This morning started with a voice mail message from Dad’s Assisted Living Community nurse requesting permission to call 9-11 for him. The flurry of phone calls began and my typical screwed up TBI brain struggled to communicate over the phone. Kind of goofy, I know I need to act NOW but figure I’ll have the words to say when I need them. Not.
At any rate, I’d have to imagine hospitals and nurses are quite accustomed to people in shock and can’t talk right, so I’m probably in good company.
Pacing seems to help my mind get itself together, so I walk up and down the hallway. I look out the window thinking I’ve been here not too long ago feeling this same, emotionally raw, way…when we first came to discover Dad would need Assisted Living. I look at the birds and tell myself to focus, I am lost in the moment. I am lost.
All I know is he’s getting tests run, and when they know more, so will I. I wrote frantic notes trying to glean all the details I possibly can, I then email one brother.
I look online for helpful information about the stages of Dementia and my heart is wobbly, needing to be strong, focused, calm, and decisive, I’m just kind of a mess right now. I feel if I know what’s coming, what to expect I’ll be able to handle it better. I am seeking solidity, security when in reality there is none to be had.
I wrestle with my flight instinct, telling myself I need to be ready at a moment’s notice to go back home (with dread). Can I let it go? Can I let go of all of it? Everything that has transpired in the past and just live within this very moment? I must. Time passes far too quickly as it is inside of this Brain Injured world of mine.
I’d already been thinking of what would have to be done to plan for a funeral, but damn it, are we ever fully prepared when the time comes? I’m sure some folks are.
Ironically I had just gotten all Dad’s paperwork sent in for his taxes last week (that was a HUGE, huge, huge accomplishment), and, I only just sent Dad’s Last Will and documents to his attorney yesterday, as he didn’t prepare the originals nor had copies.
I think of loss and grief. I think of the ‘between a rock and a hard place’ in these moments. It’s painful to see someone suffer and struggle, it is painful to think of our own loss…but the pain of watching someone suffering trumps my grief. No contest.
I think of the brevity of life, how in a split second your entire life can change and it’s all out of our control. I think of all the things we believe, or are taught to believe, so we can somehow have the illusion of controlling our destiny, but strongly doubt it in my own heart of hearts. All too often the very ones telling us what to believe aren’t necessarily doing it from a place of humility and unconditional friendliness or love. They have an agenda of their own, their own ego to feed, security to seek, and there’s all too often a financial gain in there somewhere too.
I suppose that’s what Brain Injury has taught me…and I’m sure it’s the same for each individual who has had a life experience that didn’t fit the textbook definition of how life is ‘supposed to be.’ These are the moments that define us, that make us who we are…they reveal our character, ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
I get a little weepy, I go get some water, look outside at the birds and squirrels. They do not future trip, they live in the moment, they do not prematurely grieve. I remind myself to do the same, to breathe in and out. Deeply.
It is a beautiful, bright sunny day here. The temp is barely 32 degrees Fahrenheit, just above freezing. I watch some birds trying to drink from the mostly frozen stone bowl, others drink at the heated water bowl.
Back at my computer, I sit in scared silence. I quietly wonder, as I peruse the information online, is this what I will be experiencing, if indeed, multiple TBIs cause Alzheimers/Dementia plus the genetic link I already have? I am 45-years-old, my Dad is 90 and I can relate to him in startling understanding from my own personal experience.
Just barely above freezing…that’s where I need to be too…to function well, to be fully present, in this fiercely cold, swirling heart storm.