Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bless All Our Damn Hearts

God, it's been a frustrating day. One of those days where I should have just stayed in bed and wept at the vast hole of uselessness my life appears to be on these days.

I walked into Mother's room at the Assisted Living Place and she was obviously not doing well and she looked at me and said, "What are YOU doing here?" which was a damn good question. She seems to have given up on some levels and I don't blame her. It was probably nothing more than sheer will and determination keeping her going when she was living at home and now she doesn't need those things as much because there are others who are there to make her meals and do her cleaning and laundry and it's like she's lost her grit.
Again- I understand.
She's left with nothing to focus on but her pain and her dizziness and the things that piss her off and those are myriad. Just knowing, as she does, that the more she slips into helplessness, the better off financially she'll be, is enough to let her give up whatever fight there was in her although I know it wasn't possible to leave her at home where she could have burned the place up or taken all the wrong pills or gotten lost somewhere a few blocks from home or fallen and not had anyone to find her, or given all her money to a scammer (she gave SOME money to some scammers so this is not completely impossible), or, or, or.
But really- would that have been worse than what she's going through now?
I don't know. I really don't. That is not a rhetorical question. It is a true questioning question.

She is, yes, confused. And pissed. Not as pissed as the lady I saw down in the clinic who had drawn her eyebrows on with red lipstick (hey! I think that may have been a conscious choice) but pissed, nonetheless. She was pissed because they make you do everything there when you don't even want to. Or at least, she's pretty sure they do. They make you go to breakfast and if you don't want to go to breakfast, you don't get any breakfast! Which is not true. They bring her breakfast if she doesn't feel like going to the dining room but when I pointed that out, she said, "But then I spill things!"
She doesn't want to go to PT but they make her go to PT for her knees and it hurts!
I told her that she doesn't have to go to PT if she doesn't want to and she agreed that is probably true but...
But what?
Oh. I don't know.
She hates one of the women who sits at her table in the dining room. Frankly, I'd hate her too. She's a self-absorbed, prejudiced, snobby, snotty old bitch who finds great pleasure in putting Mother down. So I told Mother she doesn't have to sit there. She can sit at another table.
"Oh no I can't!" she said. "You can't move from one table to another."
This is entirely not true. Those sweet ladies up there who serve the tables would not care one iota.
But again...but...

So back down to the clinic where we all sat around (Mr. Moon, the doctor, the social worker, me) talking about the ways to make her qualify for the insurance which of course was all about her deficits. This just sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks.
There. I just said it.

Then they set up an appointment for her to see the Orthopedist who was supposed to come in that afternoon so I was going to come back for that. I went and picked up my glasses prescription and went to the place where they supposedly make your glasses in an hour. This is true if you don't have the type of prescription I do, which if you do, it'll take 7-10 working days.
Oh well.
The nicest, nicest lady helped me. She was patient and she was sweet and she laughed at my snarky jokes. I found some red frames I liked. They are kind of funky but don't have any blingy, cheap-looking crap on them which even some of the most expensive ones do.

She didn't try to sell me every add-on they had. She honestly told me what she thought I needed and what I did not need. I agreed with her. I didn't walk out of there feeling like I'd been railroaded into anything.
Bless her heart.

I picked up a sandwich and went to Lily's to eat it. Owen has a cold but he's feeling okay. When I left, he said, "No leave me, Mermer!" which I thought was so sweet. I'll see him again tomorrow. I went back to the ALP to find that the doctor wasn't coming. The next time he IS coming is near the end of March. I called Mother's current ortho guy's office to make an appointment but they can't see her until April, so what the hey?
She said, "It doesn't matter. I've been in pain for so long that it just doesn't matter."

I sat and talked to her for awhile and she told me about the mean woman at the table again and we talked about some other things and then I left and came home, feeling like I'd been nothing of any use to her at all and feeling guilty and feeling, oh, fuck.
Just fucking useless.
Nothing got accomplished except that I ordered overpriced red glasses.
My mother is still in pain and will still BE in pain. I haven't tended anything today or created anything or even cooked anything. I have felt sorry for myself and I have felt resentful.
I feel like a worm or maybe worm shit.
Cold worm shit.

Mr. Moon is at a VERY exciting basketball game in town. FSU vs Duke and I know he's excited. I swear- that man deserves some real enjoyment. There he is with all of Mother's forms and everything is on his back and he's the one dealing with the insurance, he's the one being sweet to her, he's the one she calls when she needs anything. Anything at all.
And he's there for her.

Lickity split. He calms her, he humors her, he makes her laugh.

And then he listens to me whine and moan. He holds me up when I feel that I am going down. He doesn't judge. He is on my team. He fills the bin with dog food. He brings home the chicken feed. He comes home early to play with the grandson. He helps build the sets for the plays I'm in. He tells me every night how much he enjoys whatever it was I cooked. He washes dishes. He makes it possible for me to live this life I live and he seems to love me. He is there for the children, no matter what it is they need. He is just pure good. Or as pure-good as a spirit wrapped up in a human body can be.

