Monday, November 26, 2012

The Amazing Shrinking Woman

Mom has lost so much weight. A statuesque and large woman, we proudly share the image of viking/amazon woman. We are not thin folks.  Soft and squishy hugs and lots of gravy make a substantial grandma.  No more. Her unwillingness to eat has impacted her body remarkably.  I took her to the doctor for her physical and now she has lost even more weight. Since we started this adventure three years ago she has now lost 50 pounds. That is a huge physical change.

None of her clothes fit.  As winter quickly closes in the size 20 wool pants and 2x sweaters she insists she will never be able to button because she is too fat, actually fall off.  She has become a size 16/14 with a body image that simply doesn't match.  As I remove the now over-sized wardrobe from her closet she is not triumphant, like someone who had succeeded in a diet would be.  She is bewildered.  She thinks she is gorging on food at meals. She isn't. I check. She simply doesn't eat much anymore. Whatever is on her plate, she leaves half or all. 

 Her cupboard and mini fridge are stuffed full of easy to eat snacks and alternate meals which she asks for and never opens. Only the bananas are eaten, and now she says "don't bother with those, I don't need them anymore."   I still cannot make her eat. I could not when she lived here without lots of cajoling and manipulating.  As she has lost more of her mind, it has become even more difficult to awaken her appetite. She is disappearing. It bothers me and makes me sad.
Her body matches her mind now.  It looks vaguely like her, but different.  It lacks substance and seems somehow wasting.  Each time I see her she is less there and more clueless.

I would fix her.  I cannot. 

Great mystery. You are.  I get it.   What I am doing no longer works.  Show me another way so I can keep going.
Amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"home" for a visit

Mom has lost 25 pounds since moving into the assisted living facility.  She doesn't like the food and isn't eating.  She has been depressed and it has been hard for her to get motivated to eat.  I had a couple of days off in a row.  I was supposed to actually rest and recoup some energy before beginning a marathon summer internship.  I didn't.  I brought mom "home' and fed her. I watched my dog get happy, waking the house with her thumping tail wags on the floor. I watched my mom's cat come out and purr, chasing toys that had become dusty. We were alive again.  I still have mixed feelings about the Facility she now calls "the home". They take good care of her when she cooperates.  I felt like my very empty lonely house was "home" again.  And parts of the visit were a great success! Mom ate! And some of it wasn't.  I got too tired quickly. We simply could not do it alone. 

Nothing is perfect and maybe this will be all right.  She is back now, willingly and happy, (and currently well fed) in "the home". Not my home.  We decided "It was a vacation only".  It was good, but we all agree, I cannot keep it up.   We have plans for a return vacation when my internship ends, and then we will also have pie.

Sacred keeper of my heart's joy;
Thank you for this brief island of happiness and reunion.  Memories may flee, but love and wagging tails remain to bring us peace and smiles.

Amen

Thursday, March 1, 2012

grief

My real dad died a few weeks ago.
It wasn't totally unexpected but it was sudden.


The words stop.
First numb.

then...confused.

then frenetic.

then overwhelmed,

 and now...

I find myself sad.
Unbelievably sad.
Now, out of no where,  I cry for him and all the loved ones who have died.  So many all together.
The tears that suddenly flood my eyes are just... mine. I could say..ah! there is daddy! Or there is my step dad (was it just six months ago?) there is grandma, there is my dear kitty(gone before Christmas), there is my mother's former self.

I miss them all. I am going along just fine. Life is working, I am working. I am being present.  I am enjoying my grandchild, and then...I cannot focus.

Grief is sneaky that way. It can hide underneath, like a bittersweet aftertaste in wine. No matter how much I know about this intellectually, no matter how many people I have accompanied as their loved ones have passed away, or how often I listen to the sorrows of others, I didn't know.

Now I finally get it.
This is unbelievably hard.

Insidious.
And I was funny before. (maybe not here, but in the real world, according to one of my students,  I am "hilarious")
It is harder to be up for others.  I need something else now.

I need to be here for me.

Now I am embracing sad.

Thanks dad.  You have taught me more compassion.