Monday, August 3, 2015

Journal Entry

People may think I am a fool.  I have been told as much by a friend, now former friend. Others will think me a saint. Equally untrue. I am just me. I am no saint. I am no fool.

I take care of my mom, spend time with her, love her because I choose it. That choice is rooted in neither saintliness nor foolhardiness. I have chosen it.  I continue to chose it. There is no more to it than that. That choice is sometimes selfish, sometimes duty-bound, but always it is about love. So perhaps the saint/fool proclaimers just don’t understand the choices that love makes.

There are parts of love that are soul-crushingly difficult and love does them anyway. Love finds new ways to be that are expansive. That soul crushing feeling is an illusion. Nothing can crush your soul silly girl. Maybe it’s more like the sermon about passing through the eye of a needle. You push yourself through the bottleneck and are soul birthed into something wider and more expansive. Thoughts and feelings are different, clearer. I am mostly sure that fear of that tight place keeps many people on the other side. Keeps them small and blind like cave fish evolving in the dark to fit their limitations. They create worlds and gods and reasons and all the universe to fit into their small space. I say that without condemnation or judgment. More to describe what held me in the small space.

I am a selfish private creature. I know this about myself. Taking care of my mom, spending time with her, accepting how she is, loving her throughout – those actions shoved me through the bottleneck and I feel capable of truly loving another human being for the first time in my life. Not in the way a child loves the mother, or the mother loves the child. Not in the way of lovers or of friends. I expect nothing. In return, I receive everything.

Every small smackerel of love that felt withheld, that felt a reward for good behavior, that felt a show for looking eyes, that felt tethered with a thousand strings that might yank it away at any moment. None of those exist where we are now.  There is only a wide open field of love before us where we untie and run free. There are a thousand ruby red kisses.  Kisses in the garden, in the hallway, over dinner, snuggled in bed. I am no longer afraid to have people see me kiss her.  We have reached a new level of intimacy, where kissing her on the lips no longer bothers me. In fact, it seems an appropriate way to express how I feel. There are unmandated hand holdings based on her need and my desire to comfort her. There is much touching that comforts us both.

We could not do this thing before Alzheimers racked her brain and destroyed her defenses. Now I cross her Maginot line and I let her cross over mine. Of all the gifts my mother has given me, of all the lessons she has taught me, this one is the greatest and most needed.

This experience that is breaking my brothers is somehow making me whole. I see myself clearly for the first time in a long time, a lifetime. I have all the power here. I could destroy her with a single word. I dreamed those words of comeuppance once, but no more. There is no power, no responsibility. There is only the desire to make her laugh, to sit in quiet communion and watch the bees as they spelunk into the irises. There is time spent doing her nails, her hair hoping she will see herself as beautiful if only for a moment, for once in her lifetime.

Finally, there are the moment snuggled in her bed. Sleepy words on her lips. I wish I could record these words. I fight the urge to spring up for pen and paper to write them down knowing that action would destroy the very moment I wish to capture. Instead, I let them be. In those quiet moments inside the circle of our arms we lie face to face and speak truths that are too profound to record. Truths that seem as if god and all the universe slips into our unguarded mouths and speak directly to me the words I need to hear.

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...