Wednesday, February 29, 2012

They Live On: Just Take Her

I am a horrible child. I sometimes wish death on my mother. No, I don't really want my mother to die. But this person who looks like my mother isn't really my mother anymore. And she doesn't even really look like my mother anymore. She has gotten older and has that blissful look of ignorance on her face now.

And it's not that she is ignorant. My mother was one of the smartest people that I ever knew. But this awful disease has been eating away at her brain. And as I have said a hundred times, she really has been the lucky one over the past year, not having to deal outright with my father's death. And she also seems to be having a lot more fun. My mom is definitely much sillier than she used to be.

But I know this isn't going to last very long. The disease is rapidly progressing. She doesn't necessarily know me when she talks to me anymore. She has regressed in a lot of her personal care, though she is still pretty independent. But she never wanted to be like this. Her mother had Alzheimer's and died when I was nine years old. For as long as I can remember, my mother dreaded the day that the disease would take over her life. And she literally fought its onset, kicking and screaming.

As she got worse, I never wished her any harm. But I actually looked forward to the day that she ran away from home, simply to expedite the process of getting her some help. We fought so many battles and hit so many roadblocks as we tried to get her the help that she so desperately needed.

People thought I was horrible for thinking these thoughts. You may also think so. But she ran away and she finally got the help she needed. Yes, the process also indirectly cost my father his life as he fell and hit his head as he was out and about getting the proper paperwork. But his health was poor enough that it would have happened to him sooner or later.

Like I said before, I also prayed for my father to finally go. I remember coming to visit him after being back in New York for three weeks to wrap up year-end parent-teacher conferences. I called the LTAC almost every day for an update. That weekend that I returned was Memorial Day weekend. I got there Friday night and went up to the hospital to visit him on Saturday. They had him sitting up in a chair. He was in so much pain, that he was clawing at the armrests, trying to stand up so that he could get back into bed. His eyes were not open - and hadn't been for six weeks. But they were pinched together in such pain. When I had arrived, I was expecting to find him in a better place. My first thought was, "I can't do this to him anymore." It wasn't right.

As the author of They Live On says in this chapter, you just want the healing to come. You would prefer that the healing would happen, instead. But sometimes it just can't happen here on Earth.

This book is also available from Yesterday's Muse.

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