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As the phoenix . . .

How shall I, then, begin? I have been gone a long time, and now I'm back, I hope. I might as well charge right in.

My mother died on February 25, 2018 of Alzheimers dementia. She had been living with me, under my care, since December of 2012, although she had been exhibiting troubling symptoms for almost twenty years, now that I know what I was looking at. It was a hard journey the entire way, and you can probably trace the progression by the dropoff and cessation of my writing and socialization. The final three months, on home hospice, were especially grueling. But she got to die in her own bed, with her cst curoed against her. I was there to hear here final breath, which makes it all worth it, I guess.

People in the Alzheimers/Dementia world say that a caretaker of a dementia patient will lose hald their cognitive function from the stress. I don't know about that -- how would I, because I'd be the last to know? I do know that I lost my joy and my creativity.

Will I ever write again? I hope so, but I have a lot of healing to do.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
clodia_metelli
Apr. 1st, 2018 02:21 pm (UTC)

I am so sorry, Randy. My grandmother has dementia and it's a terrible way to go. My sincere condolences. I hope the writing flows back sooner rather than later.

randy_o
Apr. 1st, 2018 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Clodia. I wish your grandmother an easier journey than my mother had. Often some other natural illness intervenes, but the people on my mother's side of the family are tough and long-lived. Ultimately, she ate less and less, which is the body taking its own way out. For the most part, our hospice team was on board, and we didn't fight it. But my mom was difficult to deal with until she hit that final stage.

You and your family might want to check out Alzheimers.org. They have a caregivers'support board that was a lot of support to me in the last five years. Surprisingly, doctors often know very little about the day to day challenges a caregiver will face.
pandemonium_213
Apr. 1st, 2018 03:54 pm (UTC)
My deepest, deepest condolences, Randy. I know this has been a long, hard road for you and your family. And yes, that kind of enduring stress kills creativity and the desire to socialize. Totally understandable.

I was there to hear here final breath, which makes it all worth it, I guess.

I think it does.


Will I ever write again? I hope so, but I have a lot of healing to do.


Exactly. You've been through a hell of a lot. My mother's decline affected me, but your case is astronomically amplified. Dementia is such an awful, awful disease.

I think you'll write again. I think I'll write again. But it's gonna take time.

Hey, I was actually thinking about Randy and Saunders the other day while I was driving into work! My route takes me past a house in Brookline that I have fan-casted for Saunders' home, so that prompted a little scene of the pending holiday party that Saunders is throwing and to which Randy has been invited. No words written, of course, but the Dark Muse is still there, just very preoccupied by prodding me along in my career. He and I still visit Middle-earth now and then. :^)

randy_o
Apr. 1st, 2018 04:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Pande. It got to the point in the last six months where I would wake from a sound sleep thinking I had heard her calling, yelling back that I was coming, even once when Buns sourly pointed out that she was away on her five day hospice respite stay. I was on a hair-trigger. That doesn't go away over night.

About Aaron and Saunders, I had a blast of inspiration a few months ago after taking a Xanax. I know what Aaron wants from Saunders, enough to overcome the past. I knew you were hammered with work at the time, and I was plain hammered by life, but things lok like they might be changing for both of us. Will be in touch, if only to set the idea in your head.
pandemonium_213
Apr. 2nd, 2018 12:37 am (UTC)
Reading your reply to Aearwen below...I count myself, and more importantly, my mother, fortunate that dementia wasn't an issue with her. She kept her faculties right until she started actively dying. It breaks my heart that your mother died long before she actually died. That, in a word, is horrifying. I don't know how you bore it, but you did.

About Aaron and Saunders, I had a blast of inspiration a few months ago after taking a Xanax. I know what Aaron wants from Saunders, enough to overcome the past. I knew you were hammered with work at the time, and I was plain hammered by life, but things lok like they might be changing for both of us. Will be in touch, if only to set the idea in your head.

Inspiration via Xanax! Better living through chemistry, that's my motto! I'd love to hear about that blast!

