Remember that old song by Gilbert O’Sullivan? It was playing on the radio this morning and is stuck in my head. Perhaps because Lisa’s been gone for a couple of days.
I’ve decided that I’m no good without her. Oh, sure, I made it alone before and would make it alone again if I had to but what makes me no good without her right now is that my routine and everything familiar to me is off with her gone. I don’t sleep well. I don’t eat well. Nothing seems normal.
But the good news is that, at least so far, we haven’t had any major coffee incidents like we did in January. In fact, I actually remembered to put the coffee on last night!
Lisa left Saturday morning for Pennsylvania. She told me that she cried a lot, off and on, during the 4 hour drive down. The closer she got to home, the more tearful she became. So, just outside of her hometown, she decided she had to pull off the road and just get it out of her system before she got to her mother’s house. She pulled into the cemetary where her grandmother was buried almost two years ago and where her grandfather will be buried today. As she sat there wiping away her tears and trying to pull herself together, her cell phone rang. It was her mother.
Now, Lisa’s mother knows that we have had difficulty with getting a cell signal through those winding mountains and country towns. So, when Lisa answered the phone, Lisa’s mother says “You’re not in a dead zone are you?” Lisa began laughing raucously and said “In fact, I am.” While relating this to me she said, “In a few days when things settle down a bit, I’m pretty sure Mom will think it’s funny, too.”
Apparently just yesterday morning Mom was talking to Lisa’s sister on the phone and telling her about that conversation, and laughed and giggled while telling it. Sometimes dark humor, at a time like this, is a good thing. And that’s one of a bazillion things I love about Lisa is that quick wit and her willingness to step over a line that some stuffier people might think shouldn’t be stepped over.
I’m concerned about Lisa’s mother now.
For years she has been the caregiver for her elderly parents. She spent countless hours preparing meals, washing and setting her mother’s hair, carrying them to medical appointments, setting up their meds, giving them insulin shots, testing their blood sugar levels, cleaning their house, doing their laundry — everything they needed her to do. Lisa’s mother is only 66 but is an insulin dependent diabetic and has had other health issues, including open-heart surgery 3 years ago.
Almost two years ago, when her mother’s health began to decline rapidly, the decision was made to put her in a nursing care facility because she was unresponsive, wouldn’t eat or take in fluids. She was mad — she had gotten to the point where she was disappointed to wake up each morning and just wanted to “go to sleep and not wake up.” She was 91 years old. Lisa’s mother had her father in the car one day, taking him to see his wife when a young kid pulled out in front of her, causing a wreck. Lisa’s grandfather’s arms were broken (from bracing for impact) and one of his thumbs was fractured — he required surgery for his injuries and, while recuperating from surgery, his wife passed away. Up until that point, Lisa’s grandfather had still been driving.
Since her mother’s death, Lisa’s mother has cared for her father with the help of home health aides, because of the level of care he has needed. He could no longer drive and, I’ve said all along, that accident took a lot of life out of him. But then again, so did the death of his wife (to whom he had been married for 68 years at her death). The past two years have taken quite a toll on Lisa’s mother and, on Thursday night, I felt a sense of relief for Lisa’s mother.
Lisa told me yesterday, however, that her father (who is around 78) is now acting “goofy.” He seems unfamiliar with local roads when driving. Decided on a correct turn and made the turn, even though the light was red. He often seems disoriented. Early onset dementia? Gosh, I certainly hope not, for Lisa’s mother’s sake. That poor woman needs a break and needs to be able to live her own life without having the ship steered by someone she must carry through life’s basic functions.
Hopefully she’ll get one from family crises for a while now.
As I write this, the funeral services are being held for Lisa’s grandfather. I feel bad that I’m not there but Lisa and I agreed that by not going with her, I don’t reduce the amount of flexibility she has as far as the time she can stay down there to be with and help her mother through this. Were I to have gone with her, she would have had to return by Tuesday or Wednesday. This way, she can stay as long as she wants/needs to.
I miss her. Bad.