After a year of much traveling close & far I have spent most of the last 2 months at home. (Well I did sneak off to Kauai for my birthday and 11/11 in November) Which home? I seem to have several. ‘Home base’ for the last year plus has been in Centralia WA. I never thought I would live here... But life happens. So does Alzheimer's, which my mother has.
About a year and a half ago she was getting to the point where she could no longer live alone. Quite a while before that I had already began to take over her finances and help her with decision making. If you knew my very competent and focused mother... Her giving me that control is how I knew that she knew, how bad she was getting. And so it was living arrangement decision time. And I am it. I have a brother but he is unable to help me/her and has no legal ability to do so.
I decided to buy a home we both could live in comfortably. So here I am in this big house close to town with my mother. I knew the only way I could make this decision would NOT to be her caregiver. So I have people come in and take care of her and the household. Needless to say this is an interesting way to live. But I am sure I will write much more about that at another time.
That brings me to this evening. And my stitches. And the last 2 months... Especially the last month. Since Thanksgiving I have been home and have decided not to have caregivers in as much. I am here a lot and in general her care is pretty easy. I have been cleaning out closets, a storage room, file cabinets and my office. These ‘things’ are both my mothers and mine. I am RELEASING so much! And of course to release, I have to go through. It has been quite the journey through the past. All the while asking myself the questions of what to ‘keep’ and what to let go. Literally and with my entire life & focus.
And all the while... I watch my mother go away. Alzheimer’s is an ugly yet interesting disease. I live a life of Spiritual exploration. I have long accepted the concepts of Spirit that say: ‘Our true essence... Is not the body’. And the central nervous system which includes the mind is a remarkable finely tuned instrument of consciousness but ‘I’... The Spirit or Soul am only using this instrument for a lifetime. So all that said... As my mothers mind alters... Who is she? Her manifestation of the disease has always been more profound in her ability to perceive and interact with her environment. She still knows who I am but she is interacting with plenty of other... ?
Being with her is fascinating... And heartbreaking at the same time. And of course it brings up a lifetime of my relationship with her. The root of who I am.
I am digging deep and unearthing so much. I found a great guide through this underworld of my being in the guise of a Jungian therapist. He has been such an amazing gift. I started with him on Halloween (Of course ;) He is from New Orleans and has an almost gothic office. Full of great art. All my sessions with him are 2 hours. What a ride! He is my witness as I find a new relationship with my own life.
Part of what we explored this week was the question of why I have chosen to be so present with my mother. I could have found her a nice place and written a check every month. I am not a martyr. And I honestly do not feel an obligation or would have ‘guilt’ at not doing this. I chose this path as the best one for her. And. It is providing me an opportunity to heal. Clear down to the roots. I am just beginning to see how/where/why.
And about my stitches. A week ago I had 2 small cysts that have been on my shoulder for many years. They are benign but I was just ready to have them gone. This evening I took out my own stitches (a true nurse characteristic). As I was cutting & pulling them out I suddenly had the image of letting go of weight I have carried on my shoulders for a very long time. I am standing a bit lighter. What a Blessing.
I am almost finished with the clearing out and organizing. I did finish my office today. It feels so good! I leave soon for Kauai. I just bought a new carry-on. I am determined to bring only it. I am embracing the fine art of less baggage. In all ways.