My Brain is on Auto-Pilot

As I’ve mentioned many times in my posts, care-giving is exhausting.  Add the autism into it and it is more than exhausting, it is mind-numbing.  Lately, I seemed to have entered an interesting phase in this journey I am on of looking after Mom.

I suppose you might say I have resorted to putting my brain on auto-pilot to manage day by day.  I know exactly what I have to do to look after Mom first thing in the morning, throughout the day and in the evening when getting her ready for bed.  It’s like a mathematical formula that just repeats itself day in and day out.  My mind also knows to check for what we need in groceries, what medications I need to renew, to do the laundry when the pile gets quite high, to get Mom’s glucernas when she is running low, to feed the cats, to take out the garbage and so on.  Routine, Routine, Routine….

This is all pretty normal but what’s changed is the times that I am not in routine.  I used to work on projects like making my greeting cards, tidying, sorting, doing various crafts, reading, doing my budget and so on.  Now my blank times are just that – blank.  I sit and rock, I doze, I sit and hum, I sit, I sit some more and some more…   And most of the time my mind is blank.  Like it has turned itself off.  Even doing this blog is very difficult and I am forcing myself to think to write.  I have a speech to write for later this month.  I can’t get started.  My brain is out of gas.  My tank is empty.  And there is no gas station for miles around.  I am stranded in this land of blankness.  I forget to look after myself,  I forget to shower, to brush my hair ( I think it has been 4 days since  I brushed my hair – thank goodness for winter and hats.)  I forget to eat and if I do eat, I eat junk food.  Gone is the healthy diet I was on for the past couple of years.  Sometimes I wear my clothes to bed too tired to change.  Sometimes I’m too tired to go to bed and sleep in my chair.  And then pair that with nights when I am zinging and I stay up all night.

Emotions elude me at times.  I don’t feel sad or angry or happy.  I just feel nothing.  I just move through  the day doing what I have to to keep Mom in the best of care.  I must renege a bit here.  Yes, there are times that emotions elude me but there are also times when my emotions gush out of me like mighty torrents of raging waters and I am unable to control them. And it usually over something very trivial.  The other day I  wrote a letter to someone and I had spent a month trying to figure out what to say and just how to say it.  I got it written and was happy with it and saved it and closed my laptop.  Later I went to print it off and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  It was just gone!  You would have thought the world was about to end.  I cried, I wailed, I screamed.  I even felt I was so upset that I would need to go into the hospital and told my doctor so.  But I don’t have the luxury of copping out.  Who would look after Mom??  I have to go on no matter what.  This story does have a happy ending because when I calmed down enough I got myself together and took my laptop to a computer place and for $11.56 I was able to retrieve my letter.  I told the technician that if I had a million dollars I would give it all to him.  I was that happy.

I guess when you don’t have the luxury of copping out and you are in need of a break your mind just tells you it’s going on break whether you like it or not.  And I believe that is exactly what my mind has done.  It’s taking it’s own holiday without me.  How rude!   And it’s just hit the auto-pilot button so I can continue doing what I have been doing.

It’s not that bad really.  I’m not in pain, I’m not suffering much at all.  Being in a blank state is actually quite nice.  You just don’t get much done except the bare necessities.  But maybe that is just where I have to be right now until my brain decides it has had enough of a holiday and wants to come home.

Meanwhile, I’ll just continue to sit and veg and sit and rock and sit and hum and sit and sleep and best of all sit and pet my cats when they take advantage of me being in one place for a while.  Nothing better than petting a cat for your brain on a holiday.

So life is kind of on hold right now.  I don’t go out much.  I don’t do much.  I don’t have the energy to see my friends.  I am not able to read much.  I’m in limbo, in this weird state of mind and I don’t know how long it will last.  I guess I just go with it.  As long as I can take care of Mom I don’t care about me.  I have survived much worse.  I will survive this.

Did I Happen to mention how Exhausted I Am?

I think one thing that unites all caregivers, whether autistic or not, is the experience of feeling extreme exhaustion.  Being a caregiver to a loved one is very exhausting work both emotionally and physically but especially emotionally.  The daily toll on your body and mind is like a giant vacuum that just sucks all the energy out of you and replaces it with an emptiness, a numbness of emotions and your body goes into auto  pilot.

Being autistic, I am always exhausted.  Dealing with the daily tasks of just living takes just about everything I have in me.  Dealing with people, overload of sensory input of traffic, lights, noise, etc etc puts me in a state of exhaustion so deep each day that it takes hours to recover.  So add in the caring for your elderly mother 24/7 and the exhaustion multiplies tenfold at least.

