…denial helps us minimize the overwhelming pain of loss. As we process the reality of our loss, we are also trying to survive emotional pain.
I do not want to mourn for my mother while she is yet alive…but I do…every day.. I want to coach her onto her feet again, but she won’t even try anymore…She pretends to but then when we come to her bedside to assist she says that she is too weak..she is beginning to cough now..I say to myself, “COVID19 is claiming another one…if her…than why not me?..I have been caring for her for almost 6 weeks…is this my very near future? I do not want to begin the 5 stages on myself but something inside me nags at the idea that I am in the stage of denial already…I have not been tested..i don’t have a cough..no fever…no flu like symptoms of any kind so I believe my body and don’t stress about it. Hell! I got enough stress…I got school…I got momma…I got Mo..well Mo is a necessary dependent. He helps me care for his gma…I worry about him too…We are in her face everyday…Mo…my gentle giant of a son loves his gma…he helps and has not said a word about her being positive for COVID19..I do not want to let me thoughts torment me of this being his future either…we wear the N95 masks..we wash our hands and use hand sanitizer when leaving her room..I pray this is not a stage of denial..If so I got some shit I want to make sure is heard before I go out into the universe to discover there has gotta be something better than this!!!!
I would still take care of my momma knowing that it would kill me too..No regrets…If I have my way she will die with me holding her hand..we were not always sweet to one another…We both failed to meet each others needs at times…momma always loved me…I always loved her and I will continue to love her until I die…she was good to me…I guess there is really no way that I can hold off the grieving for momma while watching her want so badly to get out of that bed and not being able to even bend her legs or her waist…it is as if rigor mortis is setting in slowly and her mind and heart have not accepted death…so she lays in the bed in a partially paralyzed body…it hurts momma…to watch you fight…hurts to see you hurt…i wish I could do more to comfort you…even hugs hurt you…i kiss you on the forehead and say to you, “I love you momma.” I will leave you so you can rest now…every time you say,”I love you too.” I hope that it is not the last time…
I read somewhere that writers are their most productive, or insightful in the wee hours of the night. I cannot help but acknowledge this statement to be true for me. I am a writer. I used to think that one day I would become a writer, but everyday I am writing something! Now I don’t count to do lists and grocery lists in there just FYI! It may be only in my head sometimes because my hands are full and I can’t write at the moment. Yet and still every day I write.
I am enrolled in an advanced writing course this semester and I am assigned a few papers to write. I know that my instructor can critique and teach me things that will aid me in my writing but I am having it hard sitting down to write for class. It feels constricting. I want to think and ruminate on whatever is on my mind and write. I want and need the instruction, because I want to be a successful and hopefully a paid writer someday. Some folks will say that many successful authors were not formally educated and I know that already. I am a student and I want to take advantage of what University can do for me. My mind state needs to change to that frequency instead of the slave one that I am on! SMH!
It is 5:03 am…I have been up since 2 am. when my son came to my door and asked for help with grandma. “She has been crying out for help for 2 hours now, and I don’t know what she needs ” he says. We go in her room together and roll her over to her opposite hip. The nurse informed me that she should never lie on her back because of the diabetic ulcer on her tailbone. Of course I wouldn’t leave her laying on her back anymore after the night. I found her choking on her own bile because she was too weak to roll over!
Oh momma…I’m so sorry that you are clinging to life in this sick and decaying body. It is hard to watch my momma die. I am having a rough time typing because my vision is blurred by the tears welling up in my eyes. I brought her home from the home because I wanted to be with her when she died. I didn’t want her to be in a covid restricted nursing home where I could not sit at her bedside and hold her hand. Caring for her myself is hard, and I know that I am overwhelmed, but I want mommy to be at home. She loves this house and wants to be here. Life will carry on for me beyond hers I think. You never really know though do you? Who’s to say that I will outlive her? She may be older, sicker, and closer to death than me but it means nothing. I am hoping that I do outlive her. At least long enough to hold her hand when she goes. I love you momma… I dont want you to ever die but I know that you can’t stay so I will be here for you now. Although it hurts to watch you struggle to move, and cry out in pain I will keep telling you that it will be ok. I will keep telling you that I will be fine and you don’t need to worry. You did a great job raising me, even though I gave you shit on the regular! I am glad that I have you and I want to be sure that you know that you are loved and cherished by your baby girl Vickie
Imagine you’re in a deserted place. It’s quiet with exception to the wind and everything around you appears to have survived the apocalypse. You squint your eyes as you do a quick survey of your surroundings. The sunshine is bright even though its rays shine grey because of the overcast. The winds’ whistles are alternately sounding off between gusts of dust and tumbleweeds whipping through. You look for the breeze to refresh you but instead it encourages beads of sweat to run into your eyes. You continue to walk down the road scanning the horizon for life and some evidence that you are not alone to no avail.