Edited at 2018-04-02 12:39 am (UTC)
aearwen2
Apr. 1st, 2018 05:08 pm (UTC)
My deepest sympathies on your loss.

If you need to talk, you know how to find me - and I'm not averse to phone conversations, if you think that would help more. If you want, PM me and I'll give you my number.

I mean it. I'm a shoulder to lean on, or cry on if you need one - and I'm kinda on the "outside", so I have no biases or preconceptions to set aside. The same offer you made to me "back when" applies here in reverse.

Great Big {{{{{{{HUG}}}}}
randy_o
Apr. 1st, 2018 06:37 pm (UTC)
That is so kind of you, Aerwen. l lost the woman who was my mother a long time ago. In her place was a needy stranger, who could turn malevolent if not placated, someone I had seen only brief glimpses of in my childhood. I'm going to have to sort through my conflicting feelings about the person she became over the last ten years. Fortunately, I'm used to self-reflection, and I'm more than halfway there, given that I no longer have the uncertain prospect of doing this for years to come and ultimately failing. At least I know I made it through and kept my promise that she would always have a home with me. I feel like I've walked through the fire and come out the other side hard as steel, just a bit rusty at the moment.
elfscribe5
Apr. 2nd, 2018 02:20 am (UTC)
Hi Randy. It's good to hear from you. I am so sorry about the trial you've had to go through. It's very hard. Bless you for the great gift you gave your mother of loving care in her declining years, even though it is so very hard to do. My mother is beginning to exhibit signs of dementia too. The whole thing is very stressful, so you have my full and complete sympathy. I hope you take some time for yourself now -- if that involves writing something again, that may be helpful. In the meantime be tender with yourself and your family who have been through tough times.

Edited at 2018-04-03 03:51 am (UTC)
randy_o
Apr. 2nd, 2018 04:47 am (UTC)
You've been through the fire yourself, so you know what it can do to a person. About your mother, get her to a doctor for a full neurological workup. Dementia is a symptom od many underlying causes, all of which have to be ruled out, and some of them are curable or treatable. Even if it is one of the progressive dementias, early intervention can slow the process down and keep a person functional for a longer time.
lexin
Apr. 4th, 2018 03:00 pm (UTC)
It’s good to hear f,rom you, I wondered not long ago how you were doing.

I’m sorry to hear about your mother, that must have been hard. My deepest condolences.
randy_o
Apr. 4th, 2018 04:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, it was very hard, but you have some experience in this area too. I was worried at first for my mother's cat, who seemed bereft, but she is slowly becoming our cat. She's on the bed beside me as I type.

How is your girl, Smokie?
lexin
Apr. 5th, 2018 12:23 pm (UTC)
Cuddles for the kitty!

Smokey is very well, thank you. As I type this she is on the living room window sill looking out at birds. I think she’d be a good hunter if she went out. That she is a house cat is a good thing for the local wildlife.

Yes, I have experience of caring for sick relatives, my mum was ill for a long time. I didn’t live with her, but I visited every three weeks for several years. It was hard going, and I have huge respect for anyone who can do it full time as you did.
kenazfiction
Apr. 12th, 2018 12:05 am (UTC)
Randy, I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you find the healing, rest, and peace of mind you so dearly deserve.
randy_o
Apr. 12th, 2018 02:37 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words. I took one of my first steps tonight as Buns and I went out piano hunting. I believe I may have found "The One" in a Mason & Hamlin seven foot grand that may need some work, but it will sound great. We're going back on Sunday to hear it after it has been tuned and evaluated. The piano is used, just came in that day, and I liked the finish on it better than the high gloss black finishes on the brand new ones in the shop, which would be a nightmare to keep dusted. Not to mention our cats. I am so out of practice it's embarrassing.
kenazfiction
Apr. 14th, 2018 11:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think that’s just wonderful! Music is so good for the soul... the muscle memory is still in you; no doubt it will come back more quickly than you think! I hope it brings you years of joy!
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )