[I wrote this post on April 18 but could not find it on my computer. LOL, no wonder! I dated it April 18, 2010 instead of 2012.]
Grief. It seeps into every area of life, when I am not consciously thinking about it, it floods whatever thoughts I had or task I was doing. It is exhausting, as if something from our own bodies is missing or faces the threat of loss. It is scary, it is inconvenient, but it is life, and it is the truth which I love so dearly.
I have learned through Pema Chodron’s teachings what I do in that moment of discomfort can increase or decrease my own suffering. Do I have an aversion toward death, am I willingly going into this process. Probably yes and no.
My Step Mom called last night with Dad’s phone number at rehab, she suggested I wait until today to call him, he was probably resting from the move. I had completely forgotten today was a trip to ‘town’ which is 65+ miles away to take my cat to the vet and do some errands.
Today started out rough, I woke early, with a headache and that dog-tired feeling of having wrestled with grief and sorrow again. I have forgotten this was how I lived for so many years post-TBI with all the loss and sorrow that it brings. I was surviving, not living.
I had already used one ice pack for my head when Richard returned letting me know he’d started the coffee and asked if I needed another ice pack. I told him I needed to get up and get going, I went to the kitchen, had a ready-to-drink protein shake and coffee and had to get busy feeding the animals. I was so tired, groggy, slow I felt like I’d be going backwards if I went any slower.
I fed the animals, changed clothes, put my hair up in a ponytail so I can wear a baseball cap and I go to get my cat into the carrier. At this point, she’s not liking the long trips to the vet, she’d done well up until, well, let me think…I think it’s been since a blood draw went terribly she hasn’t wanted to go at all. She gets acupuncture and chiropractic and it has helped her, I just don’t know if I can continue to ask her to take such long trips and those blood draws, wow. I wasn’t prepared for a blood draw today, if they mentioned it last time, neither Richard nor I remembered.
I don’t know how long we can endure it. The difficulty getting a vein (like last time), they restrained her, put a hood over her little kitty head, asked for permission to shave her throat, and had a bit of a rough time getting blood again. I think it would have felt better had my heart been torn from my chest. I know I’m pretty sensitive today because of grief, but wow. Could we make this any less traumatic for her? Okay, and for us? We’ll see what the blood work shows before I make a decision.
With my forgetting to eat breakfast this morning and getting off to such a rough start I was easily irritated, oh yeah! We were in Target looking at items when a lady comes down the aisle, we move out of her way, she neither says, “Excuse me,” or “thank you,” like she owned the store. I quickly snapped sarcastically, “Oh no, excuuuuuse me!” I told Richard I really hate people today. I was definitely in rare form! How to win friends and influence people…not!
Later on, after taking a break at Starbucks, I called Dad. I seem to have hilariously funny WRONG timing whenever I call; he’s usually in the bathroom! No joke. The attendant that answered the phone was kind in asking if I could hold for a moment, I said certainly and he continued to tell me the weather is partly sunny and that Dad is enjoying the view and sunshine. I thought that was so sweet of him to share that, I’d never talked to him before; it was a comfort to feel Dad was being taken care of.
Dad didn’t talk long since the attendant was there, LOL, we don’t usually talk long anyway! I joke about our 30 second conversations, but it is what it is. 30 seconds is better than none. He sounded good, he was lucid and his voice sounded tired but strong.
I thought a lot about grief, being caught off guard today many times as the waves crashed through my thoughts and activities. I thought a lot about aging, and suffering. My Dad does not want to go to a senior home or anything of the sort although he does enjoy being around people. I think about what my Step Mom said about Dad being in excellent health.
I think about our society and delaying death. I wonder if we erred in keeping him alive despite his wishes he not be put on life support. That life support saved him, as did the prayers of many, and visits especially of our Step Mom. But, did we do the right thing? He has struggled a lot, he uses a walker and every time he got up from the couch he’d say, “This is the pits.”
I feel in my heart of hearts he must have lost oxygen because he wasn’t depressed before the surgery but became VERY depressed following, and, his Dementia is worse. He will say things like he’s feels he is losing his mind. I think about his quality of life, is he really living? He apologizes for being a burden. What happens to a person who has an inborn ‘can do’ attitude and can’t now?
There are a lot of things to think about at this juncture; what if Dad outlives his wife, what if Dementia takes over and he no longer knows any of us? I think of the heaviness of a funeral, arrangements, maybe having Dad take me out of his will and put my brother in my place since he still lives in the same state as Dad.
I think about when Mom died, I was only 16. We never talked about it. Grief has the ability to bond people together, that clearly was not for us. If that was not enough I had a dream that had something to do with the number 3 and death. I interpreted as I was going to die in that time, but that was incorrect.
Dad’s mom passed away exactly 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days from the day my Mom died. No joke. That loss affected Dad more than it did the rest of us as she didn’t accept us because we were adopted. Nice. Oh yes, let us sing the old Christian hymn, “…they will know us by our love.” Wow. Religious people really do suck sometimes.
I think about suffering, his, and ours. I think about how wretched a society we are for how we treat our elderly and disabled. I think about the fear and uncertainty of having to put him in a home, and I wonder if it’d be possible to move him to Spokane where his sister is, in a nice retirement home. She loves it there and is a lively spirit even at 80.
I think of how difficult it was for Dad to sell our home years ago. These are not easy issues or quickly answered questions for any one at any age. I am very protective of those in my life and I would have to know he was being taken care of in a holistic manner where the heart and spirit are as important as the physical body and mind.
I think about Patch Adams, my favorite movie because of his giftedness at reaching people where they’re at and transforming lives. I need to watch it again. Patch found a desire to become a doctor after having committed himself to a mental hospital because of suicidal thoughts. It was there he learned he wanted to help people because he received such sterile, dehumanizing, unkind care. Patch challenges everything we have come to accept about health care. He addresses the heart and soul of a patient, not just addressing them by their disease.
This afternoon I had a message from my step mom that my dad had fallen in the shower, I called him and he confirmed this. He said he landed right on his backside and hurt his back. I jokingly said we need to get him a padded shower stall and he laughed. I asked him how he was feeling and he said, “Great!”
Hmmm….never can rely on Dad being honest or realistic. Denial is such a part of our family you’d think it too was adopted at infancy!
Again we didn’t talk long; my family is so flipping hard to talk to. My step mom is okay but wow how the women in our family carry the men! It’s not right, it’s not healthy, and it weakens us all.
I called my Step Mom and she said he hurt himself pretty good, but his spirits were up today and he looked good. He’s still pretty weak and she keeps telling him he can’t go home until he is stronger and can take care of himself. She says he remembers it for about a minute and then forgets.