Thursday, April 9, 2009

What do I Want?

No question about it; these last few months have sucked the wind from my sails leaving me with an image in the mirror that makes me turn away quickly; I don't like what I see. She's beaten down, tired out, and aging fast.

It started in 2006 and we are well into 2009. Almost three years of a roller coaster ride of emotion, pain of loss, need for physical stamina and hands-on attention, and never ending lessons that leave me feeling that all of us could have done this "better". I can't fault myself or my family; we just didn't know. We had no idea what the phenomenon of end of life aging was all about until we lived it, breathed its unpredictability, and negotiated with forces stronger than all of us combined. No matter money. No matter street savvy. No matter a nubbin of experience (being a doctor). No matter consultation and "best advice".

So what is it that I want from this place of not-so-quiet desperation?

The sad fact is, I can't even say. Because, I don't have a clue. I've learned not to wish for specifics or even generalities because if it's not in the cards, it's just not in the cards. This is a wave that (likely) requires less steering and more surrender. Ahhh, that fine line that I continue to explore.


  1. Oh Kate, I wish you strength and comfort.

  2. Surrender. Now that is a tough one. I wish you breathing space in which to find that surrender, Kate.

    And I hope the migraines have gone.

  3. I wonder if the end-of-life experience is like the beginning-of-life experience ~ each one is different, so there are few certainties. We do the best we can with what we've got. It seems to me that the love your family has and the way you care for each other is everything anyone could ask for. I hope you are able to find the balance you seek.

  4. As I read I was thinking of telling you to relax and let things happen as they may....but then you reached that conclusion yourself at the end. "This is a wave that (likely) requires less steering and more surrender." - You're wiser than you know (and wiser than me!)

  5. Oh how I hear you.

    You are not alone.

  6. I second that San Diego Momma said. You write very well about what I found too painful and exhausting to even attempt to describe. The minute I had any free moment from caregiving and family politics and all the big emotions, issues, decisions etc... I wanted to forget it, out of a sense of survival/self-reservation.

    My mother has had a form of Alz/myofarct dementia for 15 years now... my father, who finally passed away last year, had increasing dementia and neurological issues for 5 long years. Imagine dealing with the two at the same time! Both also had/have all the other complexities that happen as the body ages and slowly systems and organs and senses fail.

    We too had the resources you mention and still, it takes an at times crushing toll on all around like you've so accurately described. It is quite hard to relax, to take it all in stride, etc... The task for me was to find beauty in my current life, relish in my comparative health and youth no matter that all this had taken quite a toll on both, and be in the now with an almost ironic kind of appreciation because of being witness to where life CAN go, now that you've seen it. I also accepted that one day it would all be over, and it would not be on my plate as steady fare, again.

    At times, I find hope in being determined to be a different kind of person, and live the end of my life differently... I can do that, but only if I have my marbles. No promises there. THAT's where I stop, relax, surrender and appreciate the exact second I'm living in, and that is the only way I've been able to find much in terms of peace. You are certainly not alone...


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