As days turn into weeks you settle into your new normal. Every day is the same. You wake up early and search for food and hope that this is the day that you find someone else wandering around looking for you. You walk around the abandoned buildings looking through remnants of yesterday. The thought crosses your mind of how you used to wish for a few minutes to yourself. Your life was always commanding your attention. Mom needed your help with preparing a meal, or your daughter wanted to show you the picture she drew at school. No longer do you have to rush to be on time cause you’ve got more time than you can stand and it’s a lonely life.
The day comes along when the sun shines brighter than before. You’re not sure what is going to happen but you know that something has got to give. Your life just couldn’t be meant to be lived out alone.
You’re walking along a dusty street and you notice the streetlight change to “Walk”. Startled you think to yourself have they been working the whole time? You turn around to return to your makeshift home in a office building and you bump into him.
What the hell? You think and you back up a bit to get a glimpse of the stranger. He’s quite ordinary, about the same height as you but definitely more muscular. The time that has elapsed since you last saw another human being strongly affects your perception. If your loneliness was hunger, and his presence was food you would be drooling over the sight and aroma of this feast!
“How long have you been here?” The stranger asks. “I don’t know. Where did you come from?” You say. “ I honestly don’t know how long I have been here. I’ve lost track of time.” You exchange words. You compare notes. Neither of you really knows what happened to everyone else but you are grateful to have found each other.
The stranger stays with you. He had, like you, been wandering around looking for someone else for longer than he cared to remember.
With no one else around besides the two of you, you begin to form a relationship. You talk and get to know each other. You discover this stranger is attractive and not just because he’s the only man on earth! He speaks with an eloquent tone and you are pleased to witness his movements and you listen. It’s not long before you notice his energy drawing you in and you want to touch him and do things to please him. You’re so excited about it that you have to share with him. You spoil the mood by talking too much and he doesn’t want to discourage you so he just sits there and suffers through it. He watches your lips move as you speak and he hears sounds coming from your mouth but all he can think about is how soft those lips would feel wrapped around his dicc.
He smiles and nods when it seems the inflection in your speech summons a response. Still hearing you but detecting no language at all. Finally, he interrupts you, he takes a moment to touch your face causing you to catch your breath. He stares into your eyes as if to inspect your soul and you fall in love in that moment. It was through no effort of his to win your heart but you fell in love. He did nothing extraordinary nor did he earn it but you gave him your heart. Why? It’s simple.
Is the sound of a death rattle like the smell of rotting flesh? Like when first you detected the smell of a dead body somehow you knew… I awoke to find momma had vomited again and was wet and clammy. I cleaned up around her and cut the soaking wet shirt off of her.
She’s dead weight right now, almost.
She was breathing and sleeping quietly when I found her laying in her own vomit… I have lost count of how many times I’ve been here… I am growing weary of watching her suffer… I know that the day will come when I won’t have her to care for anymore…Soon the day will come when I wish she could be here for me like she was all my life.
Momma has always been good to me. Not always nice and sweet but good to me. I fantasize about that day you know? The day when I want to see her and talk to her and laugh about whatever. I reminisce on those days already…momma has been sick for a very long time. We haven’t sat and watched a western in over a year…I am so delirious and sleep deprived that I don’t remember what we watched the night I brought momma home (from the Covid-19 ravaged nursing home) one month and 6 days ago.