I feel like most days I am a walking zombie,  I can’t focus, I can’t remember things I should, I can’t get ordinary daily tasks done.  Brushing my hair seems overwhelming,  loading the dishwasher seems overwhelming,  writing this blog seems overwhelming.  And then if you add in a change or a minor crisis or even a major crisis it can be enough to begin screaming in your head.  On the outside,  you gotta keep going.  You are the caretaker,  you are relied on, you are the lifeline of the one you care for.  Without you they would be in dire straits.  Especially like me when I am the sole caretaker.

I used to chuckle when my father was alive and he would be reading the newspaper – a favourite activity.  Invariably,  the newspaper would start to crumple and Dad’s head would wobble and then droop down.  He was falling asleep.  As I watched suddenly the paper would straighten and his head would whip back up and he would look around sheepishly as I laughed at him.  This would happen over and over and is a favourite funny memory of my Dad.  Well, although I never thought it would happen,  I am beginning to take after my Dad in this area.  I will be in my easy chair and the next thing I am waking up an  hour later!  But I must admit that nothing wakes me up faster than falling asleep with a hot cup of tea in my hand.  When that tea spills over into your lap,  you are alert instantly!!  This has happened to me a number of times over the last year.  I don’t recommend it no matter how much you want to be alert!!

Some evenings I can’t stay awake to get Mom ready for bed at 9:30pm.  I have learned that I need to just set my alarm and then go to sleep for the evening.  Fighting the exhaustion is a losing battle so you just gotta find ways to get around it.

So what do we do with this exhaustion??  It’s a given when you are a caregiver.  It’s not going to go away, in fact, it will probably just keep getting worse.  Well,  I am told I have to take good care of myself ( which I am not very good at).  Eat well, get enough sleep at night, take time for yourself, exercise are a few things you can do.  I personally take lots of cat naps even for just 10 min. or so.  I sit in my chair with my blanket wrapped around me and just veg for an  hour.  I do my art.  I go shopping ( my autistic form of wandering).  I also turn to my faith for strength.  I believe God gave me the job to look after my Mom and when God gives you a job He will provide all that you need to do that job.  I can be so exhausted but I seem to be able to get what needs to be done done.  I have never in the last 4 years my Mom has been living with me not been able to attend to her needs.  I always have some reserve that rises to the top to get me through and I attribute that to my faith.

The other thing we need to do to deal with the exhaustion is rely on others whether they be friends, family or community supports.  I am not very good at this I am told.  I am very independent and like to do things myself.  I have trouble with PSWs coming and going from my home.  I am very particular about the way things are to be done.  Often it is less stressful to do something myself than to allow someone else to do it.  BUT…. in order to keep going in this struggle we have to relinquish some of our determination to handle every thing ourselves and allow others to help.  I think this is one of the most difficult things I have had to learn in this journey and I still have a long way to go.

So I know the exhaustion is here to stay.  It’s just a matter of managing it well enough so we do not lose touch with our job as caregiver and the fact that we are our loved one’s lifeline.   We’ve got to stay afloat and be that lifeline in the best way possible.  It’s a very trusting responsibility, one we can never take lightly.

I think I need to take a tip from my cats.  They cat nap all day long and I need to do the same when I get the chance – just not with a hot cup of tea in my hand!

A Dreaded S-word!

OK, so I know what some of you might be thinking after listening to the weather report tonight but the dreaded S word is NOT SNOW!!!   Wish it was though, it would be a lot easier to handle than my S word.  STRESS!!  It’s actually got 3 S’s in it just to get the point across loud and clear!

STRESS – my main bugbear when it comes to being a caretaker of my elderly mom.  Every part of my being is stressed.  My body, my mind, my very soul.

My joints have started aching again after several years of very little pain.  I feel sick most of the time.  I have headaches nearly every day.  I clench my teeth, grind my teeth and tap my teeth together making a clicking sound.  I pace.  My restless leg syndrome is in high gear making life miserable.  I get every bug around it seems and they settle into my system for the long term just rearing their ugly head every couple of weeks or so after I think I am free of it.  Perhaps the most persistent and deep symptom is the exhaustion that permeates every part of me and never leaves.  It just gets worse or worser ( I know that is not a word but I’m going to take writer’s liberty here)- never better.  It just seeps into me like a tea bag left in a mug of hot water for ages.  It gets stronger and stronger.  I sit down to read a book or drink my tea and wake up 2 hours later.  For the life of me, I don’t even remember feeling sleepy.  Noise bothers me more,  going to the mall is too much sensory overload now. ( that’s a good thing – less spending I hope)  Smells of all kinds are overpowering and too much light overwhelms me.  People overwhelm me.  The stress of having PSW’s coming and going and the nurse coming and constant assessments being redone on Mom  just makes my head spin.

