Monday, January 22, 2018

The Long Good-bye

Well, it has certainly been some time since I was here. For those of you who still check in from time to time, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's December 2016, although I've been dealing with her forgetfulness for the last several years. First it was just writing lists so she wouldn't forget what she needed at the grocery store. Then it was taking care of the laundry. Then it became preparing meals (after she almost burned the house down.) Then it was driving her to and fro after she had a car accident. Then it became coming to my house every afternoon so she would have someone to talk to after her incoherent ramblings drove my father to not speaking to her at all.

Both of my parents vehemently denied that she could possibly get this awful disease (even though her father and sister both had it) so for the last 6 years I have shoveled crap against the tide trying, begging, pleading for some help and it was only on New Year's Eve this year that my father finally saw reason and allowed me to hire in-home help. Unfortunately, setting this up is taking time, and when my mother ended up with pneumonia over Christmas, it added a whole other layer to her already forgetful mind. She used to be able to concentrate on important things, but's any one's guess where her thoughts go.

All of this has left me grappling through the Stages of Grief as I try to take care of her. My own life has taken a back seat--my daughter, my writing, my friends, housework--even showering on some days because my mother (God forgive me) is worse than a set of two-year-old triplets on steroids. I have been in therapy for the last several months just to have someone to talk to about my situation because I'm sick of bitching to my friends about the unfairness of it all.

My life wasn't supposed to be this way. I'm not supposed to be helping my mother take a shower. I'm not supposed to be cutting her food into little pieces because she doesn't know how to put her dentures in anymore. I'm not supposed to be cleaning pee off the bathroom floor because she can't remember to sit down on the toilet or worse yet can't remember what toilet paper is for (and refuses to wear Depends).

And I'm not telling you any of this to gain sympathy--I'm telling you this because if you know anyone who is caring for an aging parent or relative with dementia, to please help them. Cook a meal, offer to get groceries, offer to pick up dry cleaning. If they'll let you in their house, vacuum, fold laundry, do the dishes. Hell, just buy them their favorite coffee and a piece of pastry and sit with them for an hour and hand them a Kleenex when they start crying. You cannot know, unless you are living through this, what even the smallest kindness means to them.

Because in the back of their minds, as well as my own, is if we don't find a cure, or even a reasonable delaying of the disease, we too, will succumb to it. It's terrifying to me that Monster will only be thirty if my own mind starts to decay when my mother's did. And I don't want her to have to wipe my ass because I peed all over myself.

And so, it is with great sadness that I must say good-bye to all of you. I had a great run. I met some great people, found some great friends. I learned a lot about writing and publishing from all of you. But I just can't keep up with the blog anymore. I don't know what the future holds, but I do know that I didn't want to just disappear from the blogosphere. For those of you who may follow me on my other blogs, those too, will be closing down. (I only have enough energy to write this blog today while the nurse is with my mother.)

I wish all of you success in your careers. I will miss you more than you could ever know.

Take care of yourselves.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Anne. This is heartbreaking for you all. I wish great strength for you to make it through this trial. Take care of yourself.

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

Don't say good bye

How 'bout...until life cooperates...

Yvonne Osborne said...

Dear Anne,
having recently cared for my own aging parents, I know some of what you are going through and I'm sorry. I've grappled with my own guilt with blogging, not wanting it to just hang out there neglected and drifting but it does fall to the back burner, almost on the floor. We have to also remember to take care of ourselves so with that....don't say goodbye.

Unknown said...

I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. Caring for your mother is a beautiful thing for you to choose to do (Because you always have a choice. Sometimes remembering that makes laborious tasks we do for others feel a little better.)

I am sorry that it is taking you away from so many other things you want to be doing with your time. Don't say goodbye though. The future is unwritten. A time may come when you ARE able to return to your writing and your blog.

In the mean time, please remember to take care of yourself (you can't pour water from an empty vessel and no one should expect you to do everything).

Until we meet again.

Stacy McKitrick said...

So sorry you're going through all this. I wish you the best. ((hugs))

Maria Zannini said...

You've suffered far too long. Use that nurse to give yourself some time to yourself.

Caregivers are the most unappreciated of all, especially when they're family members.

Take care of yourself, Anne. Rest. Life's not over till it's over, and you never know what's around the corner.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Aw, honey. I'm soooo sorry to hear this. Please forgive me for sending you that email yesterday without knowing what was going in your life. How self-centered of me. Thank God you've got some help now, but I know it's still all a discombobulating situation. Several of my friends went through the same thing with their mothers. Hang in there. And I sincerely hope you have some friends nearby you can lean on every once in a while. If you ever just want to vent, you know how to reach me.

Liza said...

I am so sorry to just be reading this now. I knew it was coming...but you and I often have often gone long times without conversing. I was thinking of you and I checked blogs tonight and found this. Please know you are in my heart. I do know, to some degree how awful it is, although for us, cancer got my father-in-law before the Alzheimer’s did. Your mom and dad are lucky to have you. I wish I could find better words...but all I can say is that I am offering up prayers for you...