Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, February 15, 2010

weekend update

Friday was one of the hardest days of my life. When I went in to wake my mother-in-law to give her her medicine, she didn't recognize me. She had no memory of getting sick and kept wanting to get up to use the bathroom. This went on all day. Then, at night, for a few moments, recognition. I so understand Alzheimer's better now. You lose the person while they are still breathing.

Mom and hubby both love westerns, so I'll use a western phrase. The cavalary arrived. Hubby returned home Saturday morning and his sister arrived that afternoon. After dealing with this alone all week (except for the aides, of course), I was relieved beyond measure.

I understand that this is sacred work--being present for someone as they cross over. But let me tell you, sacred or not, it is damned hard. I imagine it is less difficult for those who work in this field, because there isn't the emotional attachment to the patient that family members have. But the aides have already grown attached to Mom--she's easy to attach to--such a sweet, sweet soul.

When I was a little girl, my father wouldn't let me have any pets because, in his opinion, you'd grow attached to them, then, when they died, you'd be in pain. With his background, I understand his philosophy. But by not getting attached emotionally, you never experience the joy of loving. Is it worth the pain of losing? You bet.



Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

It's always worth it, isn't it?

But still...what an incredibly difficult Friday! You'd almost feel like you're taking care of a stranger--because she didn't remember you. And a willful stranger, trying to do something she didn't need to do! So, so hard.


Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, Karen! I can only imagine what a difficult week it was for you. I used to work in a nursing home when I was in college and I had to do all of the caretaking and it was one of the hardest things I ever did.

Bless you, my friend! Hope this week is easier on you.

Mason Canyon said...

The not remembering part can be very difficult. And unfortunately there's no way and nothing that you can explain that makes them understand. With that said, yes it is worth it in the end. I think we grow as a person because of those attachments we make. Wishing you a smoother week.

Helen Ginger said...

What a blessing this experience is for you, but oh how difficult at the same time. It is so, so hard right now, but there will come a time when you will look back on this as a most wonderful time. I say that from experience.

Straight From Hel

Joanne said...

It must take so much strength, on a deep level, to handle all this, and you seem to be doing so very admirably. Thank you for sharing your journey here with us.

The Old Silly said...

Yeouch that was rough. My Mother-in-law has serious dementia and often doesn't remember me when I visit her. Then other times she recognizes me right away.

Anonymous said...

I help my wife who does private duty home health care, usually for the elderly with dementia or Alzheimers. I've seen first hand what this disease does to people. Its not easy. God Bless you as you minister to her.

Stephen Tremp

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Our family has experienced this when we lost my kid's grandmother to Alzheimers. There are no words.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I so agree with you. A life without forming strong attachments wouldn’t be much of a life at all.

I'm so glad you have some family there to help now. After your last stressful week, I hope you get some much needed rest and relaxation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, your week sounds so hard.
I also agree, I'd rather get attached and love, then not love at all.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I remember way back in my late twenties when my grandmother no longer knew who I was. Since we had been very close through my whole childhood and early adult years, it broke my heart.

Sally said...

I keep you in my prayers... hang in there...

Tabitha Bird said...

Many people have that philosophy. Don't get attached. It'll hurt when they are gone. But I ask, if you are not attached tell me if you have really lived a life? Closed doors to hurt are also closed doors to love and without love is there a life worth living?

Sorry to hear about your Mum. My grandfather passed away last year of this exact thing. Yes. You lose them while they are still with you. That is when they need you to hold the memories they themselves cannot. It is a hard thing to do. My thoughts and prayers are with you :)