I cannot eat. I can barely sleep, except for the lethargic attempts on my couch after work yesterday. I don’t even know where the hours went. I just know I didn’t care about anything except being alone and hiding from the world. I sit here again, this morning, in my office staring at this screen, hoping against hope that no one will ask anything of me today, as I do not have the presence of mind for it, nor the physical ability. I feel completely paralyzed.
I almost expected to find that this morning my father had suffocated my mother during the night and then killed himself. She is leaving us at a rapid pace and the chaos that has come into their lives – after so many years of my father’s insistence on privacy and not accepting help – has changed everything. He is fighting with everyone about this. He does not understand what she needs or he thinks one of us should be able to do it for him. But we do not have the skills, we do not have the ability to leave our jobs, we do not have the emotional barriers against the loss facing us, to be able to do any more than we already are. And he hates us all, right now.
His cracks are showing. As if he were a Roman sculpture that has a fissure and slowly the line is spreading all over his polished demeanor. He loathes the interference in his life. His hatred may outweigh his love for the woman who cared for him for almost 60 years.
We all understand the pain, the grief. We are all dealing with it. But we are dealing with it – with making sure she is getting the best care she can, even as he continually attempts to undermine it all – trying to fire the nurses, refusing to disclose finances to see if he can even afford her care, or if we will have to sell the only place that I considered home. If we do, someone else will get it. Perhaps they will enjoy it as much as we have throughout our lives. Perhaps they will split it into plots and destroy the beauty of almost 20 acres of pristine nature. Anything is possible.
It’s what fades away that hurts the most. I have a tattoo on my shoulder of that place. I was married there. I buried my husband’s ashes, those I had left after taking him to different places around the world, there. My favorite dog’s ashes are buried beside him. If we lose this place, we lose so much of our history. So many years of happy memories – some of the only ones we have as a family.
But he is falling. I know this, because I am in that spiral. I am going down the rabbit hole of grief, sadness, loss. I do not know how long my mother has; I do not know if and when I will ever be able to speak with her again; and I do not know if she will remember who I am. She gave me everything. And now I have nothing for her. Except tears.
As I sat alone the other night, I thought about her brain and mine. We both have very different diseases, and yet both make us see the world through our own lenses, our own reality. Mine hasn’t been in line with others’ versions for over two decades, when this disease beat me into submission. Her’s has only started re-calibrating what she experiences recently, but the decent is tremendously fast and frightening. It’s as if the roller coaster reached the top of the first drop, and we’re all just waiting for the plunge into hell.
And hell is knocking. Every day. The demons are outside the door looking for a way in. For all of us. I always used to wonder if it was harder to lose someone suddenly – as I did my husband – or watch them die slowly, but with time to say goodbye and be grateful when they are out of pain. I know now that neither is better. Both suck. Death is torture, whether it comes in quickly or takes its leisure. It steals things from us we can never get back. It robs us of life – a life that may not be our own, but still a life that is important to who we are.
All I want from death right now is to take me. The world and this pain are too heavy a weight to bear.
© Sorrow & Kindness