This Caregiver’s Game

Saturday January 28, 2012

There’s a children’s game I used to play called Mancala. The long wooden board had six scooped-out cups on each player’s side and larger “home” pits on each end. It is based on a primitive game, variations played throughout the ages by children everywhere, in which the players fill and count their beans, stones or seeds into each cup. In the beginning you have one bean in the first cup, two in the second cup and so forth.  This simple game prepares you to think ahead (where will my last bean land?) and strategize (what can I place beans in the opponent’s way to mess up their count) and learn to count, add and subtract.

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Going with the Flow

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nanette Griffin’s birthday. It is really much easier to remember the birthdays of people I went to elementary school with than the grandchildren’s. Why is it? Or do I just remember January birthdays because my own slides through, usually quietly, after the new year. (I also remember Ruthie Priester, Elvis and Richard Nixon. Once we get to Martin Luther King, I suppose, much like New Year resolutions, the dates drop off!) I was noticeably more honored on my birthday this year than in the past with the company of friends and family, phone calls, small gifts, plus dinner and lemon meringue pie. It is nice to be loved.

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Confusion Appears

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I understand that confusion is a rather normal symptom at the end of life. However, I usually find this attributed to the patient more than the caregiver. Dave has shown  bits of confusion, but I am beginning to think I have more than him!

I am confused. I am confused about Dave’s state of health. I confused about how to take care of my own self, even in knowing what I should do. I am confused by how grief is so distracting. I am conflicted about all the in-betweens.
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Still Here

Saturday December 31, 2011

Yes, of course, it’s the last day of 2011. Looking backward, looking forward. We all do this; it’s predictable and the topic can be anticipated in any blog or journal, public and private.

I have been fighting myself all week. Depressed? Exhausted? Post holiday again? My motivation and energy extend just to me and Dave, the bare minimum of care and feeding of us both. And this morning… it is the last day of 2011, ready or not. That means tomorrow I face a new year, a new beginning, right?

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Through the Doorway

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Aaaaarhg. I’d love to let out a good long scream. Maybe that would help in some way.

I’ve had a million narratives in my mind this morning with my two cups of coffee. I really must go back to my half-decaf blend. I think too much. (However, it is nice to be a brilliant poet in those moments!)
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Today, Five Minutes at a Time

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gotta write. If nothing else just to do something productive. I have a desire to scream and withdraw. Less today than yesterday, and probably less after I release these noises in my head. My jabbering voice. My noisy heartbeat. My ears. The squeaky joints.  Now I have a limp to accompany the vestibular challenge.
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Is It Time to Grieve Yet?

Monday, November 14, 2011

We, individuals, really do process death differently. That goes for impending death, too.

Last Friday when Leah was over, she mentioned having a “family meeting.” That is, all the six kids would be gathering on Sunday (yesterday) to talk about taking care of Dave. It was a bit of a shocker – well, more perplexing to me – and as Dave noted, he would have thought this type of meeting would happen when he was half-comatose.
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Tides of the Season

Sunday November 6, 2011

Time keeps marching on whether I want it to or not. It’s the height of holiday season now that we have passed Halloween.

We have lots of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood – well over 100. I buy two huge Costco bags of candy and some non-food item, usually pencils. It’s a surprise for the kids and parents usually. Halloween is just plain fun and entertainment to me. Dave was upstairs of course and Leah was with her friends, so it was just me left to answer the door. And really, just me. In past years I’ve had to hook up Lucky dog on the leash and he would nose his way out the door and greet the kids. As a medium sized shepherd mix he could look some of the younger kids in the eyes. He was always gentle and let the kids pet him. In fact they pretty much had to get through him to the candy bowl. I missed him this year.
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