On Mom's House: Insurance check has been cut. Assistance in cleaning Mom's house—all of it—out has been hired, by someone I can trust to lurk through her belongings with me. Garbage will be pitched, the good loot will be sold at a garage sale, and the sentimental and necessary stuff will find an organized space.
On Mom's Condition: I do need to share with you that my mother isn't walking around the house bonking into walls. Although her condition does deteriorate, she can carry on a conversation, express desire to go shopping, see her sister, get out of the house. She still reads the newspaper every day, and loves giving me the weather report. She giggles when I call her the Weather Lady, and ask her if it's going to rain. Though working a few extra hours a day with her wears me out sometime, she's a great lady, and she deserves those hours.
On Alzheimer's: I am pursuing Alzheimer's support group, and assistance from local senior services.
On Teri: I talk to her every day, and she says she's "feeling pretty good." Pain patches have left her feeling better, and surgery a few weeks ago prevents her constant vomiting. She's eating better, albeit has to skip the steak dinner. She has friends and family galore in her house every day. I take Mom to see her a couple times a week.
And, because so many of you are worried about me: I AM taking care of myself, although I sometimes wonder what you want me to do, when you tell me to do that. For the record, here's what I do, for myself:
- Sleep early. Though I claim insomnia, my kneejerk response to stress is sleep. One Advil PM keeps me sleeping so soundly that I do not wake during the night, and am rested in the morning.
- I have a glass of wine. Or I do not dare, and stick to water and club soda. On those toughity-tough days, I don't go near alcohol.
- I roll with my emotions, and when I have a minute, I do whatever the hell I want. Last week, housework was NOT it. Having my house undone usually grates on me, but I decided it was worth the tradeoff.
- I get pedicures. I'm fascinated at how little pink toenails lift my spirits. I think "that's pretty darned shallow" and then I think "who the hell cares?"
- I accept invititations. I appreciate that lunch or dinner out, or the offer to meet for coffee or a beer. Mostly, I appreciate your willingness to listen to me talk...and talk and talk. I'm surprised at what all I can blurp out in a long lunch.
- I turn down invitations. If I'm busy, can't make it or, just don't feel like it, I won't be there, and I don't feel bad, and I'm not apologizing. I appreciate your trusting me on this, understanding that things are hectic, and not taking my rejection personally or lecturing me about it.
- I silence my mind. I strive to simplify, and yet to be more decisive, so that I can make fewer decisions. If I cannot decide what to cook for dinner, I decide just not to cook at all. Problem solved.
- If I want to, I cry.
- If I want to, I laugh.
- I buy myself flowers, call my sister whenever I want to, drop in on friends, call Clint at work as much as I feel like it.
Some of you have expressed that you feel that you make such small gestures. My response to this is that there is no gesture that you can make that will make all of this crap right. In times this tough, for me, for my sister, for anyone rattling down a rocky road, there can only be small gestures.
I appreciate yours immensely.