Since March the world has settled into a new rhythm.
Five and a half months in, I have grown use to the new pace. I do wonder how much of my old routine I will even want back when the pandemic is over.
Tuesdays is staff meeting day. Since our offices at the church are still not officially open, we meet by Zoom. A few staff members, including my daughter, vid in from the church office. I work from home.
So the rhythm for this day is: rise by 6 or 7, walk the dogs, pray, write the morning blogs, exercise, go to the store for mom’s daily supplies (papers, scratchies and cigs), then it is back home and with any time left before staff meeting I study and pray a bit more.
In answer to the question you may have asked in the last paragraph, yes Mom smokes. She has for almost 60 years. Stopping at 85 would probably kill her. She has no wish to stop and I really have no wish to fight that battle.
To be honest smoking is one of the few things Mom enjoys now. Dementia has stolen from her the ability to be comfortable away from the house. She gets very nervous even going outside now because it is too confusing.
She likes her living room, her TV (The Hallmark channel almost exclusively), her newspapers with the crosswords, and suduko (which amazingly she can still do), the daily comics, which after she has read, she likes to color…AND she likes her cigarettes.
Her doctor has tried to get her to quit, even using the argument that it will lengthen her life. That argument does not work because Mom has no wish to lengthen her life here, She is beyond ready to move beyond and is, as the saying goes, “Waiting on God”.
I have to say being the child of a parent who is fighting the battle with dementia can be confusing and difficult. As we lose mom…as she loses herself by inches to this disease we are caught between the two ideas of losing her to death or losing her to dementia. Part of me wants to have her stay with us in any condition because I do not want her to go. Another part of me doesn’t want her to suffer the ravages of this horrible disease. Both mindsets come and go, and both of them feel selfish in turn.
one of the reasons I love the pandemic rhythm is it has given all of us here at The Vicarage precious time to be together. To sit together. To watch TV together…. and it has given us time to talk, even if we do answer the same questions over and over, even if some of what is said is just silly.
Tonight after I had finished a remote sustainability seminar put on by a local resource group, I came down to sit with Mom, Brenda and Amanda. We were having a discussion about gall bladders….yes…. gall bladders.
Here is how it went in my daughter’s words
Convo with grandma…
Me: grandma do you still have your gallbladder?
Aunt Brenda: when did you lose your gallbladder
Grandma: I didn’t lose it…
Aunt Brenda: what do you…
Grandma: *interrupting aunt Brenda*… it got cut out
Everyone silent for a beat…then busts out laughing.
This new rhythm is perhaps the most massive lifestyle change I have experienced since my divorce. It has been hard and uncomfortable Honestly, though, I never want to go back to normal if I can keep having conversations with Mom about gall bladders.
Well i have blathered on long enough tonight. So I will sign off here saying….
I am looking forward to tomorrow dear friends