I am a little bit in awe of the craziness that has descended upon my family with the arrival of the new year. So far, it's been an El Niño. (Disclaimer: All events within this blog post are absolutely real. Also, I am not looking for sympathy. Really. Just a collective "WTF?!" will suffice. Think "purging" when you read this, because that's what this blog post is doing for me.)
2015 closed with a call from my mother's memory care community. It looked as if she was ill, and that I might have to take her to urgent care in the morning. I went to bed, after letting my children welcome the new year officially for the very first time, with clothes and supplies at the ready for a long day ahead. 8:20 a.m. came on January 1st with the phone call I'd half-expected. My mom most probably had an infection and needed urgent care. Red alert for ya, urgent care is closed on holidays. So, to the ER I went, with my poor, little 68-year old, advanced dementia-afflicted mother riding shot-gun. I was blessed by the powers that be with wonderful holiday staff at the ER who got my mother out of my mini-van and into a bed. Her blood pressure was a measly 67/45. Things deteriorated further, because tests told us that she had a raging infection and was septic. Long ago, my mother had told me to never plug her in, when we'd gone over the what-ifs of life. Well, neither of us had anticipated a diagnosis of frontal temporal dementia at age 59. It was a game changer. And administering antibiotics at this late stage of that game smacked of "plugging" her in at this point. I told them NO. NO antibiotics. NO IV fluids. Just NO. Enough was enough. Painful for me to honor her wishes, but there you go.
That was over 8 days ago. Her siblings and my sister came in to say good-bye. We played with the dry erase board in her room. (Staff just tolerated our slightly-hysterical humor.)
They have since gone back to their lives for now. My mom's two sisters are (wonderfully) ready to come back from their homes 4 and 6 hours away whenever I call for them. Her college professor brother checks in via text. My sister cannot deal....and I can't worry about that anymore.
My Delaney Jane and I moved out her bed to make room for a hospital bed at the memory care residence. She's a gamer, that girl.
My mom is back at the memory care residence, with hospice. Reaching the end of her adventure on this earth could take hours or weeks. The point is that the end is near. I am relieved that her peace will be soon. However, I will miss her. However, I've been mourning her for eleven years....since the dementia butted its ugly head into our lives. This is confusing to the humanity in me that wants to mourn vs. the caregiver who is tired and rather raw/worn from emotion. She'd have wanted this over ages ago.
I've been reading to her,
driving to get supplies,
and indulging in my own little comfort care
while preparing for YTT class. (Such a timely read for me.)
But, this is a yoga blog. Let's get to the yoga. Today, January 8, was the first evening of YTT for me. I have been looking forward to it for a long time. I almost didn't go, because of so many reasons. For instance, the memory care community staff accidentally cut off and threw away mom's DNR bracelet. Guess who got to put on a new one after going over AGAIN the painful paperwork that states that no one should interfere with my mother's death process? Anyone?
But somehow when the time came, I left her to go to YTT. Talk about conflicted emotions, shall we?
What made me leave my mom's bedside for more than four awake hours so far this year? Here's what. My mom would have been furious, if she'd been able, had I taken myself out of an opportunity that I'd been awaiting for so long. An opportunity to make the world a slightly better place, like she did once upon a time as a social worker, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I can only hope that I will be able to fill the shoes that my mother's imminent passing will leave empty. Right now? All is quiet. No jangling of the phone bearing news. We wait. I am learning patience and also that I am not in control. I am struggling to be ok with that. The lessons of the new year will serve me well, I know.
YTT was WONDERFUL. My instructor is kind and witty and strict-ish. Classmates seem interesting and devoted. The yoga studio is beautiful. I felt free and new and alive. What seemed earlier today as a tragedy of timing, now feels like a gigantic blessing and a gift. I feel optimal gratitude. Tomorrow will be a big test. I will briefly stop by to check on my mom and then head over for 9 hours of YTT. This training feels like so much more than yoga for me. Send me good thoughts, please. This community is the only place who has been told my story of 2016. I am glad you are far-flung. It makes the telling feel safe. Thank you.