Emotionally,  the stress of looking after mom is debilitating.  It is eating away at me everyday and more and more of me is consumed by everything from remembering to give mom her pills to doing the laundry to changing appointments to even changing lightbulbs.  Tonight I came home from work to find that the light in the bathroom was out – the one that Mom uses only.  We leave the light on at night for Mom to see cause the hall light is too bright.  I panicked and immediately wanted to crumple to the floor and cry and cry.  Too much.  Too much.  After a couple of hours of thinking about it and knowing I had to do something about it before us going to bed, I went and looked in my stash of light bulbs, praying that the right kind would be there.  IT WAS!!  The bathroom light is now on and a major meltdown has been averted.

Sounds silly but that’s the effects of all the stress on me.  I guess perhaps the most costly stress is the fear of losing Mom in the future sometime.  I think I get used to the idea of losing her and am resigned to it and then some little thing like Mom having a bad day will put me into panic mode again.  One of the things that all this stress has created is a compulsion for me to buy things – anything.  I just want to buy, buy, buy.  It’s like LOSS is an actual entity creeping towards me over a hill and I see it coming and I grab every THING I can buy, find, and gather them around me to protect me from the LOSS.  Unfortunately,  this has put me in a very precarious financial situation.  But what do I do??  I can’t seem to stop.  We as those with autism love our things and for me that is what I go to instead of people.  I am stumped as to what to do and this causes just as much stress as the stress of losing Mom.

So there are layers and layers of stress all piling up on one another, weighing me down more and more till I feel I will be crushed under the weight.

And then….and then….  I noticed my cat today looking a lot thinner.  I believe he has lost quite a bit of weight.  And he is always licking himself and he goes and hides to sleep.  And he cries when I go out and even if I go upstairs and he is still downstairs.  MY CATS ARE STRESSED!  Both of my cats are showing signs of being very stressed.  What do I do about THAT?  If something happens to one of my cats that will be the last straw.  I can’t bear to lose one of them right now.

What am I doing to help with the stress??  Well, a number of things but they just seem to take the edge off for a short while just enough so I can still function each day.  I take medication, I spend lots of time rocking in my easy chair or swinging in my hammock chair in my bedroom.  I drink tea,  I go out with my friends ( one at a time).  I see my wonderful grief counselor, I talk to my psychiatrist, I sleep, I go for walks and do some photography, I cry, I scream, and most of all I rest in my great God who I know will see me through this despite all this stress.  God has an S word too.  His word is SUFFICIENT.  In the bible it says,  “My grace is SUFFICIENT for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I read this every day.  It is my secret source of strength (SSS) and the ONLY way I get through each day.  God is my ENOUGH when everything else is lacking.  When my bank account is empty God is sufficient,  when my energy tank is empty God is sufficient,  and when my ability to handle the stress in my life is at empty God is sufficient.  God didn’t say life would be easy but he said he would be there for us.  God has given me the job of looking after my Mom so I have to believe he will give me what I need to do the job.  He promises he will and I trust in that.

I’m in Hyper-Alert Once Again!

Hyper – alert – my default setting when anything changes with Mom and the last week or so things have been declining once again.  She had to have a chest x-ray because of more coughing and bringing up lots of phlegm.  They want to rule out pneumonia.  Yesterday she went to the bathroom and was short of breath significantly for at least an hour afterwards.  Not good.   Then the last two days her feet and ankles and up her legs have swollen significantly – much more than they ever have before.  Not good.   Tonight, since she sleeps in her easy chair a lot of the night, we moved the chair out from the wall so she could use the foot rest to have her feet up.  She did not understand she could not lean forward or else the chair would tip which is exactly what it did when she tried to turn  the light out.  So she was on the floor unable to get up.  I sat there calm as a cucumber on the outside trying to figure out what to do so we would not have to phone the paramedics to  come and get her up – on the inside I am screaming out to God to help us through this.  She was finally able to get up but I cannot be sure she will remember she can’t lean forward without first putting down the foot rest.  I will be up for another few hours unable to settle in case she falls again.  A long night ahead.  I will probably be on hyper – alert setting for a few days until hopefully things settle into a more regular routine again.  For how long I don’t know.  Things seem to be changing more quickly lately.  Dealing with the constant changes is one of the hardest aspects of looking after Mom.  Change and me just don’t get along at all.  Living with uncertainty all the time exhausts me to no end.  I used to tease my Dad when he would nod off to sleep while reading the paper.  Now I know what it is like to be awake one minute and then find out you’ve been asleep an hour.  It discombobulates me – I feel I am losing control.  When I am too tired to shop you know I am beyond tired.  That’s where i am now.  But it’s funny – this tired business.  If I tried to lay down and have a nap I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep – that hyper-alert setting would override my ability to go to sleep.  It’s like sleep has to catch me by surprise – with out me knowing.  Well, might as well go do something useful.  I’ll be up for awhile.  Maybe a cup of tea – decaffinated of course.

