I was overwhelmed with memories and gratitude. The big guy (my hubby) kept asking me why I was so quiet.
–> I was in a mode of reflection. All day, and most of the break.
I enjoyed being with my family (and several extended family members and oodles of Holden’s now-college-aged-friends), grateful that all six of us were together.
It was just a year ago that we very sadly took Bruce, my father-in-law, to live out the remainder of his life in the nursing home. He died on May 17th, barely a shadow of the man he had once been.
Alzheimer’s does that to a person. The disease begins slowly, robbing a person of their memory and eventually their ability to function at any level. But the soul peeks through, providing glimpses of that fine loved person—keeping loved ones connected to the human who is decimated, almost unrecognizable. While the patient dies, a slow disconnected death, those who live on struggle to come to terms with their grief and letting go and the inability to say, “Good-bye.” It was over a decade-long, emotionally-draining “good-bye” for us.
“Good-bye.”—I don’t like the expression. There’s a certain permanence to it. I don’t say good-bye to my kids; I do ask (and pray for) them to stay safe though. Instead I say, “I love you.”
I said good-bye to my brother the day before his first death, not knowing that it was. I didn’t get to speak to John before he died again. I wish I could have. I know John heard me say I loved him before I said good-bye because he said, “I love you too, sis.”
In the profound sadness and the grief that can swallow you whole as you let go, there is the light of gratitude and thankfulness—for the lessons, the love, joy, laughter, and guidance. I didn’t say “good bye” to my mom or McCoy or Bruce. Instead I said, “I love you. I’m thankful you were part of my life’s journey.”
Obviously, like many, I occasionally wander around in my memories and the mishmash of sorrow and gratitude. The emotions settle down, becoming more nimble on their “feet.” And I become accustomed to the “new steps” and dance in the light.