I am listening to the music on my phone right now as I sit on my couch and type this note in the dark…I don’t want to hear momma snoring and breathing like she is right now… I don’t want to be awake for this…she’s coughing and all I can think is COVID-19 is killing her. I don’t want to, but the next question is will this be me a month from now? Such an awful state this world is in…still I would hate to leave it… I think 🤔
Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”
The author’s argument is that sometimes things that we face in life, especially the ones that seem to have an impossible end, we are most successful at when the end goal is to do the very best that we can, instead of deciding that it would be too difficult to try at all. *
I must take a stand in support of this author and his statement because, as I am a returning college student (at 50 years old), the primary direct caretaker to my very sick 83- year-old mother. She was admitted into a skilled nursing facility in November of 2019 after falling and breaking her leg in the hallway. I have been taking care of her since 2005 when she was being discharged from the hospital after having suffered a gangrenous gall bladder infection. This infection caused her to need surgery. While being discharged the doctor recommended a skilled nursing home because she lived alone.
Once Momma heard that she could not go home she became inconsolable. Stating, “I just want to go home!” I was trapped in an abusive marriage because I only had a part time job. Momma needing a room mate and my needing a place to stay proved to be a good opportunity for the both of us. However, it would not be easy because momma and I never see eye to eye on anything! I always thought that she was just deluded and stuck in the ways and beliefs of her generation, and that she couldn’t understand my plight. Now that she is very sick with COVID-19, and bed bound I understand that I cannot take as good care of her physical body as a skilled nursing unit with numerous CNA’s and nurses, but I can have a good attitude about the subpar physical care that I am providing her is unmatched by the emotional and spiritual care she is getting here. Momma fights me everyday when I try to encourage her out of the bed. She keeps saying, “I can’t do it!” I keep saying “Well if you have already decided that you cannot then you will not.” A few days ago, I got her to stand up out of the bed. After reminding her that she had just been given a blood transfusion, and how that new blood has the power of life in it and that her legs were stronger than before. I coached her into believing that she could trust her legs, and she did, and she stood up and used her bedside commode. This is another confirmation that success is more about your attitude towards a certain task than it is about your actual performance. I believe that I can be successful at caring for my dying mother because I am doing it. I am not constantly complaining about how difficult it is to attend University, take care of a bed bound incontinent 200 lb. elderly, cranky, dementia-plagued mother, with some semblance of a life for myself (what little there is) and that is to me success.
Momma believed me when I told her that the blood transfusion made her stronger, and that she was no longer as weak as she was before she got the blood. I encouraged her to trust her legs and stand up, because the blood would give her the strength to stand. She stood that day. Her attitude shifted from defeat to success because she believed me and trusted her legs.
There goes the damn rooster! It’s 4:53 AM I’m awake probably two hours now. Waking up early like this is how it’s going to be from now on I’m pretty sure so, I do my YouTube thing and watch videos. I find one about the Caribbean. Daydreaming about visiting…then a royal Caribbean cruise ship, well actually it was five Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The videos narrators, two guys Ben and David I think their names were and they were introducing to the world the five new cruise ships in the royal Caribbean line of 2021. My thoughts go to first the two cruise ships that I missed out on. Paid for, but did not make it in time to get on the boat, nor collected a refund for that I missed. Smh…
And then I think about the cruise that I actually got to take and they were all in the Caribbean the last one was in 2015 when me and my friend went to to Jamaica which was really the biggest draw to this cruise. And for me it ended up being the biggest drawback, because my dumb ass smoked a Doobie in the van with her and an Islander who was also our tour guide! That shit had me so fucking paranoid that I couldn’t even enjoy the high so, I made a big ass fuss until my friend had the man to take us back to the boat! We went back to the boat hours early from when we were to depart! We missed out on seeing Jamaica because I got high and paranoid spoiled it! The plan was always to go back this time stay at a resort for at least a week so that we may see the luxurious beautiful Jamaica that you see in the advertisements.
It used to be fun and enjoyable to look at and watch these videos about vacation destinations however, COVID-19… I believe I can tell you the honest truth and say not a day goes by without me saying that I hate it here and I want to go back to the 80’s! Oh and I say at least a few times a week we are now in the world of the hunger games! I’ll proceed with thought from there to look at other movies like The book of Eli and get real anxious… is that post apocalyptic fictional movie a premonition born from the producers who wrote the story or is it an actual prediction of the world coming on horizon?