Recalculating!

Lately, on TV, there is a car commercial that keeps repeating the word “recalculating”.  As I heard it being repeated I sudddenly realized that this word sums up my life these days.

When you are dealing with someone in palliative care there is no constant state, it is forever changing and usually not for the better.  At least not in the long run.  The thing is – my Mom may seem like she is on the way out one day and then she wakes up all cheery and fine the next morning.  Meanwhile I have spent an agonizing night thinking I am going to lose her at any moment.

It’s like being on a yo-yo.  Someone is whipping you back and forth sometimes at top speed that makes you dizzy and sick to your stomach and then once in a while a yo-yo trick is thrown in just to complicate things.

This past week I had an electrician come to the house to do some very minor changes on two outlets.  In the course of turning the power off and on a couple of times it just happened to knock out Mom’s chair lift – the one that goes up and down our stairs and cost 10,000.00 to install.  A fluke.   I call the company I bought it through and was told you could not get parts for it any more and they would not send out a technician to my house.  It is less than 4 years old.  So I RECALCULATE…..   what do I do now??  I am in a new reality of crisis proportions since now my elderly mother is trapped on the top floor of my house.  Fortunately after a day of extreme anxiety the electrician and another company were able to get a replacement part and it is now working again.  RECALCULATE….

I go with Mom to the doctor hoping to arrange for a palliative doctor to be assigned to Mom’s case.  RECACULATE… no such luck.  She’s apparently not imminently palliative so I am just supposed to keep calling and leave messages to the doctor when I have a problem.  And wait….

Mom was taken off one medication for her diabetes.  She was put on another one and reacted terribly to it.  I thought I was losing her.  RECACULATE….  Acting as doctor for my mother I call and tell her other doctor that I think she is reacting to the medication and she should come off it.  Doctor agrees.  Now her blood sugar levels are screwed up and I must every night RECACULATE to hopefully get the dosage right so her levels don’t spike.

Mom is getting weaker.  She needs more physical supports to get around.  I buy a new tension floor to ceiling pole to put in her bedroom so she doesn’t fall like she did one night.  She loves it and it is helping her.  I need to RECALCULATE…. I’m not used to her having a pole almost in the centre of her room and I bang into it every time I’m in her room.  I’m clumsy at the best of times.  This will take some extra RECALCULATION…..

I now have 4 hours respite every Sunday morning so I can go to church and not worry about Mom.  This is all fine and dandy until I realize that every sunday morning now I have to make sure the kitchen and living room is tidy, instructions are given, food is left ready, etc etc    RECALCULATE…..

Are you getting the picture here??  Everyday there is something that happens that I have to physically or emotionally or both RECALCULATE to care for Mom.  RECALCULATE = CHANGE.  I don’t do well with change especially when it is happening constantly and often at top speed.

And change is most difficult when it concerns what is directly happening to Mom.  I am in constant limbo about her condition.  Is she getting worse?  Will she bounce back or is this the new normal?  When she feels horrible at night will she be alive in the morning?  When the fullness comes in her chest and down her arm is she likely to suffer a heart attack?  When? So I RECALCULATE… thinking I am going to lose her.   No, false alarm.  Maybe something she ate.  RECALCULATE….

That word RECALCULATE is my new norm.  My new reality.  Except RECALCULATING means my new reality changes every time.  My head spins sometime.  My heart sinks lower and lower.  RECALCULATING is exhausting and highly anxiety producing.

