How long does this sadness last?
The text that flashed before my eyes.
No idea. I was on week 12.
Sadness. Our mum the matriarch of the family, her generous nature, beautiful smile and keen sense of humour, physically still here but the eyes dimmed, her smile and humour are AWOL. The sadness is here. Dementia is present. We mourn our mum and a loving wife. Her personality her humour, her love of cream cakes and the passion for her family. That part has gone, we still love her – love is unconditional. But we mourn as we try to get to know her new personality, her new ways and her new found vocabulary dropping the F bomb at an alarming rate. Shocking at first and funny, but not mums style, it is sad. Sadness is here.
Chaos was all around, preparing for a short break with the kids. The kids were excited as they headed to the car. Mitch was loading the car with dogs, snacks and excitement. I was sweeping the floors. (I like to come home to a clean house)
It hit me. The Sadness was here.
Like a bolt out of the blue, there I was sweeping the floor and realised that Mum hadn’t called to say “have a nice time, don’t forget to ring when you get there”. I shouldn’t have expected the call as mum had forgotten how to use the phone over the last couple of weeks or so and her calls to me had ceased. In all honesty the calls had dwindled over the past 5 months.
I don’t know why it hit me so brutally that day, probably because deep down in my let’s pretend none of this is happening mode I knew when we returned in a week’s time we had “that” meeting with the social worker, to discuss a care and support package for mum.
So the holiday came and went. It was blustery, it was wet and it was also sunny. The scenery was breath-taking evidence above, the funs stars were fun and we had a nice time, a nice time with sadness loitering always loitering.
The meeting day arrived and the social worker was wonderful, she was so kind to Mum and Dad, so understanding as our tears flowed. She was fast acting when Dad the stalwart of the family, broke down and admitted he couldn’t take anymore. Sadness and desperation was there. It is more than sad seeing your Dad a husband of 65 years collapsed unable to speak and take any more, physically and emotionally exhausted. We had tried we had slept over on several occasions to give Dad a break. I had been there virtually every day to take some of the load off for Dad and help out. We had lots of laughs we had trying times and we had emotional times. But now it was just too much. Too much to deal with, too much stress, too much heartache and too much sadness.
That day was tough, actually a breeze compared to this now this was devastating. We had to escort mum to emergency respite care to give Dad a break. Mum hasn’t cried since her younger sister had died five years earlier. But now she cried, she wailed and showed us her sadness.
It should have been for just one week or maybe two. However it soon became apparent it was just too much for an octogenarian who had been dealing with much more than he had shared. The realisation was that she could no longer be cared for at home, night carers were not on offer or an option.
Dad was ill for the first week, exhaustion, relief and sadness. Week two came and went.
It is now week 10. Sadness is still here, the mourning is present and we are still awaiting that room in the nursing home. Desperation is back.
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