I think I need to talk to somebody. At four am, three am, and most of the time there’s really no one there except you…I remember a time when it was you and even though you can’t speak back to me, interact with me, as another human being can, say a therapist could do… you helped me like a mirror gives you a chance to see the spec on your face you wouldn’t see otherwise.. I don’t know man sometimes well I’m having a hard time seeing you to be really useful this time around…partly because I’m holding on to stuff that I don’t really want to release even though it’s like I’m holding hot coals in my hands and it is burning the fuck out of me, but I don’t want to let go, but I have to because it’s killing me! I don’t know how to start the conversation this time… I still remember I think his name was Terry… it’s funny I thought about him for a time or two before and couldn’t remember his name but it came to me so clearly just now.
Terry was the first therapist I ever got to talk to. I think he was a marriage and family therapist. I had a Doctor Who worked on the medical side of the clinic that I was working in at the time that referred me to Terry one day when I went to work crying the whole way there with a knot in my chest. I had no explanation as to why I was sobbing so terribly that it was shaking my body. I was heaving between sobs and barely able to catch my breath… I got to the office Terry’s office building. I sat down and talked to Terry. I was not sobbing so much any more. I was relieved to be away from work because it was too much for me to deal with. It seems anything really was too much to deal with that day. Mind you it was just an ordinary day. There was no anniversary of any bad experiences. No trauma of any kind. I don’t even know what day of the week it was. Doesn’t matter what it was like a Wednesday I suppose. Yet I was crying like I just got the worst news like somebody I loved was gone or something that extreme.
I’m sitting in the office and Terry comes in and introduces himself. I remember he was a firefighter and during a rescue he was injured on the job. He broke his neck and could no longer be a firefighter. He went back to school and became a therapist. Inspiring story…he then asked me about myself and I told him of my own recent accomplishment of moving to the east coast and living in a dorm for 2 years, apart from my 3 young children, and my recently deceased husband whom had died just 3 weeks prior to my first day of school. Terry applauded my efforts to be a good parent and secure a productive future for them. Terry then broke the news to me about my crying issue this day.
By burying my husband and leaving behind my children and my home and all that was associated with the life that I knew, I was able to put off dealing with my loss until…later… I attended the university and earned my degree. Two of the roughest and exciting, sometimes boring, sometimes cold and depressing years of my life. Grieving, Terry said, is inevitable. You’re a special person Vickie…not many people who could do what you did. The mental fortitude it takes to put the grief of losing your husband, kids, and the only life that you knew to move across the country and earn a degree is not common…but grief must be done…it’s one of those things in life that is like a baptism by fire. Terry’s diagnosis for my uncontrollable sobs this ordinary Wednesday? I was grieving…2 years later after everyone else that knew and loved Marlon had already grieved and moved on… I had to catch up and I can’t tell you what triggered it but my broken heart for the loss of my husband burst and spilled out of me in quiet heaving sobs… Do you think that is what I am doing now as I care for my 83 year old bed bound and very sick momma? I’m not sobbing… I don’t have time for that! Momma can barely feed herself. I roll her in the bed every 4 to 5 hours to change her adult diaper. She weighs 170 and my hands are weakened with carpal tunnel syndrome smh. It’s painful and I can’t do anything about it. I know that a skilled nursing facility is where she should be but they neglected her…I need help and not necessarily with her… I. Need.Help.
I’m up…it’s 4:40 am. I been up probably an hour or so, and I was thinking of getting at you but I felt like I didn’t have too much to say. I’ve taken my meds and I’m laying in my bed in the dark with my phone. I went to my emails first which is crazy!!! How does anyone stay on top of this bullshit?! The one of the 3 email icons on my phone has a little balloon with the number 2920 on it! 🤦 🤦 🤦 SMH
Anyway so as I am checking my emails I come across this email from someone and it’s disappointing to read. I am really trying to make strides in the being kind and listening department in my life right now. I’m convinced that is a big part of the lesson that I am needing to learn. This person doesn’t seem to mean me any harm though, I don’t suspect, but it’s hard not to get let down with notes like these… I don’t need to be racked with the chore of explaining to someone how the rumors that they are hearing about me are untrue. Why are you talking about me to other people anyway? I guess you forgot about how I hate gossip…if you are discussing what I am doing or who I am seeing with another person that is gossip! My business is ONLY mine to tell and I don’t tell my business to anyone who I don’t think will break my trust. I’m serious I am growing very weary of “people” I figure a real detachment is in order. Like really just be here with momma and nurse and love on her and concentrate on school. I’m in two courses that require a lot of reading. I’m reading ‘Go tell it on the mountain’ by James Baldwin for my ethnic studies class and ‘Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People’ and I am enjoying both so there you go!! Buckle down and socialize them books cause people are too much to deal with!! I’m off dating! Completely! I’m going to get myself some personal solo entertainment and take care of the things in my life that require and deserve my attention. Like momma and the rest of my family.
