Caregiving. Sad.

I am weepy today, and I’m not sure why. There was a power outage last night for a couple of hours. Trying to get air from my c-pap machine woke me in the pitch black at midnight. I was reminded of old dreams of the dark.

I moved slowly to the bathroom just in case something might trip me. “Shower day,” I thought. “Today is Mom’s shower day.”

The alarm sounded at six.

Mom is doing well except for her lack of mobility and searching for words. She asked for something after her shower, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. She said, “I want my …” and I said, “What, Mom, what do you want?” She answered, “I want my …” two times more after the first. One time I said, “Lotion? Do you want more lotion?” She shook her head. “Do you want a different top?” She didn’t answer and didn’t pose another question. I never found out what she wanted.

After we dried her off, I combed and arranged her hair and applied eye shadow and eyebrow pencil. She wanted to do her own lipstick.

She headed for her chair in the den while I got her morning pills and Gatorade and freshened her water bottle. I gathered all the towels, the pad from her bed, nightgown, and hospital socks, took them to the washer, threw in the detergent pod, and set the load for Small so the water and additions would all get mixed together quickly. Then I added the clothes. “I want my…” I said to myself.

Later, we sat together in the den. After coffee, she sipped water from her purple container (We always try to match her outfit of the day) and I drank a Diet Coke. “Do we have any…” she asked. When she can’t find the word, she clasps her fingers and thumb together over and over. She told me that my step-grandmother made that particular motion after her stroke. Her name was Ethel, too, and she’d been married to my mother’s father for sixty-plus years. She was more like family than my real grandmother who died of lung and liver cancer in California a few years ago. Granny Ethel couldn’t ask a question, though. She just said, “Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee,” and made that clasping gesture.

Mom pointed to my Coke again and asked, “Do we have any…” and I said, “Coke?” She shook her head no and I asked, “Iced tea? I just made some fresh tea.”

“No-ooo. Oh, you know…”

I didn’t.

“I drink it,” she said.

“Root beer!”

She was nodding her head. “Yes, yes, yes. Root beer.”

“You have plenty in your supply closet. I’ll put some in the refrigerator, okay?”

I left for the kitchen and forgot why I went before I got there. It always helps to bend over the sink with my head in my hands. If that doesn’t work, I have to retrace my steps.

Ah, root beer. In the closet.

As I finished placing the last of the six-pack, it occurred to me to ask, “Do you want root beer now?”

“Yes, I just want to drink a little root beer now.”

“Here you go,” I said as I set the bubbling glass on the table beside her chair. “Now I’m going downstairs for a bit. I’ll be back to get your lunch.”

“I’m not hungry now.”

“I know. I’ll be back when you get hungry.”

It was 11:50 when I closed the elevator door and pressed Down.

I asked myself, “What is this sadness?”

A friend sent a funny, funny video in a message and I laughed like crazy! It made me think to look on Facebook for some inspiration or another chuckle. I started to write this piece for my blog and thought to change the cover photo. I never know how to do anything in WordPress. It’s always several trials and even more errors.

Media. I needed to go to media to see which photo to use to capture the reader’s attention and give them some kind of insight into my theme. In those pictures, I saw the story of our ten years here on the ravine.

When we first moved here, we had a large skulk of foxes. We watched them with delight for two years, and then they moved on. I retired and lost the years and years of friendships I’d cultivated at work. One deep friendship gave way to the new distance between us. I left church–and relinquished a community. Mom and Dad stopped attending their church and that peripheral group was gone.

We have no more grandBABIES…The oldest one is 18 now, the youngest 6. That happened all too quickly. No more Grammy Days, or rides in GrammyVan, or the little liars telling convincing fictional stories tricking us into believing that they were reality.

Dave’s closest friends have passed away since we moved here, and the Corner Pub, the afternoon gathering spot for them closed. Murphy, our fifteen-year-old Shih-tzu, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Dad died. I almost lost myself.

Mom is sliding away. She tries to be present. I’m still her baby. She’s still funny at times and we laugh and laugh. But I know she’s going. I feel her leaving.

Last week, Neil, the one I called our semi-permanent houseguest, moved on. As frustrated as I could sometimes get, I miss him.

I don’t grieve for the older losses like I did when they first happened. I feel community and warmth from a group of fantastic women in my book club and in my writing group.

There’s a bunch of birds at our feeders. One little house finch lives in the eaves of Mom’s porch and greets me almost every morning.

Dixie, our three-year-old rip-roaring personality in a mix of Shih-Tzu and Poodle, is a gift of affection and loyalty. Maybe she’ll be around twelve more years.

Diana (another Diana) moved into The Cellar and brought a delightful breath–no, a light wind–of fresh air.

And Dave still loves me unconditionally. We’ll be married 25 years in April. Those years passed in fast-forward speed, it seems. Something in me wants to ask, “How many more years will we have?”

This isn’t the regular, or normal, depression. I’d recognize that.

This is different. I just get sad.

Author: Diana Blair Revell

I used to be a health care financial executive -- I don't miss it. Before that, I was in radio/TV -- I still miss that. Radio has to be the craziest business ever invented.Today, I am happy to be living in this wandering place, blessed to be married to the best man I've ever known, and amazed every day by my 90-year-old mother living with us. Wish you could have seen her 90th family party! I miss my dad; he died in November 2018. I write (all kinds of stuff), garden, cook, clean, sew (a little), play anything with a keyboard--including the organ, and love on my grand-babies. We watch all the wildlife that frequent the ravine and our Shih-poo pup Dixie just turned three. Life is abundant around these parts.

3 thoughts on “Caregiving. Sad.”

  1. I know I heard you read this last week, Dinah, but it says even more to me now that I can see it “in the flesh.” Your sadness is beautifully stated, like we all said last week. I think Peggy noted your lyrical voice. And mainly I am feeling your sadness and can relate. We have reached the age when we are losing loved ones right and left. I went to the Vet yesterday to pay the bill and pick up Tabitha’s ashes and her paw print. And then I got a text message from friend Maggie in Illinois that her husband Mike had passed on Friday. I know she had been anticipating it for some time, but even so. “We spent 50 wonderful years together and he made me laugh every day,” she said. What a tribute. I want you to know that reading about the loving relationship you and your mother share is inspiring me to write about my mother, who died at age 90 in 2006. Hawthorne was a great lady and a great cook. I want to capture her story along with her recipes. Most of what I put on the table nowadays comes from her kitchen.bt

    Liked by 1 person

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