The Mom & Me Journals dot Net
The definitive, eccentric journal of an unlikely caregiver, continued.

Apologia for these journals:
    They are not about taking care of a relative with moderate to severe Alzheimer's/senile dementia.
    For an explanation of what these journals are about, click the link above.
    For internet sources that are about caring for relatives with moderate to severe
        Alzheimer's/senile dementia, click through the Honorable Alzheimer's Blogs in my
        links section to the right.

7 minute Audio Introduction to The Mom & Me Journals [a bit dated, at the moment]

Monday, April 13, 2009
No, I haven't stopped my journals...
...although I know it must seem like it. I sometimes imagine, with pathetic glee, that, if people wonder about my absences, they are thinking such things as:
  1. Well, thank the gods, she's stopped beating a dead horse (my mother, by the way, would have been amused to consider that, after death, she might be referred to as a "dead horse");
  2. Well, thank the gods, she's finally getting on with her life (as though life actually stops, which it doesn't, even when it seems as though it does);
  3. Well, thank the gods, she was too damned wordy as it was (as though I care that I don't observe proper blog etiquette by fashioning short, sweet, easily digestible posts).
    Here's the situation: Hmmm...I am having trouble finding words for my situation. That's it. At the moment, the best way to describe where I am is that I have one foot here and one foot where ever my mother is. Discombobulating, to say the least. I'm caught up, as well, in a steady, confusing anger over the existence of death (now, there's an oxymoron for you!) This anger has taken me by surprise because this is the first time I've experienced it in the face of death; thus, I have to assume that I've never been as caught up in a relationship with anyone I've survived as I was (and am, I suppose) with my mother. I find myself recalling my primary reaction to the deaths of others in my life, including people to whom I thought I was intimate, as a peculiar equanimity. "Yes, it's tragic, or unexpected, or shocking, or enervating, yes I feel a hole where that person was," I remember thinking, "but everyone dies, I'll die, everyone I know will die, it's what we all do...blah, blah, blah..." oh my! I remember, as well, feeling a touch of envy that the person who died knows "something", "now", that I don't...something I'd very much like to know, provided, of course, that I can come back here...
    Lately, I've been considering that, in my entire life, my heart has been broken only twice: First, by the condition of being human. It happened when I was very young and discovered the treacherous obliquity of human sociality. I know, stating it that way is equally oblique, but, you know, I can't remember the event; all I remember is that I suddenly realized that humans, at least humans in my society, have more to hide than they have to reveal and this is understood to not only be good manners, but necessary to social survival. I have never recovered from that heartbreak, although I think I've lived relatively well with it. At least I've continued living. The second was by Death, in December of 2008, when my mother died. Not that I wasn't expecting Mom's eath. Not that I hadn't prepared myself for it, as much as I thought was possible, anyway. This time, though, my reaction has surprised me. Instead of considering death as natural, inevitable, even beneficial in some cases, certainly, at the very least, something to which I'd already adjusted, I'm taking it, this time, as a horrible, torturous, unreasonable joke; and I'm surprised, as well, that, once again, my heart is broken. It has darkened my vision; thrown me so askew that I'm questioning the so called "beauty" of life...nothing, nothing makes sense, any longer.
    I'm sure, of course, that much of this has to do with the unusually (in the sense that we had long since passed the mother/daughter or daughter/mother parameters and had morphed into an altogether different territory) intimate relationship my mother and I developed over the decades, before and during our final companionship. I'm also sure that it has nothing to do with me having lost "my mother". None of the stuff I've read or heard about people's reactions to losing their mothers, or both parents, seems to fit what I'm going through. Finally, today, it occurred to me that what I'm going through is probably more akin to losing an intimate companion, a spouse, than losing a parent. So, I've decided to seek out literature about this aspect of grief. I've located a few promising books, all of which are within our local library system and all of which must be transported, through the "hold" process, to my closest library and the one through which I have a card, but I expect them to start arriving within a day or two.
    In the meantime, I can't say that I'm denying myself opportunities to engage with Life. I'm reading again, as I mentioned, with much relief, and not just books and articles about grieving. I remain in touch with family and friends, as much as I ever did and, in some cases, more. I'm generally upbeat, socially; I've never been socially morose, anyway. Over the last few (maybe a bit more than a few) weeks I've been heavily involved in a rezoning issue in our part of town, have discovered an interest in and a facility with local politics, much to my surprise and delight, and, late last week, our group actually won our position. Death business continues at a slow but steady pace. I'm winnowing through all the issues surrounding, you know, reorganizing life from a material perspective in a respectable manner. I'm laughing as well as crying, eating well, getting out about as much as I ever did (I've never been a social butterfly), remaining respectably interlocked with my book club, making plans, here and there, initiating some of them, letting others psychically fertilize a bit more...from the outside in I probably look like I'm doing pretty well. If you were visiting my soul, though, well, I'm sure you'd hightail it out of there after a cursory visual pass before risking becoming mired in its hopelessness. It's a mess.
    Woman of words that I am, I am at a loss for words to describe the state of my soul and the effect it is having on my life, at this point. I consider writing here every day, more than once a day, but I just can't dredge the appropriate words out of my mind. I can write powerful letters to the editor for a committee opposed to a rezoning issue; I can edit the work of my novelist/friend and steer her to exactly the right reshaping of a thought or a scene; I can even appreciate, and know why I'm appreciating, a section in a book or an essay. I have begun reading through these journals and organizing the material to see if there might be something important and publishable here and I'm enjoying the process...but I can't put words to my internal devastation.
    That's why I'm not writing here, much, lately.
    So, you know, later...

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