Dorothy is on the downhill slide- and there is no way to tell when she will hit the end of this life. She continues to spend her days helping those around her however she can- with positive energy and mostly happy. She lives in her own world, when she was about 6 or 8. She is stuck there. She does not talk about her children or her grandchildren ( with the rare exception of asking about Jessica and the boys). She thinks I am her sister whenever I go see her and she wonders why I have come to see her. She talks about Pappy and how funny and smart he is and how he will always take the time to help her- unlike Granny- who makes her figure it out for herself. She wonders where her aunts and uncles are and all the children. When I take her outside she talks about not understanding why Granny & Pappy bought such a huge house. She wonders where the cows and the garden is. She talks about her day at school and the school bus ride home. She talks about whatever is on her brain at that moment.
It’s surprising to me that listening to her stories that have a beginning, a plot and an ending- that if I did not know her I would think she was just a little old lady telling something that happened in her life and she is perfectly normal. She sounds natural- she can come up with all the words to form a sentence that can make you believe it just happened. She can go on about a friend of hers who just had another baby and the father is thinking of taking the older kids and leaving her. He has no intention of raising another baby. I’m certain that if a writer would come and visit her for a few days in a row- they would have enough material for at least a 5 year soap opera.
I still sit and listen, agree, ask questions and sometimes give her names of people she is searching for. I laugh sometimes and sometimes I look at her and wonder what the heck is going on with this disease. Does she know all that she accomplished in her life?
For me-it is not getting any easier- it’s just that my scab is so thick that it is going to take a long time for me to heal. The other day she looked at me and knew who I was – she was very serious when she told me that I had gotten old and why did I let all those wrinkles get on my face. She proceeded to count them- out-loud! LOL One by one looking very intently at me as to not miss any. She stopped at fifteen and said “Cheryl- that’s only just from your eye to your mouth”.
All I could do was laugh and say, well – I must have over 100 if you count my entire face. She did not laugh-but looked very concerned and said- How did you get so old. BAHABAHABAHA!!!!!! not something a daughter wants to hear- especially when they look in the mirror themselves and ask- when did I start looking like my mother and when did I get all these wrinkles.
It’s been a struggle for me this summer with Dorothy- watching her steady decline. She complains of her legs hurting more often, her eyes are failing her- both in seeing and the dullness in them now, they are no longer bright lights. Her balance is worse and she either refuses or doesn’t remember to use the walker. She fell again this week. No broken bones- no sign of bruises, but I’m sure her body aches from hitting the cold, hard floor.
I truly believe this will be her end. Falling and breaking a leg, arm or hip. Her wishes state to do nothing to keep her alive. This has been tough to accept- but I am finally there. So, we- will honor her wishes and let the morphine drip keep her comfortable until she goes home -whenever that may be.
In the meantime, I will continue to be her advocate, helper, listener and her sister or daughter – whoever she thinks I need to be in the moment.
Stay strong and do only what you can do. There is a limit for all of us. And remember you are not alone.
Not Alone Anymore – Traveling Wilburys
Peace & Love,