I’m logging of social media and closing the door on the outside world. Covid19 is out there anyway. I’m seeing the virus edge it’s way around me. My friend that I used to do yard duty with announced on Facebook that her sister was really sick and hospitalized with Covid19 and that she had tested positive herself. That was last week sometime and yesterday she posted a picture of herself wearing a hospital gown with a tube up her nose with a caption that read “Pray for me” It was a haunting image for me! I don’t want to get sick and die. I know eventually I will die, but until I do I will not try to speed up the process!! I say this and ponder the idea of getting out this bed to go in the living room to smoke a cigarette! SMH!
I don’t know what to do about this friend. I mean of course I do but you don’t understand!! It’s like a compulsive disorder and I don’t know how to quit! I’m always stressing out lately. I’m dealing with the house falling apart like momma! The shower is constantly running because of the pipe in the wall needs replacing! As I begin to list the problems I am dealing with I want the cigarette!! Help?! Can anyone advise me on what to do? I have done it all from gum to Chantix!
At 5:29 am I am up and thinking about stuff. Wondering if momma is feeling better in the hospital after lying in the bed too weak to get up for 4 days straight…the morning of the 4th day I woke her and she proceeded to vomit what looked like coffee grounds. Due to my prior experience of witnessing my ex throw up what looked like coffee grounds I knew that could be serious, so I called the ambulance. Once the ambulance arrived I noticed the people who are helping me are all attractive I even commented on the blonde with the nice glue on lashes,”Gosh! Paramedics are way more attractive these days!” Afterwards, I scanned the room to see that indeed they were all attractive! All four paramedics and the two firefighters! Smh!
I’m feeling my age of half a century for real right now! Smh! Why else did they all look so attractive? I mean it’s pretty clear what’s going on here? I honestly didn’t really think about it until right this minute…they all had one thing (besides pretty masked faces) in common…they were all young.
Ruminating on the idea that they all had wore makes me wonder if I saw more than their faces? One would think that you must have a heart for people to become a health care worker, but I then recall the condition of mommas rotten feet after a year in a nursing home under Covid-19 restrictions. Mommas feet reeked of death the first few days that she was home! The day before yesterday I changed her bandages and doctored her feet and there was no longer an odor. This tells me that the diabetic ulcers on the heels of her feet were not treated in the facility. At least they were not treated like they needed to be.
Today is my first full day of no momma to care for…what to do? I’m thinking of deleting some social media from my devices. It’s become a source of heartache. I was thinking about the fact that the pandemic is forcing those of us who don’t want to become infected with Covid-19 to be antisocial. The problem is everyone that I have encountered has been either a shitty person, or in a shitty place themselves.
How else do you remedy that there is anything good coming out of it? I’m just like everyone else, a human being, to quote my advanced writing school textbook, “ Human beings are social animals, first and foremost. Other members of our species are significant to us in ways that little else in the physical world can compete with.” (Blind spot)
I want to be social. I want to have a life partner. I want someone to care about me and care for me. It seems that I am asking this world (every man I meet) for too much.
I was watching the Eddie and Arsenio movie “Coming to America” last night and the scene after they were in the bar stated my question perfectly. For those of you who live under a rock these two men (one a very wealthy prince, and his bodyguard) spend an evening in the bars searching for a potential wife for the prince. Prince Akeem asked his friend Semi, “Is it my imagination or does every woman in New York have a severe emotional problem?”
Omgee I feel like this! The people that I am meeting online are completely self-absorbed and infatuated with my appearance or the demons they are wrestling are too much for me!
I’m looking through the ones that are looking at me, and I don’t want anyone of them. Yeah there’s 7 billion people on the planet they say, but how many of them are “throw aways”?