The whole world fades to nothing when a family member is dying, and as the clock starts moving at an impossible speed towards the end, the more exhausted you and the other caretakers are, the more terrified you are, and the more frustrated you are. Then for her, the one actually dying from a disease that she cannot understand because dementia has taken away her ability to hold conversations, to use words that make sense, to say what's going through her mind without getting frustrated it's so much harder. Pain, hallucinations, distress, it's all a terrible guessing game with the hope that you've given her the right medications in the right order so that she is suffering as little as possible, because there is no cure. People around us are starting to help in wonderful ways, sending food, cards, coming to visit, the generosity has been overwhelming and beautiful.
For me, it's hard, I'm a loner, so the constant revolving door of people has been exhausting, because I have to show up. I was taught to show up by some very important people in my life, and now I do. I do wish that I could really give a person who doesn't live with this every day a glimpse into what it's really like, because it's terrible, death is all about the living, but the dying process is painful for both the caretakers and the person who is terminally ill. There is no way to explain to someone what it's like to hold your breath every time you walk into her room because you are afraid you will find her not breathing, gone, or you're afraid to find her still breathing because she's in so much pain both physically and mentally. That kind of cognitive dissonance brings to me at least the kind of guilt that is tearing me apart a little. There's no way to explain the ice pick to the heart that is a very kind "you're a nice girl, thank you" after helping her back to bed, knowing she's got no clue who you are.
Also people keep sending fucking flowers. My. House. Smells. Like. A. Funeral. Home. At least send a potted plant (which if I'm being honest I probably wouldn't be able to keep alive either but still), flowers just die in that droopy sickly sweet manner which is so depressing, and we have enough depressing around here right now.
My grandmother received the sacrament of the sick last weekend, I am not a person who has any faith, but me, my mother, my aunt, and one of my cousins sat around her holding hands while her favorite priest Father Jim prayed with us and sang us a beautiful Irish blessing. I saw a weight lift off my grandmother, and even though the rest of us were crying, she was at peace in that moment. I haven't seen my grandmother so happy in a long time. I think the idea that she may not have time, even though she does, had gotten into her head and once that bit of important piece of business had been taken care of she could relax a little bit.
It was beautiful, it is beautiful to have faith in the way that my grandmother has, in the way that she knows she is going to see her husband who she's missed for nearly 20 years, that she is most looking forward to meeting St. Mary, because St. Mary was there when she flatlined in the hospital room waiting with open arms, even though that wasn't her time then.
Now it almost is, and I don't know how to come to terms with that, I don't think I will, but I'm most at peace because she is at peace, at least with her god which I know is so important to her. Probably not with the rest of us because she's not a fan of taking her meds, but who is?
Anyway, I just wanted to give an update. To be honest this is not for my readers (reader?) really, it's for me, because the only way I know how to process is through art, and since I'm not making anything right now except a very tedious gemstone poppy plant (think paint by numbers but with sparkly stuff), I'm going to write.