November 26, 2010

Getting to Thankful

I wish I could say that things were going well this week, but they're really crappy right now. Melissa's Grandmother is near the end, and her parents had to go up to visit her and help out Gordon, her husband. They took Matthew with them, since I couldn't watch him and Melissa while I worked this week. So it's just Melissa and I in a very quiet, empty house.

We had a Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday, but I royally screwed that up by mis-reading something Melissa was trying to say and reacting badly to what I THOUGHT she was saying. No matter how much I apologize I can't forgive myself, because by the time we settled down and got things straightened out, dinner was pretty much over. Matthew wanted to go watch TV and her Dad had to go take care of a neighbor's dog. I asked Matthew to stay and tell Mommy what they talked about, and he was happy to relay that to Mel while I fed her. It just was food on a plate for me at that point, no special feelings attached to it. I had ruined the holiday for Melissa by getting stressed out and causing a scene.

Melissa's Mom takes care of most of Mel's needs while I'm at work, but it's all me this week. And to boot, She's having a rough time this week with painful leg spasms and a lot of drainage. I'd hoped to take her out to see Deathly Hallows during the week, when the crowds were lighter, but she hasn't felt well at all.

On top of all that, I get the news that MY grandma, who has been living alone in a cottage on the outskirts of a senior community, has had increasingly bad dementia episodes and just had to be admitted to their rehab facility. She won't be able to live by herself anymore, and she's asking when her husband and sisters (all dead) are coming to see her.

Life is kicking us in the head at this point. How do I deal with all of it?

This is where my Training kicks in.

[ Things are bad now, which means they were better before. ]
[ WHAT was better before? Type it out. Find the Thankfulness. ]

Her Parents and Matthew are usually here. Her parents are wonderful and supportive of us. They let us live here, help take care of Melissa and tutor Matthew in his homework. They love us Kern folks and take great care of us. We never would be able to function as a family without their continuing help. And they will be back Tomorrow. I am thankful for them.

My Grandmother is 95 years old, and was able to live independently, even work in her prize-winning garden, until just now. She has remained healthy and active a dozen years after others her age have had to move into nursing homes. And even in her dementia, she seems content and happy, because she thinks loved ones long gone are still with her. I am thankful for her longevity and spirit.

I mis-read Melissa and caused a scene, making her cry. But 98% of the time I can read her head-nods, blinks and expressions properly and get her what she wants. Sometimes I am the only one who CAN read her. It's more art than science, and I can usually read a simple request with just a look from her, and predict what she is spelling out in just a few letters. I am thankful to be able to communicate with the woman I love.

Melissa has a terrible disease that can take a person in 3 years. But while ALS has taken away her speech and movement, she is still able to use a computer. With that, she can communicate with her friends, watch movies online, even do some of our Christmas shopping. And the progression of her disease has pretty much stopped since last fall. So 3 years into the disease, and she is still able to retain some independence and do some things she loves. I am thankful for the abilities she still has, which give her joy, and the fact that she is still here, which brings ME joy.

And we are both thankful for the Internet Army of supportive friends who help us alternatively deal with life, and forget about it for a while. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I am thankful for you and your posts...and your ability to write out what you are feeling. That in itself is a talent btp.

    I love you
    -Maddy

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