Alice Through the Looking Glass


Alice Through the Looking Glass

Back to full-time caregiving in Florida after my foray into the Land that Spring Forgot, aka Eastern Ohio. I spent two weeks with my husband, running errands and being reminded why I love his voice, his laugh, and his arm around me at night when we go to sleep. When I am in our Ohio house, it feels right, like I have always been there; and when I return to my Florida house, it feels right, like I have always been here. And I can't tell which life is the real one and which one is the reflection. My Ohio house is crammed full of chatchkes and memories of a marriage, raising children, successes and failures we created with our own hands. My Florida house is still my mother's house, which I have left basically untouched. But it is clean and neat and spare and well-maintained and gracious to live in (that  "Easy Living" Jimmy Buffet Lifestyle).

In one house I am wife, mother, pet owner, voter and concerned citizen. In the other house I am full-time caregiving daughter, mom, grandmom, sister, consumer of ripe strawberries and fresh pineapple. In one house I speak, am understood, challenged, comforted, have companionship. In the other house it is pointless to speak and there is isolation; Deaf must feel like this. Even though there are people around me, I am only too aware they have their own lives, AND THIS IS MINE. Still, there is a degree of self-determination here. I am my own judge and jury. The two houses are complete opposites.

We have made our summer plans now. In the past, my mother and I closed up her Florida house and spent the summer together with my husband in Ohio, getting re-acquainted and nudging, ever-so-slightly, his Man Cave into respectability.  Last year when we returned to Florida, the adjustment was too great, and I don't think anything is gained by putting my mother through it again. So instead of five months in Ohio with my mother, I will be spending about six weeks in Ohio and my mom will return to the assisted living facility for that time.

Sometimes when I hear friends' names mentioned, I can't remember if I know them from Ohio or Florida. Or if I see someone, I get confused if I really know them or they just look like someone from the other place I live. My checks still say Ohio even though I hardly live there. I'm getting established with a doctor and a dermatologist, a Florida "must-have". Maybe that's the tipping point: when you start consulting with a dermatologist, you've thrown in the towel, raised the white flag, you've crossed the line, you've bought the farm of southern living.


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At times I would think is this ALL THE REST OF MY LIFE WILL BE? I often wondered, 'how long this would last' in regards to both my mom and my MIL. How long would I be caring giving. Both had dementia yet otherwise relatively healthy bodies. But MIL had aphasia and was bedridden for the last 4 years. I sometimes forget the challenges when she was still active--those really were the harder days. Although the aphasia made communication very difficult at times, once she was bedridden it did decrease lots of worry and constant vigilance. \r\n\r\nWhat you are doing is so very hard. I'm so glad that you come here and share with us.


I am excited for your summer this year, successfully navigating the emotions/concerns of leaving your mom in the care of others in Florida. What a great relief that you've found a place that fits! Your AH is a gem too! It is definitely better to be prepared with support in both states - you never know what comes up!