I’ve just come home after spending the afternoon with Dorothy. We enjoyed having a coffee together in the little cafe at the Care Home. It’s a very pleasant area, light and airy, with tables for four and big glass doors that open out to a partly covered patio. But today was for indoors, it was a cold, windy, grey, day.
It was a cold, grey day in my mind, too! I am feeling very sad, even cried a little in the car before I set off to drive home. It is not my intention that this site should be an outlet for my grief, but today I just have to write what’s in my heart – and it’s full of sadness, spelled with a big S. Dorothy cried today, too, always unexpectedly and for no apparent reason. She just can’t explain, but it’s like something in her mind happens and she is searching for a reason. She’s had lots of crying episodes in the past three years or so. They are always heart-wrenching for us both as we struggle to understand why. It so hard because, these days, she has no coherent language ability. She can’t explain what’s whirling around in her mind, what sparks the sadness and stress. Fortunately, these episodes are less frequent now, maybe it’s the medication. But it’s hard to console her when it happens. If I am there, I can hug her and find techniques to distract and settle her. After a few minutes, she settles and has no recollection of the incident – just sort of picks up where we left off! But of course, I don’t! That results in my melancholia and feeling so helpless, and the sadness creeps back into my life, again.…..
It is hard to keep moving on from those feelings….I am still encouraging Dorothy to look at family photos with me and, sometimes I think there is a glimmer of recognition, and I treasure those moments, but she no longer recognises our children when they visit. That must be devasting to them, but they are stoic and understanding, and I love them for that. To visit Mum, each of our five children need to make significant journeys, travelling from interstate and country Victoria – how beautiful are our children and grandchildren that they contact so often, even from overseas!
I find that there are times when I can engage really well with Dorothy on some activities. She likes dancing when there are some old favourites playing on the videos in their lounge room, and colouring a picture together is good, too, but reading aloud from newspapers and magazines doesn’t hold her attention. Walking hand in hand is always good for both of us, and we do that often, within the building and outside. If the weather permits, I sometimes take her out to nearby parks or just walk around the local streets; we can look at gardens and talk about anything and everything we see that might be a ‘talking stimulant’ that cheers us both.
But, Dorothy’s life now exists just ‘in the moment’. So, it’s fantastic when I can share that moment! Never mind about the past, or the future, for that matter. I’m learning.
But I’m ‘home’ again now, and although it’s still dark and miserable outside, I think I’m a little less that way after spending some time with my Dorothy. Well, maybe still a little sad……..