Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life and change

I've always tried to keep this blog upbeat and art related, only occasionally dropping in a bit of personal stuff, like grandbaby births, so please forgive this diversion. Feel free to stop reading here.
Just over three weeks ago I was teaching at a pARTy when my cell phone rang ( I normally turn it off), the only reason I answered was because the call display said Mom and Dad, and they had never called my cell before.
Long story short, Mom had been taken to the hospital with pneumonia, but was home again. Most of week followed with her going back repeatedly...and them sending her home, until finally I had her call tela health. God bless the nurse on the other end of the line, she called an ambulance and pre-called the hospital. Finally someone was taking her seriously.
Not quite a week ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer...she who never smoked a day in her life, and never failed to tell off my husband when he did, and my son when he started.
She worked in restaurants and catering much of her adult life and hated the smoke. Ironically the anti-smoking bylaws were passed just after she retired.
Today is March the 15th, we're hoping she call hang on long enough for my brother to get here tomorrow. Watching her is like watching a baby develop awareness of the world, in reverse. Everyday there is marked deterioration. Last night she couldn't hold a glass, or the phone to her ear even though a pillow was supporting their weight.
I'm worried about my Dad. In two weeks he's lost almost as much weight as she has, and he seems lost. I've always thought of him as a tough old bird, so seeing him holding her hand and crying for hours on end is frightening.
I don't know what we're going to do without her.
Edit March 16th: Mom waited for my brother to arrive. He took her hand, she smiled beautifully, sighed and flew away.
Edit July 23rd: It's been a tumultuous 4 months, kids in crisis-lost jobs etc, Dad in crisis-he failed his 80 year old's driving test, and tonight I sit here in tears, because I realized that with all the s--- that has been happening, some how I'm losing the memory of my Mom's voice, I can hear certain words and phrases, but not sentences. Mom you're slipping away, and I feel bereaved all over again.
Edit Spt 16th, 6 months since you've been gone Mom, my wedding anniversary today too, I've spent a lot of it in tears. I don't have as many melt downs as I did a few months ago, the hole is still there but I'm learning to live with it. I miss you like crazy Mom, I still can't go to the cemetery, I just can't. But since both of us believed that the 'person' has moved on, and the husk is just that, a husk, I don't think that you'd think badly of my weakness.
Edit Jan 2nd, 2012. Happy New Years Mom, we got through our first Christmas without you, I made your famous coleslaw, can't have Christmas without it, but it wasn't as good as yours. It's almost your birthday, and some how that hurts worse than Christmas, I miss our girls days out, and your birthday was always the best one. I wish you could see Maddy, she was just a baby when you left. She has your smile, and some of her mannerisms are so like you. Both of your precious great grandbabies are growing so fast. So much has changed. You were right about 'that woman' at AGL but we've moved on and better things are happening. Sometimes I wonder if you've had a hand it how things have worked out, the good stuff I mean, some of it seems almost miraculous, like I have an angel watching over me. I love you Mom, just as much as I ever did, I miss you, the hole in my heart where you should be still hurts, and I don't think it will ever go away. I don't think I want it to.
Edit Feb 13, 2013. Going through pictures, looking for an idea for my next painting, and came across some pictures of you. The pain was swift and deep, taking me off guard. That doesn't happen as much any more, hard to believe it's almost been two years, the wound has healed, but aches, daily.  

Edit Oct 16, 2021
The astute observer will notice the date, today is Dad's 7 month death a versary. he passed 10 years, almost to the minute after Mom.
It's been tough, but also a relief, he had slipped deeply into dementia and so badly wanted to go home, sometimes he meant the house where they live for so many years, but most often he meant home with God.
Those ten years were a great healing for us, as we got to know each other as adults who happened to be father and daughter, it was good.
 At first he was pretty independent, I called several times a week, and we'd go out for lunch every Thursday. Then he lost his drivers license, although he fibbed and kept driving until he was caught. 
The cracks were starting to show in his cognitive function, but we drew closer together as dementia took more of him, and the parent became the child. Finally he went into LTC at MH where I was working doing art programming. 
He made friends, and the staff were so good to him, they saw a sweet gentle soul, but had no baseline to see how far he had fallen, perhaps that's just as well.
The dementia got so much worse when he broke his hip, he never really recovered from the surgery. Watching such a proud intelligent man become so child like, and helpless was heart breaking.
 I spent as much time with him as I could, home cooking on Tuesdays, Fish and Chips every Friday night, and phone calls most days between. 
Then Covid 19 hit. 
Friday March 13th 2020 I took him Fish and Chips, he loved those fish and chips, and that was the last time he saw my face. 
That hurts.
The first 6 months when LTC's were in lock down were horrible, I could see him declining during my Zoom calls, when they finally let us see residents in person he looked so worried and confused, it was heart breaking.
At first we could only visit outside, at opposite ends of an eight foot table, with the traffic sounds conversation was impossible. 
Eventually  caregivers could go inside, bi weekly covid tests were a standard part of my life. I tried to explain Covid by saying there was a terrible Flu going around, and at one point he said Flu Flu, all anyone talks about is the flu! Fair comment, I'd call my sibs so he could talk to them, and we'd always end up talking about Covid. 
We resumed Fish and Chips, but homemade was verboten, so Tuesdays became Timbit Tuesdays.  I still can't face either fish and chips or Tim's.
In the New Year he lost interest in food, and I knew something was up.  he still knew me but was largely unresponsive.
March 7th came the dreaded 8 am phone call, Dad was going to hospital, where they confirmed that he was in heart  failure.
I wasn't able to see him till the 9th, when it was determined that he was palliative. 
I moved into the hospital to be with him.  
The first night I was there he spent the whole night arguing and pleading with whom ever was guarding the gate to let him in.
After that the staff gave him a light sedation, which gradually got heavier, as his body shut down, and his pain and agitation grew. 
 I will forever cherish those 9 days in the hospital. My sibs came, Tim twice from Ottawa, Min 3 times from Cambridge, giving me a chance to go home to shower and get fresh cloths, and giving them some private time with dad. 
At the end I was holding his hand, and talking softly as he crossed the bridge, and went through that gate he so desperately wanted open.
I like to think he knew I was there.

I'm Ok. I drive and cry less often than I did, driving I have time to think, and for 10 years almost every time I got behind the wheel I was either on my way to see him, or I'd call on my cell to chat, so driving was Dad time. 
I miss him terribly, but then again I still miss Mom terribly too so I don't think that's going to change. 
The 16ths are hard, and it's the stupid little things that hit the hardest. The border is finally opening which means we can go South this winter, I'm over joyed about that, but then I realized I wouldn't be calling dad from that spot on the beach where cell service is best, and a bit of my heart broke off again.  
I do believe that one day when I too cross that bridge and go through the gate, that the motes of pure energy that were my Mom, and my Dad will meet me. I still talk to them all the time and I'd like to think they hear me. 
I'm sure that the image we were all brought up with of heaven is a gross over simplification, but I firmly believe that there is euphoria there. and love, all the love of the universe to greet us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Add your comments.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *