Right here, right now.

I’ve been avoiding the page for the past two weeks because I haven’t wanted to deal with life head on. The year anniversary of the death of my brother was a couple of weeks ago–March 25. I took the day off work and drove out to Pedernales State Park to commune with nature and my brother’s memory.

DSC_0834

Pedernales River March 25, 2014

I generally don’t like people in my nature photos, but if you look closely you can see the itty bitty people standing on top of the rocks right of center, which gives some perspective as to the vastness of this place.

On my way home, I saw these little guys, so I pulled over to stop for a visit.

As spring finally appears in Central Texas, I’m only now beginning to appreciate how weighed down I’ve been by all the grief. The change of seasons is prodding me to awaken, and the fact that it’s so difficult to do so highlights grief’s impact. As I hiked around the park, I thought of Steve, and my dad, and my other brother, Mike. All the loss has changed me. Irrevocably. It had to.

I no longer know what I want from life. I don’t think I want much of anything, in fact. I don’t want to excel at my job. I want to do good work, but I don’t want to achieve, get ahead, become a star. I don’t want to pass the time in idle conversation. I don’t want to buy things. I’m not much interested in world news or politics, including Facebook bickering. It just seems so inconsequential. To me. (I did accidentally shake hands with a tea party candidate at my office last week. One who is expected to win a powerful post in my state. I felt like I’d contracted cooties, afterward.) I used to care deeply about this stuff. But many things that used to matter, don’t now.

What does matter is this beautiful rainy Sunday. The squirrel eating out of the bird feeder. The gold finches and the doves. The cat on my lap. My visit with my mother at her assisted living home yesterday. The doctor told us last week that based on her EEG results, she’s got dementia. They are starting her on Aricept and Namenda. I kept hoping her memory loss was due to grief, but it’s only getting worse. The doctor says she’s still very high functioning. And she is. But I can’t help but think of my father’s deterioration and the fact the Alzheimer’s killed him, albeit indirectly. (Disorientation caused him to fall out of bed and hit his head on a nightstand–he died a year and a half ago from a subdural hematoma, exactly a month after emergency brain surgery.) I asked them to do an MRI of my mother’s brain, which will be done next week. Hopefully it won’t reveal any additional concerns.

All of this has brought me back to a familiar spot. Wanting my mother to live and enjoy life for many years to come. But not wanting her to live long enough to make it to the devastating late stage of dementia. My father got close, but the brain injury spared him (and us) from the worst of it. And now with both my parents having been diagnosed with dementia, it’s bound to catch up with me at some point. I’m trying to stay in the present. Focus on the beautiful moments in front of me. But my mind keeps racing ahead.

Here is a photo I took last weekend, to bring me back to now.

Texas Bluebonnets

Texas Bluebonnets

About Unconfirmed Bachelorette

Unconfirmed Bachelorette, a/k/a Ella, is a 50-something-year-old lawyer who wishes fervently she could retire from the practice of law and write full time. Never-married-childfree Ella resides in Austin, Texas with her three fluffy black rescue cats and two interlopers.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's, Death and Grief, Death of a sibling, Dementia, Elderly Parents, Flowers, Grief, Hiking, Nature, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Right here, right now.

  1. parentofone says:

    I admire how well you’re holding it all together considering everything you’ve been through this past year! I think you’ve stumbled upon the secret of life that we all look for – be as happy as you can, right now, with whatever makes you happy – if that’s a cat on your lap, even better! I really sympathize with you about your mom as well, I haven’t gotten the “official” diagnosis of dementia with mine but it’s obvious, and the slow decline I witness every day is painful to watch. Now that my uncle, Mom’s brother, has been diagnosed with Alzheimers I feel as you do that I really need to take better care of myself physically to try to stave off mental problems down the line…any time I can’t remember something I think, “Oh no, it’s starting already!”

    Like

    • Thank you for reading and for your kind, empathetic words. It is painful to watch. And cats do indeed help. My mom has her cat in assisted living, and he’s great company for her. I see the symptoms in myself all the time. Dementia hypochondria is the pits. All we can do is take good care of ourselves. Happily fresh air and nature is helpful.

