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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Its been a month since mom died and I am starting to feel a little bit alive again. What a month it has been. It seems like I spent the past month going to bed with the birds as it was easier dealing that way. If only pulling the covers over my head made the process easier. For a while sleep seemed like an excellent coping strategy. I felt like during the day, life was a long series of "going through the motions"; but I feel like I am starting to come back to my own life a little.

It still feels weird not having mom here. There are still times that I feel that she will come home at any moment like she's been on a long vacation, and when she comes home she'll be the mom I remember that is full of life and truly herself, not afflicted with dementia. Sometimes I hear noises at night with the house settling and for a second I wonder if it is her and then I catch myself. Tonight as I was watching a movie, I automatically turned the volume down when the music came on loud as I didn't want that to disturb her and have her come sleepily out of her room and not be able to get back to bed.

Someone told me once that for people with dementia, after they die they are wrapped in a protective cocoon as they heal from the dementia to whatever is beyond with their memories restored. In that time, we may not feel them etc. But once we are able to dream of them, it means that the cocoon has lifted and they are fine and whole. I dreamt of mom for the first time the other night and I hope that means she is truly herself again and happy with my father, her brother and all the rest. I hope she is caring for my cat TC. So many hopes. Not all is gone.

There is some guilt as I start to live again. Its as if I am forgetting her by getting on with life. I know in my head that this isn't true. My heart will catch up in time.

Every day I miss her. I talk to her still. When I see a beautiful sunset or a tree she would have loved, I point that out. It makes me feel closer. Somehow I feel that she hears me.

I wish there was a magic formula for the grieving process. I am heartened that I am feeling again but know that this is most likely a spiral process of ups and downs as I go through this. I know I will always miss her just like I have missed my dad. And as silly as it sounds, my black cat TC. Funny how it makes me feel better to think that my cat has her lap to curl up in again, and that mom has my cat as part of me.

I sometimes go into her room that she had upstairs before I moved her into the room on the first floor. That room upstairs used to be my room before I went to college and then moved away for a while. Mom kept that room like a shrine. My stuffed animals and music boxes were still in their place like when I was a teen. They are still that way. Funny little bobble-headed statues that friends gave me sit on the dresser. My Donny Osmond albums sit in the rack under the stereo mixed with a few of her records. She could never quite figure out how to go from the record player to the radio when she wanted to go to sleep listening to easy listening music. I'd change the function for her then get a little frustrated as her music was a little too loud for me to get to sleep as she was a little hard of hearing though she'd never admit to it. I still can't seep with the radio on. Singing lyrics in my mind as the music plays keeps me awake.

So many memories. They are comforting and they are sad. The bitter-sweet. This house, my house now, is full of memories and full of life as if the walls hold on to all the years gone by. I can almost see the years as a montage as I look in various rooms and remember.

But life does go on. I am starting to date and make plans. I am going to Vermont for Christmas. I am getting out and doing things, going to movies, living, and putting one foot in front of the other. And for the most part, I am OK. I am picking up the pieces of life and I am OK.
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    I sometimes wished that there was a magic healing pill too, but learned that by going through the natural process, I remembered so many beautiful things about both my grandfathers and my sweet pets. With each blog that I read, I can see more and more of the kind of person your mother was, and how much she passed on to you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories and for allowing us to be part of this process for you. I send you hugs!!
    4198 days ago
    4198 days ago
    So beautifully said, and I'm glad you're getting a chance to get out and do things, good for you!

    Our pastor emeritus had a heart attack, and died on the operating table. He said he could hear everything they said, and as his spirit rose, he realized his mind was clearer than it had ever been. It wasn't his time, and he returned to his body, amazing the medical staff by his clear knowledge of everything they did while he was 'dead'.

    After this, he was never again afraid to die, realizing it truly was stepping out of one room and into another. And as his mind muddled with age, he looked forward once again to being able to think clear and bright.

    Think of it, we serve here, and at times it isn't wonderful. We get sick, our bodies give out on us. But our reward is coming, God is good. This time on earth is but a fleeting moment, and eternity awaits. Our old pastor (now gone on) lived to 87, many years after the heart attack. He had cancer several times, finally started getting dementia at the end.

    But now, his mind is clearer than ever, he is young and able, for the spirit is ageless. Mom always said that she feels the same inside, young and vital, despite her body's aging. And now as I approach 'that' age, I realize she is right. The spirit is made for eternity.

    My mom always loved the outdoors, rode horses, ice skated, won diving medals. Until she was 70 she explored caves, hiked mountains. At 80 she was still building rock walls. Now at almost 99 I know she misses all of that. It's a comfort knowing one day she will run again.

    Makes it all worthwhile, serving God here and now, knowing an eternity of being strong again awaits.
    4198 days ago
    Kerry let me say this...you will be HONORING your Mom by living every day to the fullest. I dont know alot, but i do know that Mom's want the best for their kids. You did something alot of people either choose not to do, or have no choice of, and thats that you were with her in her last years. You took care of her as she took care of you earlier. You gave her the ultimate gift of time and love.
    Believe me she will NOT think you are forgetting her, rather that you are LIVING which is another GREAT gift you can give her. I ache for my Dad every day. I am scared to death when the day comes my Mom is no longer here. I truly thought I couldnt handle it when Daddy moved on, but I did. He wanted only the best for me and I know he is smiling down saying "More Holl MORE!!!!" about living.
    It takes awhile. Heck it takes forever. You wont ever stop missing her i'm sure. But you sure can have some peace in knowing how good you made her last years in this place. And I know she will be waiting to tell you "well done, my girl, you LIVED well!!" when you see her again!!
    Hugs and love to you
    4199 days ago
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. My father passed away in January. He had Parkinson's along with dementia. He was pretty lucid most of the time, but not the father I knew. I thought I would be ok with his passing as I was glad he went quickly and did not suffer. Now with the real holidays coming up, I am starting to really feel sad. Maybe I never mourned him in the beginning, I don't know... Maybe like you said, his dementia is done with and since I am starting to think about him, he has healed. My thoughts and prayers are with you. emoticon
    4199 days ago
    I wish there was a magic formula as well, but I can tell from your writing that you are getting stronger all the time.
    4199 days ago
    I wish there were a magic formula, too. emoticon
    4199 days ago
  • ILEANA77
    God bless you! emoticon
    4199 days ago
    Yes...you can hear it in your writing "voice"...Kerry's BACK!

    ...with even more wisdom and poignancy you bring SO much to our SparkFamily!

    Thx for being you!

    4199 days ago
    4199 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4238235
    That is right my dear! You are OKAY! We are here for you and you are doing a great job putting one foot in front of the other! I am proud of you!!! Keep going. And on those days it is hard to put that foot out there. Remember we are here for you!

    4199 days ago
    I wish there was a magic formula too
    4199 days ago
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