All right. I've written myself into a puddle of maudlin tears. I believe I need to go paint myself some eyebrows on with red lipstick now and put on a nylon slip and make a drink of straight gin and sit on the porch and hope for small children or a stray dog to pass by to give me an excuse to yell obscenities into the darkening twilight and then weep into my dirty, tangled hair.

Hey! I'm an old southern woman! We get to do these things if we want to!
I'll wear my great-grandmother's diamond necklace while I do them. It will add to the charm of my insanity.

Or maybe I'll just go heat up some of those chicken and bean enchiladas and go to bed and wake up tomorrow when I have plenty of other things I need to do and accomplish and give it all another shot.

I'll tell you this, though, I am NOT giving my personal Rhett Butler a chance to tell me that he doesn't give a damn.
I hope.

And for my own personal Rhett Butler's sake, I hope that FSU wins tonight.

And in 7-10 business days, I will be wearing red eyeglasses which are just as good as red-lipsticked eyebrows as far as I'm concerned. And maybe the new baby will be here by then and I'll be crying sweet tears of joy.

"Let me know how...that daughter of doing with the baby," my mother said.

I will. I will let her know when her next great-grandchild is born. I'll even take her to see him or her.

I do all I can and on some days it is pathetically apparent how little that is. This being one of them.

And yet the planet still orbits the sun. Go figure.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon


  1. I am also feeling maudlin and useless today. But I did not want to post about it because I do not write as beautifully as you. I just whine and complain and I could not inflict that on those few who bother keeping up with me.

    You have a gem of a man. He can deal with your mother so easily because he does not have your baggage. Mine is the same. If it weren't for him, I probably would never even speak to my mother.

    I'm so tired of being broken.

  2. I am right there with you in the old-mom boat. Mine is 85 and batty as hell. Sometimes she is so mean to me. Sometimes I want to be mean to her. I hate those times. I think there is so very little they are in control of anymore and they know it and it sucks for them. Mine can't choose what she remembers or when she poops or pees or who comes to see her, so she chooses to be mean at times. It's all she can do.

    I just keep remembering when my son was 2 and balky. This is no different, except where he was growing up she is growing down.

    Don't worry about Mr. Moon. He is getting good practice with her for when it is time to look after you.


  3. fucksticks.

    i really am sorry.

    the gin sounds like a good place to start.



  4. "I believe I need to go paint myself some eyebrows on with red lipstick now and put on a nylon slip and make a drink of straight gin and sit on the porch and hope for small children or a stray dog to pass by to give me an excuse to yell obscenities into the darkening twilight and then weep into my dirty, tangled hair." You have no idea how much I love this piece of prose!

  5. Jeannie- I think that being southern gives me license to write gothic.

    Invisigal- If Mr. Moon has to deal with me in such circumstances, I really just want to die now. I am serious.

    Tearful- If I only had some gin. And a nylon slip. I do have vodka, though, and that diamond necklace...

    Tamara- Hell, honey. It's just the truth.

  6. The old folks have narrow options. But at least she is safe and taken care of. That is what I realize when I visit both of my wife's parents. They are warm, safe, well fed, and cared for. That means a lot.

  7. I will forever think of "those" kinds of days as red-lipstick-eyebrow-days. I am entering that into my personal lexicon.

  8. Must be in the air. My coping skills are dangerously low.
    I will think about the red lipstick eyebrows now when I need a happy thought. And maybe you in your red glasses and a slip, sipping a gin and tonic, railing at passers-by. My aunt did that for a bit, and I never understood until I got older, the need to yell at the universe, or the people driving past your house. You just can't keep it all bottled up inside, not without exploding. Nor can ease your mom's pain, or your own, but still you try.
    And the planet still orbits the sun. I hope for a better day for you tomorrow, I hope you see not how little you do but how much you are, how much you care, and hope that that is enough to soothe you.
    That and your amazing Mr. Moon. Very lucky, you are. Him too, I think.

  9. "that daughter of yours"? Is that because she hates me or can't remember my name? Either way it kinda stinks. Sorry you had a frustrating day. I was happy to see you. I love you.

  10. your mother and yourselves have entered crazy land, where common sense is lacking and pain and suffering is the order of the day. I know. I have done this with grandparents. It sucks.

    I'd go home and have a couple of very stiff drinks, watch a funny movie, and toss and turn into eventual sleep. Hang in there, honey. And wear those diamonds for gawd's sake.

  11. Pain sucks. Not being able to relieve someone else's pain sucks. Feeling Maudlin sucks. Insurance companies suck.
    Hooray for that man Mr. Moon. Hooray for you and the way you just tell it like it is. Hooray for gin and sweet little boys and babies yet to be born, basketball and love!
    May smiles await you when you rise. xo

  12. I had a comment until I read Lily's; then all I could think was:

    Oh Lily, I would be hurt and insulted, too. She doesn't hate you. She's just old and sad and probably resentful of what's happening to her.