I’m not exactly sure what the car commercial is all about concerning the word recalculating but one thing I do know.  Recalculating a car is very different than recalculating life with your elderly mother day in and day out.  There is no manual.  There is no guide.  This is uncharted territory and I am terrified.  The road has so many twists and turns and potholes and bumps that you just hang on for dear life.  You just grip the steering wheel till your knuckles are white and you RECALCULATE…. Again…. and again……and again……

Vignettes of Grace and Grief – #2

Vignette #1 –    Mom has been wanting a laptop for quite a while ever since her computer crashed.  She kept asking me about it and I knew I had to get going on finding something suitable for  her.  After my concussion I was not supposed to be online but after a couple of quiet days I went online and madly researched laptops and finally came up with a model Ifelt would work for her.  I was able to get it at a local computer shop.  Today I picked it up and brought it home much to Mom’s great delight.  I knew she wanted it set up as fast as possible.  BIG PROBLEM!  I don’t know whether it has anything to do with my autism or just an idiosyncrasy but when I buy something new it usually has to stay in the box for quite a while maybe even several months.  When I bought my first digital camera it stayed in the box for 4 months before i was able to tackle it.  A few years ago I bought a new easy chair.  It took 2 YEARS before I felt comfortable in it and saw it as really mine.  I recently bought a new land line phone system- actually 2 months ago.  It is still in the box.  So….. I came home with Mom’s laptop and I brought it up to her room.  she was eager to see it.  I must say it was all I could  muster to take it out of the box.  I was so anxious I had to leave and go downstairs for a couple of hours with a cup of tea and sit and try to calm myself down.  I know I am perfectly capable of setting this laptop up.  I have done many things on the computer like install  my own router etc but for some reason ( and I believe I am just too exhausted from looking after Mom to deal with one more thing that requires a lot of brain energy) I just feel I can’t set this laptop up.  I finally got up the nerve to talk to Mom and told her my predicament.  I told her I was going to phone Staples to have someone set it up for us.  The money spent on this was far less worry that the damage the anxiety was doing to my well-being.  Mom took it well especially when she realized how anxiety – provoking it was.  But I feel like a failure.  I know I could do this.  Why does my anxiety have to again interfere with what I want to do in life?   Now Mom will have to wait while I take it in to get set up and that will take a few days.  I wanted to do it for her tonight.  I know my autism gives me many positive things in life.  I have wonderful creativity and I can think outside of the box.  I am passionate about many things and I am hard working and honest.  My passion and focus helps me to look after my Mom when it can get very difficult.  I am determined.  I don’t give up easily.  But unfortunately, with my autism also comes some difficult things like extreme anxiety and idiosyncrasies that get in the way of normal life.  I have to learn to take the good with the bad and I say bad but I don’t mean that really.  They are all just parts of me that make me who i am.  So tonight a laptop got the better of me.  Maybe tomorrow I will have victory over something else in my life.  And so life goes on…..

 

Vignette #2 –    It’s tough looking after Mom.  It’s very tough.  So tough, I often feel like throwing in the towel and giving up.  It’s often when things are at their worst that God drops a gem of joy into my lap.  Just because.  Just because he loves me.  Just because I am his child and he cares about what I am going through.  Today was one of those days.  The last few days have been extremely difficult.  I have been worried about what the future holds for Mom and I and whether I will have to put her in a nursing home and if i don’t will I be able to still take care of her properly at home.  As I was going downtown to pick up Mom’s new laptop I was reading a children’s book on the life of Maud Lewis the famous Canadian folk art painter from the East Coast.  After I picked up the laptop, I was walking along the street and went to pass by an art gallery that I have passed by for years but have never gone in.  I love art and so I decided today was the day I was going to go in and see what they had.  I went in and was surrounded with some beautiful paintings.  Then I noticed a display of 2 paintings (prints not originals) of Maud Lewis’s.  Apparently there is an online auction to auction off 2 of her paintings.  I showed the owner of the store the book I had been reading on the way downtown.  Then he asked me a question that just about bowled me over.  He asked me if I wanted to see the originals!  Would I!!!!!  I was so excited.  He brought them out and I gently and gingerly held them and drank in the beautiful colours and scenes of the two paintings done by a little old crippled lady who for most of her life noone knew anything about her.  She lived in horrible poverty but painted such joyous paintings.  As I held her art work I wondered about what she thought about as she painted.  So today God did indeed drop a gem of joy into my lap, one I could never have imagined receiving.  God must have fun planning what he does for his children to bring joy into their lives.  In the vignette above my anxiety was so great and in this vignette my excitement was so great I had to take medication to calm myself down.  My life has ups and downs so steep that it takes my breathe away.  Sometimes I wish for more gently rolling hills of experiences but I take it all in stride.  My life is definitely not dull.

Mom’s Wish – My Loss

Today was Dad’s birthday. I wonder if they have balloons in Heaven?  He would have been 89.  He would have caught up to Mom who was 89 in April.  Mom was the first to mention it this morning.  I sang a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Dad much to Mom’s delight. ( I am know for my serenading people on their birthday with various renditions of “Happy Birthday” including the Hallelujah chorus rendition!)

I have been getting more and more worried about Mom.  She looks so sad and dejected.  She sits in her chair with her eyes closed or just stares off into space.  She is not having good nights, often up with trouble breathing and not feeling well.  I have been going to bed myself wondering if she will be awake in the morning.

Tonight was an especially hard time that has catapulted me once again into hyper-vigilance with hyper-anxiety.  I asked a simple question I have asked her a million times.  ” Is there anything you would like, Mom?”  I’m usually referring to some food she might like.  This time though her answer took me by surprise.  She said, ” I want to go home.”  ( home meaning Heaven).  My heart quickened in my chest and my stomach felt like I had just been punched.  I replied, “I know you do Mom.  Although I want you with me forever, I know you want to go home.  I can’t be selfish here.  It hurts me to see you suffer and be miserable.”

What transpired next was a half-hour conversation where she asked me a number of questions like how much was left to pay on my mortgage,  what would I do for income that I would not be getting from her monthly stipend etc etc.  I got the feeling she was wanting to know I was going to be alright without her.  I assured her I was going to be alright.  I had a few close friends, a church family that I felt closer than I ever had before, I was going to be an Aunti to a new little adopted girl who I adored by my best friend’s daughter, I had my brother, my “belle-soeur” ( my sister in law) and my wonderful niece and nephew and my cats.   I told her I was trusting in God to look after me and provide all that I needed.  ( she does not know I have autism and when I said this I knew I was trusting God for a lot more than what she might think.  I was basically going to be alone.  I had already a hard time coping in the world.  I knew trusting God was going to be key for me to my being able to keep going in this world as someone with autism)  I then showed Mom the ring I had bought but had not shown her yet – a silver ring with 2 hearts and an infinity symbol band on the ring – symbolizing mom and me being together forever.  She was quite interested although I don’t think she grasped the significance the ring had for me.  I am very sentimental and I have many, many things that have special meaning to me.  Things in my life are given meaning I think to help ground me and help to keep real the parts of my life which are no longer tangible.  Memories are cemented in my mind by a thing that I attach a meaning to.  Unfortunately, it means I have a lot of things in my life.  Sometimes people don’t understand my attraction to things of all sorts.  They help glue all the pieces and memories of my life together.

So back to our conversation… We continued talking for a while and then just sat quietly with each other, the cats joining us in the bedroom.  We were all together my little family.  All I could think about was what was going to happen?  Was Mom going to die tonight?  I don’t know.  She may surprise everyone and live another several years or she indeed may go tonight.  I just know that these episodes put me in such a state of hyper-vigilance for days until I think the danger is over and things resume a calmer state.  This wreaks havoc on my whole system.  Everything goes haywire – my eating, my sleeping, my ability to concentrate, to look after the house and all the other things I have to tend to.  It exhausts my already exhausted frame.  I feel shell-shocked.  I feel physically sick.  I cry.  So now as I am writing this I wonder – will I be able to get to sleep tonight?  I don’t know but will probably need to sleep part of the night in my easy chair wrapped in a blanket, my knees tucked up under my chin.

Mom’s wish.  A simple wish to go home.  We all wish to go home when we are away.  I can’t deny her that.  But Mom’s wish come true means my loss.  Am I selfish? Yes, indeed, at times I am.  I want her here with me – always!  My loss will be overwhelming, immense, unfathomable, almost unthinkable.  But my loss will come just the same.  There is no control here, no say.  Just loss.

As I am typing here, Mom is asleep in her room.  I just heard her cry out “Lorne!”  That’s Dad’s name.  Oh, how she misses him.  She needs to go home.  I must say goodbye soon.  I must loosen the grip I have on her life and let her go.  And accept the loss.  Wishes are more important than losses.  Wishes are often the result of losses.  I wonder what wish will come forth from my loss.  Tonight ( or in the days ahead) a wish and a loss rest in the heart of God. A God with a heart big enough to make any wish come true and any loss to be cut down to a size that is not overwhelming or unbearable by His great great LOVE.