I am always depressed when the kids go back to school. Whether I am working full time out of the house or working as a full time Mom, the feeling is the same. It is a sign of time passing, a reminder we didn’t get everything in over the summer that I had hoped and planned to and the start of another year of pushing them further out of the house.
Jim is now the stay at home Dad and he gets to spend a lot more time with the kids than I do. For that, I am jealous of him. That used to be me and when I was fortunate enough to be home with them I don’t think I appreciated it the way I should have.
It seems to be a human inclination: you never appreciate what you have until it is gone.
The torturous part about this whole Alzheimer’s journey is the knowing what is coming. So I KNOW I should be appreciating what stage Jim is in now: knowing it will only get worse. I tell myself daily not to think too far ahead (which is very difficult for me not to do). Yet at the same time, I can’t focus on the past because I will then compare the new Jim with the old Jim and that isn’t fair or healthy. So I am trying to concentrate on the present. Talk about a difficult task. Staying only in the present is almost impossible for me while raising a family. I am not supposed to think of how bad it is going to be or comparatively speaking how good it was. My natural inclination is to be positive and upbeat. Some days I am not sure my natural inclinations shine through.
How do you deal with the NOW, plan for what you know is coming and appreciate how good life is right at this moment? As if I don’t have enough on my plate, I have to figure all of my emotional right and wrongs out as well.
Recently I received a wonderful message from someone very special. Someone I have known a long time who lost her own mother to ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I would like to take just a moment to let you know what a truly wonderful person her Mom was. I have never met a person so honest, loving and just one of a kind. Her smile radiated happiness and love and she never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Ever. I am so glad I met her and I often think back to conversations we had or to her smile and contemplate how I handle things versus how she handled things. The last visit we had before she passed away was one full of laughs, even though she was unable to speak or move. Her eyes. For the first time in my life I could actually see someone laugh with their eyes. You read this in novels all the time, but I have never been able to read someone’s eyes. Until that day with her. I saw love, happiness and laughter in her eyes. She was leaving behind 3 beautiful daughters and it was heartbreaking. But her attitude made it so much easier for those that loved her and cared about her. I want to be able to do the same for Jim and those that care so deeply about us.
This is an excerpt from the e-mail I received:
… I went to a shrink for a while and he taught me the phrase ‘anticipatory grief’ which is exactly what it sounds like. You know what’s coming (somewhat) and in gearing up for what’s ahead you find yourself feeling the things that you think you will feel down the road. Basically mourning someone when they’re still around. I know this doesn’t really help but it’s a name for it, anyways. And in a way it helped me beat myself up less for being so depressed because I understood what I was feeling a little more and it was easier to be at peace with it.
So, I am sharing this with all of you in the hopes that you will love yourself a little more and in the process I will love myself a little more.