      Like

  2. gertmcqueen says:

    nice post! Right here, right now! yep it’s difficult to stay there! love those bluebonnets! I hear you! This winter has been very rough and I don’t mean just the weather. what’s ahead? don’t worry! it happens when it happens, in the meanwhile…do as you are…what’s right in front of you!

    here in northern NY…today finally I was able to stand outside in the sunlight without freezing or the wind knocking me down! the winter has been long and hard with several episodes I don’t ever want to see again! But, today, I feel better, not just because the spring is almost here, but because I have been able to stand upright and met whatever has come my way!

    wassail to you!

    Like

    • Sunlight and a bit of warmth for you at last! It’s in the low 50s here today. Absolutely nuts for early April in Central Texas. Sure would be nice if this means we’ll have a mild summer. I’m glad you made it through a difficult winter standing tall, Gert. May your days ahead be warm and sunny.

      Like

  3. Katie says:

    It has been a long and hard winter. Loss, depression, and general yuck. However, your bluebonnets are delightful, and that’s enough for now. Thanks for sharing them with me.

    Like

  4. mgkd3k says:

    Sending strength your way…. May you find what you really want at this time in your life sooner than later. Xo

    Like

  5. Hey, Lady! With all Sincerity, I absolutely love your posts! Even if feeling down, your humor still always makes an appearance. And it’s already demented (giggle giggle) but, in a good way. I love it! You’ve got grit. I bet you are a darn good lawyer too.

    I strongly recommend you read the book THE UNTETHERED SOUL. I found it to be spot on and think you will too.

    Take care. Don’t ever stop hiking!! And continue to sock it away in your retirement acct/Vanguard funds. You’ve already got less than 10 years to go to retirement. But who knows, it could be sooner. Life is full of surprises! Some better than others.

    Love/Nurture.

    Like

  6. You have so many difficult anniversaries. Feel for you.

    Like

  7. Denise says:

    As is so often the case, I feel much like you do; not knowing what I want…not wanting anything, really. Not wanting to waste my time, but not yet figuring out what matters. And politics – forget it. It’s all endless arguing, everyone wanting to be right. I no longer have the stomach for it, much less the heart.

    Thinking of you – so good to hear from you ;o)

    Like

  8. gertmcqueen says:

    I love the following site…when I saw this today, I thought of you

    http://aplacecalledlove.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/bluebells-ring/

    Like

  9. I know I don’t know you but I admire your take on what’s important. You are right to appreciate the rainy Sunday, the squirrel etc – some things are more important than others, usually the small, free and simple things in life are the best. Hope you don’t mind but here is a poem I wrote which features in my latest book, it’s about grief and it made me think of you. Hopefully brighter days are around the corner for you…

    TAKE TIME TO GRIEVE

    No-one can fathom the depths of grief

    No ticking clock measures the time

    No half-hearted smile hides your feelings beneath

    Don’t fool the world you are fine

    Grief and sorrow are both passageways

    We all have to walk through in life

    Like bridges, we cross, knowing better days

    Will return sure as day follows night

    Let it all out, have a good cry

    Shout – it’s okay to be mad

    Don’t let anger eat you inside

    Or steal your heart whilst you’re sad

    It’s natural if you’re feeling guilty

    When something is taken away

    You’re witnessing life’s own fragility

    Nothing, no-one ever stays

    Mourn for your loss at your own pace

    Come to terms with the hole left behind

    Don’t be too quick to replace

    With a substitute you never will find

    Whatever you grieve for is unique

    Holds memories important to you

    Think of them when at times you seek

    Comfort, to help you get through

    Eventually your grieving will lessen

    You will find yourself smiling again

    Like sunshine on the horizon

    Come to dry your eyes after rain

    This feeling will not last forever

    You can be happy once more

    Let time be the judge of whenever

    You are ready to open a brand new door.

    Like

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