What makes one day harder than the next during the grieving process?
I have thought about that frequently lately, both about myself, and while watching other people. Yesterday was a VERY HARD day for me. Aside from the time spent beside Patty, and even then sometimes, I had trouble stopping the flow of tears, for much of the morning and afternoon.
Although she was a little weaker yesterday, not much had changed as far as her illness went…at least what you could see outwardly. So what made the difference in my composure??
I haven't been sleeping well, despite my Benadryl and wine consumption in the evening. My stress levels have risen naturally, while trying to gingerly calm my dad during his moments of panic, and during his breakdowns which happen as randomly as my own. I withstand his empty demands, and sometimes harsh words, because I know he's hurting…but so am I.
I wonder if its the lack of sleep that causes one to become off balance…or the constant stress. Or is it the overwhelming sadness on its own. Does a rainy day make it worse? Do other people's tears drudge up our own? Is it just the right words being said by the right person for you to accept the reality of what's happening?….Or is it just a heart felt hug, from a person who loves you so much, that they can physically feel your own heart ache?
I suppose its a little piece of each of those things.
Yesterday Patty was awake for most of the morning, though she had become more anxious and confused. She was constantly fixing her blankets…folding and unfolding. She was tidying her bed stand, and she was picking at anything she could reach. My dad got little sleep, due to her fidgeting for most of the night.
I traded him places in the morning. For awhile, I just laid there watching TV with her, as she fiddled with her blankets. Every once in awhile, she would turn to look at me with surprise in her eyes. She would smile and say part of a sentence, that I was easily able to interpret. She couldn't believe I had come to visit her. Several times as I sat there, she became surprised again. I smiled when she did, and became amused at the most simple, but wonderful gift I had given her…the same one, in fact, every day or every moment I was here.
Later, after the visiting nurse came to pester her, she was calm. She allowed me to shave her legs, and then lotion her legs and feet. Several times I had to remind her what I was doing, because she had forgotten. Her legs are weak, and it hurts to move them, but she did as I asked……and even complained that my hands were cold.
She washed her face, and brushed her teeth, for what seemed to be ten minutes. I told her that she DEFINATELY met the dental requirement for the appropriate number of minutes of teeth brushing:). I rinsed the sticky tape off of her arms and lotioned them up. She rolled back and forth on the bed, so I could change her sheets, and she allowed me to help her change her gown. I spilled the bucket of water, and she laughed out loud. This laugh made me smile…. and even more so, when she was staring at me with eyes that said “Are you going to clean that up”?…….Always a mother:)
After I got her nestled back in, she looked tired, and her eyes were heavy. I turned on a show for her, and I just cuddled up beside her. I honestly was so tired myself. We slept for a moment side by side.
After I awoke, I went outside to be alone….and I sobbed for a long while. What brought it on? I wasn't sure, but I could not get a grip on myself.
I was tired and stressed to begin with, but then shortly thereafter, I got that hug from someone who loves me deeply. Then even later, I told the story of the strange man I hugged in that elevator. I explained to a heartbroken visitor that while God is stabbing a dagger deep into our hearts, he is also offering small gifts along the way to ease the pain….if only we choose to notice them. We all cried together……
On top of all of this, my moment with my mama P, on this particular morning, had become so essential. Though she will most likely never realize the importance of the moment she let me tend to her, that moment was needed for me. It was the least I could do for her…. I wish I could do so much more. This moment made me cry for her autonomy, cry for her pain, and cry about the aching in my heart while watching her ailing like this.
While yesterday had the recipe for tears, today I feel stronger. Honestly, I hope today I can take a rest from some tears. You see, the dark circles under my eyes have started to form baggedy hanging sacs. Each time I wipe my eyes, the sacs get looser, and about a week ago, that bag started to resemble a skin tag. This week, It looks like a for sure skin tag, and is staring to resemble a wenis, which is the technical term used for the extra skin that hangs off of your elbow. 🙂
So raise your glass to toast a tear free day….and if that doesn't happen, toast the company that makes Preparation H, because their stock is about to go up:):):
This is a picture of her, when she was in the hospital…which she isn't now! However, I love this picture because number 1: She loves dogs…and number 2: I love that smile 🙂