Recharging the Batteries, Bit by Bit
Since my Dad’s death I’ve taken a deliberately lower profile across all social and electronic media. A combination of grief, depression and simple emotional exhaustion made it prudent to do so. I’ve pulled up and scanned Caregiving.com from time to time, been deeply touched by so many of your posts, but simply didn’t have the emotional reserves to provide a cogent answer. Most I could do was quietly pray for you.
Life has remained busy between work, Mom and my kids. Then there are the double D’s: driving and dating. Entire books could be written on how that is going in our household. Never a dull moment around here that’s for sure.
Healthwise all in my family is doing well for a change and I’m enjoying the relative calm.
Emotionally I’m not yet where I once was but I know from the experience of my wife’s death several years ago, I never quite will be. That’s not a bad thing. What is developing is yet another “new normal.” This time one involving my mom and I.
Mom absolutely knows that Dad is gone. She just can’t articulate it. She searches for him, makes reference to things he’s left undone, and asks about him regularly, just not by name. She also absolutely is not distraught over his absence. Her mind quickly comes up with a plausible explanation for his absence and she moves on to the next random thought. As I’ve written about before, the most common explanation is that Dad is at “home.”
We had the memorial/celebration dinner a couple of weeks ago. It was Thanksgiving in October. There were tables and tables of food and drink. The staff was overwhelmed. Mom got her favorite of fried chicken and Coca-cola. It was awesome!
I think our visits together are harder for me than for Mom. I’ve moved Mom to a smaller, single room versus the double she and Dad once shared. For Mom it is now home but as I walk to it I can see and stare at their old room. There is a nice picture of Dad in Mom’s new room. It shows Dad a little younger and in much better health. I find myself staring at it, too.
As I did before, I try to make Mom move, which is getting harder and harder for her and to make her laugh.
Lately though I’ve noticed that it is Mom making me laugh instead. I guess a Mom never forgets what her “baby” needs. If I had any doubt, it was erased when I put my head on Mom’s shoulder and she leaned over and kissed me.