Tough Week, Or, Saturday Morning at 7:58am

Oof, guys, tough week! For me, at least. I hope yours was OK.

My mother’s condition has progressed, we are talking and thinking about what to do. This requires reading and writing emails, making phone calls, driving places, occasionally swallowing hard as tears show up from nowhere. It’s a little bit like having half your self in another world. (I imagine but how would I know?)

And then that other world starts lobbing sharp things through a dark but brilliant window. You just can’t know or predict.

Some may have noticed I’m not very present in the blogosphere at the moment. I apologize. I am sure that being the good people you are you understand but I regret it anyway. I thought if any of you bloggers had written a post recently that you’d like to share here, you might add a link in the comments below. I am sure there’s good stuff to read out there.

I’m taking pleasure in the variegated foliage of hydrangeas, flowers in pots on my back patio, siblings, tea. Weeding, pork adobo, husband, cineraria. Quiet morning house. The sounds of birds, even loud crows. The clicks of my keyboard. Arias on Pandora.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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  • Right here with you, Amid Privilege, in this very hard week.

    10:10 am
    Lisa said...

    @Sibyll Catalan, <3

  • Thinking of you and yours, Lisa

  • Tough week indeed, Lisa. I have no wise words to offer. Will a hug do? xxx

  • I am new to your web site, but I wanted to add my support for the coming weeks. Days? Hours? Not knowing what is happening and what to expect is the worst part. I have been where you are for my mother-in-law and my own mother. You can provide love and comfort. There really isn’t much more you can do. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself. It is an exhausting time.

  • thinking of you + hoping that you make time for you while navigating that other world. x

  • In your shoes I found it helpful to repeat to myself several times a day, “I’m doing the best I can.”

  • Tough times. Thinking of you.

  • So sorry that you have to go through this. Best wishes in this difficult time.

  • We have these issues coming up with my mother in law. Right now, she is in a lovely independent apartment in a retirement community. However, my brother in law believes (and he may be right) that she will not be able to manage this more than another year at most. The same community (The Tradition Lovers Lane in my city) has opened an assisted living and a memory care building at the same location. When they opened, I went on the tour and can tell you that there are great beautiful places out there with the latest in care and accommodations. None of this is happy to contemplate–but times are changing and care is being fine tuned, made available and at least this place in our city is lovely. Hopefully California has the same.

    I’ll be thinking of you and your siblings as well as your stepfather while you all grapple with decisions. I know you will find the best solutions available.

    When our daughter in law’s grandmother had similar health issues, that family chose to keep her in their home with round the clock care provided by hired caregivers. This worked for them, but it was very hard on the grandfather–even though he was the one who insisted on this path.

  • Oh this just makes my heart ache for you and your family.

  • It isn’t easy to deal with a parent’s decline.
    Not dealing with it is disgraceful.
    We owe it to our mothers and fathers to make sure they end their days properly cared for, in clean clothes, having bathed recently and with their hair looking decent.
    Care place laundry destroys fancy wardrobes, move her in with washable outfits. From what I saw of the Memory Care unit my Auntie was in, fleece vests are the item for California seniors.

    Go ahead and cry in the car, inside that shell of the mother you love she knows you’re doing what you’re supposed to and she’s proud of you.

  • We’re here. You blog when you feel like it. xo

  • When I think of you, going through this, and I remember what it was like, I try to think you into your garden. Secateurs, a sunhat, white roses, dirty fingernails, the smell of humus, the warm of sunlight, the reassurance of green growth. . . Take care, you know we are here wishing you strength, not expecting anything blog-wise, much as we love your words. . .

  • Oh, Lisa, I’m so very sorry. I can testify, there is no escape from this; the only way out is through. I hope it helps a little that your friends here are holding you up.

  • Volunteering at a local nursing home/ memory care facility I see the the toll it takes on those coping with a loved one’s “disappearance,” as many there have referred to it. The ache felt when reading about it here, from a friend’s perspective, is palpable. You are in my thoughts, I hope you can feel the cyberhug whooshing your way across the miles.

  • So sorry to hear you are going through this. My only advice, learned as much through my father’s last months as my medical experience: whatever support you think she needs now, she will need more by the time you have it arranged. Anticipate that, and you won’t feel as though you are always trying to play catch-up.

  • I am so sorry! I went through something similar with my darling father. It’s heart-wrenching and so profound. Sending lots of tenders your way.

  • I’m so sorry this is all happening at what must feel like an accelerated pace. No wisdom to offer, just support and virtual hugs.

  • Not a blogger, so no links.

    Am so very sorry. You don’t owe us a thing. Love your posts, look forward to them when you can. Do your best with your mom and don’t forget to rest. Sounds like you are doing as well as can be expected.

    Virtual hugs to you.

