SERIES: LETTERS I NEVER WROTE
I cannot image my life without you. I know that day is going to come and it is all in God’s timing. Now, I sit here and am processing what life will look like and feel like when my Tuesday and Thursday nights are no longer spent with you.
I began staying with you somewhat as an obligation and somewhat by choice. I am a teacher and have the summer off and had more time available than your full time working daughters. As I stayed with you, I found myself fighting to spend more time with you. I am so glad that I did, and now we have settled into a routine of me staying with you on Tuesdays and Thursdays because that’s when my hubby works.
There have been times when your dementia and stubbornness have frustrated me to the point of tears, but of course I didn’t show you that. I am not sure you would understand why it is in turn frustrating for me. Simple things like using the bathroom have become things that you need to be reminded about. Because of these reminders and with you having someone stay with you so often, your independence was pretty much ripped out from under you. I see you fighting for as much independence as you can get.
There have been times when you have created quite a mess during the day and in the middle of the night. You do your best to clean it up but you’re ultimately making it much worse. But before I realize what I get to clean up or how long it might take, I see how mortified you are that someone has to help you in that situation. I can only imagine what it would feel like if I were in your position.
Probably my favorite time with you is from 7-8pm, because it is when I feel like I am somehow helping you. From 7pm to 8pm Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are on TV. We watch together and do our best to solve puzzles and answer questions. Many times as you are watching the TV, I am watching you. I am watching your brain work. I am watching you try so hard. And I am secretly hoping that the stimulation of your brain is helping you, helping you stay with us for a little bit longer. Usually while we are watching, you notice Grandpa’s picture which is right below the TV. You talk about the necklace he gave you and his last words to you. You tell me how much you miss him and that you wish he was here. As I watch your heart break, mine breaks a little too. Seeing the pain in your face and in your heart leaves me speechless. After a few minutes, all I can muster is the same thing I always say, “I miss him too.”
During our most recent mess in the middle of the night, you were so frustrated and embarrassed and you said, “I wish I were dead.” It was the first time I had heard you say that and it was like a reality slap in the face that you won’t be around much longer. You just turned 92 and God is waiting for you…so is Grandpa. When you join them, my Tuesdays and Thursdays will be so different. I will again be alone on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You have filled a giant void, filled it with so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. You have filled it with immense love and stories of the past. You have filled it with glasses of red wine and chocolate. You have filled it with memories of grandpa and your life together with him. You have filled it with lessons in humility, thankfulness, feistiness, dedication, and a fight for life. My Tuesdays and Thursdays will never be the same as these past few months. I am so thankful for them and wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love you.