Monday, March 21, 2011

Castles

Over and over we built our castles, dug moats, made walls, only to see each construction erased by a careless wave, turned back in an instant into unmarked sand. I even laid my body down as a barricade (as I would do for you) but still the waves came on.




I know at least one very dear and patient person is still checking this sorry and neglected excuse for a blog (xoxoxo @ ATWB!), so I'll try to update things a bit more often.  So...


I had a very difficult emergency visit to my mother.  She has had two bad falls in the past few months and got lost on a trip to Philadelphia (and by "lost" I mean she ended up in Baltimore).  I told her she had to move very soon to Pittsburgh and live with us.  She said "No no no."  I said "Yes yes yes." I eventually won out because 
1. I was right
2. I'm bossy that way
But it's devastating for her.  Her grandfather had dementia and (according to her) turned into an old lecherous caricature of himself, still going to his offices and groping all the women in the elevators.  Her father, when he was diagnosed with possible senility, committed suicide rather than become like his father.  


Of course she won't be groping women in elevators (at least I hope not!), but she has lived for a long time with the heavy weight of fear - as her father did - of losing herself entirely to this disease, or of losing what she considers to be the most important parts of herself.  And in ways I see already that she is.


Wish us luck in finding a path together and through this that is more dignified and full of love than the paths her grandfather and father found.







15 comments:

David said...

Therefore I recommend all the more the book I mentioned, which I've managed to track down: Contented Dementia by Oliver James. Rather counter-intuitive, but it's been a great help to friends.

Willym said...

As she once was your comfort now you are becoming hers - perhaps the hardest thing a child has to face. Again I have done my little ritual with the candles. Only wish there was more I could do or say.

Elizabeth said...

David - Thank you so much for digging up the title for me! I'll order it immediately.

Willym - You are, as ever, a dear and to know that there are candles flickering for me and mine somewhere in Rome means so much to me. xoxo

Claire M. Johnson said...

Hey Elizabeth: We are facing similar, if not, issues. My mother was in the hospital for five days with the serious respiratory shit (I won't bore you with the details but it was grim). It did frighten her enormously, and now when I say, "Mom call 911, NOW!" she might actually listen to me. Are you moving? And are you going to try to stay in the same neighborhood? My sympathies and lots of hugs. No one wants to end their days afraid.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I have that fear..of losing me.
shady lane and I made a deal, I get it first she comes and od's me, and vise versa..
Goddess bless you both.

mrpeenee said...

Dementia runs, or wanders, though my family and relatives who've had it prove what I've heard: they simply become more of what they were all along underneath. The learned behaviours fall off. One grandmother and one great aunt were sweet and childish, a great grandmother was poisonous. It was just their personalities emerging.

mumbliss said...

Oh Elizabeth,
If I can do anything at all, please tell me.
She is a person of great character and gorgeousness.. She is so stubborn, independent, distinct, delightful, and so very loving. From the beginning, I have adored her. My faraway hands are hanging.
My heart is breaking with love for you both and for your whole family. Mortality stinks. I try and then avoid being more mature, but I haven't turned the corner yet. My parents are my daily blessings, and unbelievably long lived. I remain in awe and anxious.
You are on a motorcycle, screeching and in and out of traffic passing the corner again. I am running behind you with a helmet but I cannot catch up. If I can give you orange slices at the designated spot, or spray your wonderful curls and face with spritzy water, tell me. I will be there. I will try my hardest. I love you and all your beautiful people, but it doesn't seem like it is enough. how can it be?

Doralong said...

While oh so painful, she is beyond blessed to have such an amazing Daughter and such a supporting family. One can only do the best one can, but knowing you have gives her a much longer and happier life and gives you peace. You'll just have to trust me on this one.

L said...

That's so funny...I was thinking about sandcastles too and wrote a blog entry and then read this! Ah...we're so in sync!
xox

L said...

And in my sandcastle research i found a quote from gibran that is a less elegant description of life and loss than yours...

will find it and send an email

Eartha Kitsch said...

Lots of love going out to you and your Mom. I think about this stuff a lot with my own parents..it's never easy and quite often bitterly unfair. I'm glad that you could convince her to stay with you.

mumbliss said...

Elizabeth? How are you doing?
I am digging out news of you by reading the blogs of your blog friends, to avoid making you talk on the phone. It feels creepy, but their blogs are wonderful. Sending love, ATWB

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth
Your mother is lucky to have a caring daughter like you. I know there are even more demands on your reserves of strength at this time, and I hope your great spirit is bolstered by the many people that care about you too.
Gabi (Flamenconut)

scotsyank said...

Please make sure that you keep your friends close to you at this time. I'm sure you're feeling that you don't want to burden them with constant discussion about your Mum, but you will have friends who can be supportive. Make time for them, and forgive the ones who are unable to connect.
It will be over one day, and you'll feel relief, and guilt about the relief you feel. There is and will be help, thanks to the internet. If it helps, I'm going to be thinking of you, and sending you love.

more cowbell said...

Facebook just isn't the same. Your last blog post was on my birthday. I know this situation is hard on everyone involved, and it doesn't get easier.

I came back from my long blog hiatus to find that most of my cyber friends have also been absent ... it makes me sad. As if I thought I could just slack off while everyone else kept at their keyboards, awaiting my return. Sigh. I have missed everyone's stories. The FB updates are nice to keep up, to laugh, to reach out, but I miss the stories.