watch.  He can't seem to get fully relaxed, and that's all we want for him.  He's off all his meds now except for pain control, and we're just doing liquid under-the-tongue stuff for him now.  Swallowing is very risky for him.  I had couch duty and I spent most of the night watching him moving around in very slow motion, and when he wasn't moving I was watching his chest for movement.  We've had him up a couple times, but that is a process.  I can't even tell you all how difficult it is to see him trying to get around.  It's breaking my heart. 

We are all going to come to the end of our lives.  It's never fair that some of us have to go through such a horrible time at the end.  I hate it so much.  Watching him go through this is gut wrenching.  But there really is a positive to every negative, and I'm really looking hard to find it these days. 

One positive is my mom.  She's really risen to this challenge and impressed me with her strength and character during this craziness.  She's been able to maintain a sense of humor, even though her heart breaks for him all day long.  I see sweet moments when she sits at his bedside and he just puts his hand on her arm, and she just smiles at him.  I know he knows she's there, and I know how worried he has been about her.  If there's one thing I'd like to get across to him, it's that she will be fine.  She is looking forward to starting her life again.  She will miss him terribly, but she's already talking about the time she'll be able to spend with the grandkids, the freedom she will feel to start over again.  I'm so amazed by her and proud of her.  She has a lifetime of memories with my dad, and she's allowing that to be a comfort to her rather than an anchor holding her to her past, and she is looking forward to making new memories in the next chapter of her life.  It's very inspiring, actually.  I think when you battle an illness for this long with a loved one, you are given such an opportunity to process it, to say all the things you need to say to one another, to tie up anything that needs tying up, and to prepare each other, that it is almost a gift.  She has certainly had plenty of time to deal with this, and the reality has not been easy.

Another positive is the time I've had to be thoughtful about my own life and my own family.  That saying "you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone"?  Well, I know what I've got.  I really do.  And I am able to be grateful for it, and to try each day to not take it for granted.

Wow.  I'm done being deep.  I'm sitting here in my pajamas, amazed at how accustomed I've become to looking like a slob.  Not that I'm a fashion plate in my normal life, but I've really let myself go.  I think I'll put on jeans today for my trip to Sam's.  And I might even put some mascara on.  SIL1 keeps stopping over here on her way home from work looking like the fabulous professional she is, all perfect and polished.  Then I REALLY become aware of how horrible I look.  I wish she'd do me the favor of mussing up her hair and changing into dirty sweatpants in the car before she comes in.  I mean, come on! 

Okay I'm all done for today.  I'm looking forward to my normal life again, when I can write about the regular crazy stuff, not always this sad crazy stuff.  But dad's not quite ready yet, so that's just the way it is.  Here's another happier days picture:

August 2008

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