Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Sometimes Grandma Scares Me"

Those were the words of my son, who is 15. I know what he means. Mom rarely laughs or smiles or shows any type of expression. And sometimes she looks right through you with her eyebrows slightly bent and her mouth firmly set, and no kidding, it is scary. I've noticed it, but not said anything, but Eric has begun to get bothered by this look. The same week, Dad said the same thing. "I don't know whether she's goin' to kill me or what. I don't think she'd really do anything, but the way she looks sometimes, it scares the hell out of me!" I do know. And last time I took her photo, she was giving that, "I'm going to kill you," look when I clicked the button. I decided not to post it. As Dad says, "It gives me the 'heebee jeebies."

So, I told them both the same thing. I said, "You know Grandma, (or Mom), left a long time ago. We are taking care of her body, as kind of a memorial to honor her, but she's not there anymore. You are looking at flesh and blood only." I told them that people weren't meant to walk around in their bodies without their minds working. "We're not used to seeing that, and that is what makes it scary," I said, "Different is sometimes scary."

I continued to tell Eric, "You know.....someday.....something is going to happen to Grandma's body and it won't be good. I'm not sure what will happen, but it will. And when it does, it's not going to be that terrible of a thing. We have lost Grandma already, and we grieve. But this body that walks around like a ghost and sometimes makes very scary faces....it's not her.....and it's ok.

Long Time, No Blog

Well, what's to write? Days turn into weeks, that turn into months, and we just keep paddling and waiting. What we're waiting for nobody wants to know, but we wait and time passes.

I did take Mom to see the dress rehearsal of "Fiddler on the Roof" that Devri performed in this March. Mom has passed the point that she can sit still through an entire show, so we went to rehearsal, instead. When Devri was on stage Mom was very attentive. When she exited, each time, Mom decided to leave. So, in those small intervals when Devri was not performing, we walked. We walked around the auditorium. We walked back and forth in the foyer, again and again and again and again. We walked every row of chairs starting at the top and zig-zagging all the way down to the bottom and made the return trip from bottom to top. When Devri came back on stage we sat and watched, and when she danced with the Rabbi, Mom even laughed. Otherwise, though, she timed her exits to perfect synchronization with Devri's.

The following Friday, Christine took Dad up to watch the performance and I stayed with Mom. When I first mentioned the idea of Dad going without Mom, he was stunned that I would suggest it and then very depressed saying, "Don't you think Doris would want to go?" I told him I'd take her during rehearsal, but to think about it. "Mom might be ok, but you'll be a nervous wreck," I said. He responded with an "I guess that's so." So, he went with Christine and told Mom "goodbye" but I noticed he did not tell her he was going to watch Devri perform. He said, "I'm leaving for a while and I'll be right back." When he returned, he looked rejuvenated and like a very proud grandpa. It will be hard for him to learn to do things without Mom, but it must eventually happen. He cannot stop living because of this disease. But sometimes I think he wants to.