    You are young and vibrant and beautiful with a loving husband and son and baby-coming-soon. Bask in that and celebrate your life. And know that your mother is the kind of grandmother you wish yours could be.

    I'm sending you love and hugs and reassurance that this statement is not about you but about her.

  13. some days, the pathetically little we can do, is all we can do. It sucks. But you tried, and trying still stands when the rest of it sucks.

  14. Re staying at home for your mom you ask "would that have been worse than what she's going through now?" All I can say is for me, I hope to stay at home as long as possible and hopefully forever and risk all those things that could happen because I've become confused or demented. I would rather die in a fire I start than have to live in assisted living. That is just me.

    What is with all that crap they stick on eyeglasses nowadays? Those ugly old big frames do no one justice and I will stick with my wire frames forever and ever. Those red ones look pretty dang nice now!

    I'd opt for the gin personally.

  15. I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. I just wanted to tell you that the line about your diamonds adding charm to your insanity was amazing. As are you.

  16. I'm going to ditto Denise and send out an all-around everything sucks kind of message. All of that is hard -- really, really hard. And you putting it out there so honestly is bound to help someone. I know that.

    I hope tomorrow is a better day. All around.

  17. Felt your terrible frustration in your most recent post. You sure have a way with words, and I hope they do help you when you vent like this. Its awful getting older and when hope goes out the window that things will change for the better, and you are in such awful long term pain, I guess its easy to understand how your mum is feeling and why she gets like she does.. As for not remembering your daughter's name, that happens too, doesnt't mean she doesn't love her at all.. it will come to all of us and that is the most terrifying truth of all to cope with.. Bless you for sharing, we all have known these moments!

  18. I love your insanity, Mary, it's a perfect picture. You should definitely consider that model of old age. More fun than your mother's, for sure. Definitely with the diamonds.

    Aw, Lily - I'm pretty sure, when I was at my grandmother's the other day, when I brought my son out to the toilet, my granny asked her carer who was it that was there - I know she knows who I am, she just forgot when I left the room. It... well, it just happens. Names got messed up long ago.

    I can't believe the baby will be here so soon! Excitement! xx

  19. Syd- I guess that's about all we can ask at some point which is mighty depressing.

    Lisa- She was a delightful fright! But I was so glad that I didn't have to deal with her.

    Mel- I suppose women generally aren't allowed to yell at the universe unless we go crazy. Which explains a lot, doesn't it?

    Taradharma- It's all so unfair how life stretches out at the end sometimes in such grayness. Just, god. It's awful.

    Denise- It was NOT a smiley morning.

    Lily- NO. She just couldn't remember your name. She loves you. She does.

    lulumarie- You are totally right.

    liv- Yep. Some days just suck and that's that.

    Ruby Jack- I know- they can funk up a pair of eyeglasses, can't they? I just don't think we can let an old person live alone who has dementia. As much as they might have wanted to. Or want to. I don't know. It's just hard.

    Ashley- I am so glad you finally commented! Please feel free to do so whenever you want. Thanks.

    Elizabeth- It is the grayest, dullest day here. The suck continues.

    janzi- We DO all know these moments. Unfortunately.

    Jo- Yep. That's the way it goes.

  20. You had me laughing out loud!

  21. The part about yelling obscenities into the dark and drinking gin in a nylon slip on the porch had me laughin out loud. Sorry I haven't commented in a long time. Been busy, censoring software at work was hindering comments and after 12 years overseas, the family and I are moving to Fayetteville(FT. Bragg), NC. Can't wait. Mr. Moon sounds like a gem; glad you are going to hold onto each other. Its all we have in the end.
    Kind Regards, Scott

  22. Don't be a damned fool, Mary, is NOT your job (or ability) to fix Everything for Everyone.....just to try is all you can do, and you have done wonders. Be realistic...... and be kind to yourself.

    And while you are trying to fix everything, please deliver me from these fucking authenticating blog words.....a pox on Blogger !

    By the way....I love you.

  23. Mary I wish I had read this the day you posted it. I would have written you right back and try to explain that as much as it hurts to see your mom in the state she is in she is above all safe, has a roof over her head, food to eat and at night tucked in a nice bed.

    We can't help but feel that the end of many loved ones lives is not the way we wish it could have been. We with they were better or happier people, because we do see old folks who still carry a smile and accept that this is just a part of life. Better to go with the flow of the wave than fight the current. Oh I don't know what it will be like when I am old and unable to do what I do now. I can say and promise but until I face a "no" you can't do that anymore I will just keep my thoughts forward and try very hard to plan.

    The red-lipsticked mom painted on her eyebrows but not with lipstick. She seemed to not have eyebrows which I don't know why. As her illness progressed her drawing of them on took strange looks. The eyebrows can really make your face look different!

    Mr. Moon is something special. Bless his big heart..what a guy.


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