>The human heart and mind can only take so much before it simply goes on overload and checks out. I think that’s what is happening to my mom. It is very hard to watch. She’s confused and can’t communicate very well. She starts sentences she can’t finish. She says random things out of the blue that she can’t explain. Her mind is like a roach motel; thoughts go in but no words can come out. She was able to put together this sentence, “I can’t keep a train of thought.” I joked back, “No mom, it’s more like you’re having ‘planes of thought’. They take off but never land.” She laughed. The part of her that’s still checked in is getting angry over her loss of control and it is challenging to deal with her sometimes.
My own mind is playing tricks on me. Grief is new every moment, constantly changing with the evolving course of events going on day-to-day. The movement from “treatment” to “hospice” has been cataclysmic in both my mother and myself. Thoughts that were so clear to me just a couple of days ago are now vague and elusive. My thoughts and feelings won’t consent to being bound up in words. I try to tie them down only to have them slip away into meaninglessness. What flowed from my fingers so easily two days ago is dammed up somewhere inside me and won’t come out. Maybe because the grief would overwhelm me if I remembered her as she once was, any cogent organization of her memories has been wiped from my mind.
Maybe it is becaue I can’t seem to honor our original agreement and write my mother’s memories without judging them and I can’t afford to judge her right now. There is no past and there is no future; I’m now caught up in the nowness of her dying. Now I can only attempt to love her and care for her as best as my crippled heart can muster. Maybe in five minutes it’ll be different.
So what is left, besides the work of the care and the waves of grieving, is the coping.
Virginia Satir said, “Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” And I’ve been coping a long time with my mother’s illness. It hasn’t been an easy road. I think it has taken every ounce of my faith to stay true to my purpose to love this woman as Christ would have me do. I haven’t even one gram left over for any religiosity of any kind. I think this has been a bit of a shock to some people who know me.
Under stress, I cuss. A lot. Some people eat when they are stressed out. I cuss. And I exercise. I make my body sweat and hurt to distract me from the pain inside. I’ve always been prone to exercise so I know that this works for me. At least when this is over my butt will look nice.