  • Dearest Lisa

    I’m thinking of you and your family right now. I’m hoping that you will have peace in your hearts as you make these difficult decisions together.

    Do take care of yourself too.

    Much love

    SSG xxx

  • Heartfelt wishes to you from the other side of the Atlantic. Nothing prepares us for this.

  • All of my love Dearest L X

  • My heart goes out to you. No easy answers here just know that you are not alone. Sending you and your family much love.

  • Sorry to hear about your mother. My MIL’s car got hit by a train this past week. How she was not killed, or even injured, is a mystery.

  • My father had Alzheimer’s. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I mean it when I say, if I can help, let me know.

  • thinking of you during this sad time.

    my garden has almost saved me during awful times and I hope pottering in yours offers some solace x

  • You see and feel her slipping away. The letting go is very difficult. My thoughts and prayers are of peace for your family. xo

  • This is so very difficult – we have gone through this with all four parents. You never know what will happen, and it is a painful process. Do take care and don’t worry about your readers (especially ones like me who enjoy, but never comments….).

  • “Half yourself in another world” is exactly right. Or at least how I have been as well. No way around it – it’s just so incredibly hard. I have been feeling this way for months, it’s gets better and then worse again. XO

  • Sending hugs.

  • It is so hard
    Thinking of you

  • I’m sorry you have to go through this! Thinking of you!

  • Although you may not be “present in the blogosphere” at the moment, you appear to be very present in your real life.
    Losing your mother is so hard.
    But loud crows. Crows are fabulous creatures.
    Did you know that crows, after they grow up and establish their own nests, go back to visit their parents frequently?
    I feel sad writing this.

  • Sorry to hear that you are going through this rough patch…it is tough and you are wise to pull back and cocoon. Your garden will be a place of tranquility and sitting outside listening to the birds…sounds exactly what you need right now.
    Take care.

  • I’m sorry to read this. But hopefully you at least can feel good that you are taking an active role in helping her instead of a passive, looking the other way role and many people do.
    Hard week for me too as I’m rather helplessly watching a close, treasured person repeatedly hit self destruct. Walking on eggshells trying to help but not hijack a wheel that isn’t mine to steer.
    So I’m reading cookbooks and petting my dog and planning my 4th of July barbecue. You know, the important things.
    Sending my best to you and your family.

  • My goodness, the blog will be here when you have time for it, and so will we. Peace and strength to you and your dear family, and continue to see beauty where you can.

  • No words of wisdom, dearest Lisa, just all my love and support. You have your mother’s strength of spirit and deep compassion, and you will carry her through this, as she has carried you. She knows you are there with her, even as she drifts away.

    Take heart from every flower you plant, every bird call you hear, every breeze rustling through the trees – those are how she is speaking to you now. This is a hard time, with hard decisions to make, but you are your mother’s daughter, and you will do it well.

  • Lisa, I am so sorry. It must be excruciating to have to acknowledge how much that cruel disease has stolen. I am glad that you are finding some moments of peace.

  • I have nothing really to say… Only good thoughts and a hug!

  • I’ve had a shit week too. For different reasons. But staying on topic, my mother was in full-blown dementia by the time she died. She almost died 3 years before that, but she was so bloody minded that she fought through pneumonia, surprising absolutely everyone. We were discussing any further medical intervention (she didn’t have an ‘End of Life Plan), changing flights to stay longer to deal with the inevitable, when lo and behold, she wakes up and asks when she can go shopping. The sibs and I were so spent after 3 consecutive days at her bedside vigil that we bypassed the hospital the next day and went out for a good meal. It left us rocked. Worst thing was, she had no idea of the heartache we’d all just gone through thinking we’d lost her and that this was It. When she did pass 3 years later, it came as such as shock, as we just thought she’d keep going forever. It’s never easy. Ever. She was only 56. Such a shame. But it’s sad no matter how old or who or under what circumstances. It just is. And it’s always a shock, no matter how much you think you’ve prepared yourself. And you do go into solace-seeking-mode with your family and hunker down because it’s a private time and there’s so much involved with losing a loved one. Not too many positives unfortunately. The only positive is that they are at peace, and you realise then how much you and your family mean to each other. My darling sister-in-law was at our sides throughout both times, and I remember the comfort she brought as she took care of what to eat and the beautiful red wine and cheese would emerge is if from the ether at 5pm each day. I dropped everything to ensure I was there to return the favour when her Dad passed 2 years ago.

    When my Granny was 98 and a half years of age, she had been ready to kick off the mortal coil for about 10 years. “I can’t face another winter” she would say. Her heart was strong, so she kept going until one morning, she just went back to sleep and, finally, she didn’t wake up again. No more cold winters. She’d had a hard life. I still miss her.

