Past three weeks. For five years Marsena’s been caring for The Great Aunt, almost 89, and she can’t do it anymore. Her margins are gone. Plus she needs to find work. Denis and I have been here now almost a month. Helping make decisions. We’re so grateful there’s a beautiful memory care place The Aunt loves – she’s been there for respite care and can’t say enough good about it. The food! The comfort! The staff! Alzheimer’s makes you look at someone you know and love and even though you tell yourself this is not the person she used to be, nor is it the person she will be someday, you still get heart-sick, worried, even annoyed and you hate like anything to get drawn into petty arguments and corrections about whatever and yet you do. Or at least, I have. In my head, anyway, I’ve told her off. Sorry.
Day before yesterday. It’s time to move to assisted care. AR is angry and terrified. Any kind of change has always been a phobic catalyst. In these later stages of Alzheimer’s it’s worse. She’s lost the ground of who she is and what she can do. She’s saying dreadful things about Marsena. Doesn’t want to see her again. Threatening to have her “agents” on the east coast rescue her. She wants to go back to Mass. She HATES Autumn Leaves. She doesn’t want to see anyone. Her heart is broken, ours, too. We haven’t found ways to comfort her. Sorting through the remainder of her things is sad. The accumulation of possessions – how they’re too much at the end of life. But perhaps this is inevitable even when you clarify and eliminate, there’s still stuff. The staff at Autumn Leaves are saying give time, give time. Transition sometimes takes a few weeks. We hope so, we hope so.
Yesterday. Watching the Vikings play. Ah, love that Brett. Denis is under an afghan and drinking coffee. Marsena is downstairs doing a little work on the apartment, it helps her to be busy. We’ll be helping with more of that tomorrow. Denis is feeling worse today, sadder. I’m better, so that’s good.
Today. When I’m sick with a bad cold I drown in hot lemon tea with honey, so soothing. Today Psalm 103 is lemon honey. God’s love: forgives, heals, redeems, crowns with love and compassion, satisfies, works righteousness, justice, is great, from everlasting to everlasting. Praise for the soul. Praise for God. Haven’t seen The Aunt for three days, the staff advised letting her settle in first. We pray and pray.
Later. I went for the first visit. I'm scared. I observed her a moment, watching her in a comfy chair, her feet up, watching TV with others, (something none of us could do all day, which annoyed her no end). I saw her laugh. When I touched her, she looked up and beamed, “I was praying someone would come by to cheer me, and here you are! Where’s Marsena?!”