Monday, November 9, 2009

A less bleak Autumn than anticipated

A less bleak Autumn than anticipated. My mother survived and appears to be out of danger. For a while it was not day to day, hour to hour, or even minute to minute. For a longish time is was second to second. I said “Goodbye” along with the rest of the family. She is a tough woman, she survived. She went back to the nursing home for rehab for her original issue and I decided to return overseas to work on my book. The day I was to leave she was back in the hospital via the emergency room and again it was bad, but only hour by hour this time. I returned anyway, canceling my flight the morning I was to depart. Again, she survived and I have now returned overseas. She still has multiple complications which threaten her, but not on an immediate basis. I am not sure surviving was a mercy for her. She does have a living will demanding no heroic measures, and we walked right up to the edge of that.

I have said goodbye, if something happens now, I do not feel the pressure to get home before she would die. I would still want to, but that pressure if off. I have said what I needed to say. Not that she knows me, as far as I can tell. She will never return to her home. After rehab she will go to another wing of the nursing home. She will need more care than she can get at home, more care than in home nursing will provide.

If she avoids further infections she will live quite a bit longer. She is already 88, but the women on her side of the family seem to be nearly immortal. Unfortunately, they also seem to develop Alzheimer’s pretty early. That is OK as long as she is happy.

Last year, at my brother’s funeral, she already had no idea who I was. However, we had a nice talk about my kids, my family, my life. She was engaged and lively. Totally out of touch with reality, but seemed happy with it. She no longer seems so happy, but it is hard to tell - this has been a miserable experience for her. Not only unpleasant, but unfamiliar surroundings and she cannot understand where she is or why she is there. She does not remember her surgery and cannot understand why she cannot get up and walk away. She wants to go home, she never will. She talks about her Daddy coming to get her. She knows my sister and eldest brother because they see her every day. Well, not sure she knows who they are, but recognizes them as belonging in her world. She will ask about me and express her desire to see me, even when she just has. Not being recognized bothers me less than I thought it would. It is not her fault.

So, this Autumn, so far, was not marked by another death. Did not make it three in a row. I am grateful for that. Last October my brother died, two Novembers ago, my wife killed herself. I think enough is enough.

I accepted my brother’s death pretty quickly. He had been ill a long time and was miserable. I miss him, I loved him. I accept his death.

The suicide has been much harder. That anniversary was last night. I did what I said I would do a couple of entries ago in this blog. I drank, not that much, cried, some, smoked, thought. Not the last tears, not the last ache, but without much anger and that is real progress. I did not get to say goodbye, I was not ready to say goodbye, I still cannot say goodbye aloud, but I can wave goodbye, and do it without excessive anger spoiling and poisoning my memories. That is good enough for the second anniversary.

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