    Loreena McKennitt whose music is renowned for soothing the soul, sings these words of Shakespeares King Cymbeline. It is a beautiful melody.

    “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
    Nor the furious winter’s rages;
    Thou thy worldly task hast done,
    Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
    Golden lads and girls all must,
    As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

    Love to you and yours at such a time. xxx

  • I know how hard it can be. My mother had dementia for about 20 years till she passed away at 96. Luckily we were able to employ amazing care-givers.

    I also had a tough week as II am now onto supporting the next generation who have to work and bring up small children.

  • First my mother was diagnosed with loss of reality which flowed in full dementia. Unfortunately she resisted to move in assisted living or get care-givers at home.
    Difficult times.
    So my biggest angst is to come down with the same disease.
    I read a study about the consumption of fresh curcuma and quasi non-existing Dementia/Alzheimer in India where curcuma is a daily use in the kitchen. Since then I drink curcuma-ginger tea each day – also good for your aging bones;-).
    No suggestion here, just my way to fight my fear.
    And I don’t do Paleo, Carbs and a wee bit of sugar are neccessary for the brain too!

  • You sound like the type who would not want sympathy- but my thoughts are with you and your mom. Your Christmas post sounded like you were using errands to fill the longing in your heart. Just because it is the time for things to happen does not make them less bittersweet. Blessings to you.

  • I have been through this twice! I AM THINKING OF YOU AND SENDING STRENGTH. This may sound odd; but, it is the only way: look for the beauty in these moments. Ignore everything else. Just focus on how beautiful life really is…

  • I’m sorry that you’re going through such a difficult time right now, Lisa. It’s Not an easy thing to be faced with our parents mortality. And a very hard subject to discuss with them.

    Thinking of you.

  • Lisa, my heart goes out to you. Every day I’ll be sending love and hopes for peace and beauty in your life as your proceed through.

  • Thinking of you… sending many hugs and a good strong cup of Earl Grey.

  • My family is going through the same thing. Sending love and empathy.

  • My father has Alzheimer’s and my mother is very aware of her rapidly progressing dementia, as in the book “Ask Alice” and the movie starring Julianne Moore. You must read Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande.
    There are 3 questions to answer: 1. what is your understanding of the situation and its possible outcomes? 2.) what are your fears, and what are your hopes? what are the tradeoffs you’re willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding? Email me, I’ll give you my numer if you want to talk. I just came in from an occasionally teary walk on the CA central coast. Life can bring us to our knees sometimes. Use this new perspective to see sacredness in all that is happening: Remember, “this too shall pass” and I breath in slowly and fill my lungs with air that is filled with both of my parents, still alive and on the planet now, with me. It will not always be like this. They will not share the pysical earth air with me when they leave their bodies. So I breathe the completeness of my family now.

  • So sorry to hear that you’re having to deal with this. You are wise to take solace in the little things. Be gentle with yourself and may this particularly difficult time ease soon!

  • I’m so sorry to hear this <3

    Am grateful for all you have given me and your other readers. You don't owe us a bit!

    As others have said, please take care of yourself.

  • Very tough situation. I, too, dealt with 6 months of hospice with a loved one. I found taking time for myself strengthened me to deal with the circumstances. Making decisions for our loved ones is one of the most difficult tasks. My thoughts are with you. Susan

  • Dear Lisa,

    Nothing in life prepares us for this. My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. I’m thinking about you and wishing you strength.


  • Both of my parents have been gone for a long time, but my husband lost his mother two years ago, and his father has been in an Alzheimer’s wing of a nursing home for longer than that. It is a long, sad road. He is in a very good place with excellent care, but he no longer recognizes anyone. His health continues to weaken and each illness seems like the end. So far he has rallied, but this past week he has been quarantined with I think some sort viral infection that several other patients have also contracted. It’s just a day at a time thing. I am so sorry you are going through this. You are wise to take time for yourself. Sending good thoughts your way. Peace, love, and light.

  • Sending you good thoughts and vibes of strength dear Lisa. It is so hard, you are stronger than you think. Not that anyone needs to learn how strong she is this way. Your mother is blessed to have a strong capable creative child. you have so many people who love you. Love from Atlanta

  • I’m going through the SAME thing with my MOTHER!

  • Siblings are our parent’s gifts to us. I’m glad you have some good ones.

  • You are in my thoughts. I love your blog and had been missing your voice. I didn’t realize the circumstances…so hard. I just flew to CA with my dad to see his only sister, who is not well. Hard to bear witness but so important. You are a wonderful daughter!!!

  • As with the others, I’m sending big hugs your way Lisa. Don’t worry about blogging. We’ll always be here, so be sure to take care of yourself along the way and stay sturdy.

  • We live in the shelter of each other (Irish proverb I think). Sending love.