(*Disclaimer: This post is partially meant to be comedic, but also to give you insight into how grief with Alzheimer's works. I promise I'm not "milking" this situation. As Nancy Reagan phrased it, this is the "long goodbye".)
I have two posts typed up about moving Mom into an Assisted Living Facility. Part 1 was the weekend before, a somewhat "last hurrah" tour of all of her favorite spots in Asheville culminating with a boozy brunch at Fig and an afternoon of rosé and going through old pictures on the best deck in the South.
Part 2 is the gut wrenching Monday and days following after we moved her.
But today's topic is a strange one. It feels selfish and needy and bratty.
We have lost BB. We have been losing her for years. She has been stolen and slowly whittled down by Alzheimer's. And while she is still here on this Earth she is gone from our daily lives. She isn't by my dad's side when he wakes up in the morning. She isn't downstairs looking and calling for her beloved Boykin, Gumbo. She isn't at Jazzercise telling all the women there that they are beautiful and how much she loves them. And most recently, she wasn't with my Dad when he came to visit this past weekend. I feel very lucky to have parents that are still married at this point in life so for her to not be with my Dad is surreal. There was no trip to Polished for pedicures. No opportunities for pictures with the kids. No doing her makeup and drying her hair. She was missing and missed.
We sat down at Roosters on Friday for lunch and my father and I looked at each other and just started crying. BB would have been there and wanted a bloody just like dad and would have ordered the Mushroom Pizza and clumsily fed it to herself, possibly putting some of the onion rings in her chardonnay and maybe drinking ketchup. But she would have been there.
We feel lost. We miss her.
We didn't get to have a big service to celebrate this portion of her life coming to an end. We didn't get a steady flow of visitors and flowers and meals. We didn't get a second line to "A Closer Walk With Thee" in Lakelawn Cemetery. What we did get was a harrowing Monday morning with two LL Bean bags full of her favorite clothes, some stuffed animals and some framed pictures. And moved her into what will be the last room she ever lives in.
And what I really want to know is WHERE IS MY FUCKING JAMBALAYA? Where is my closure? Where is my big sobbing breakdown and then my chance to move on with my life?? The big celebration of how BB was and how we want to remember her? How am I supposed to move on while she is in limbo? In this place that I wouldn't want to be. I know she is well taken care of, hell she has already had more showers there than we could have convinced her to take. But it isn't where I imagined my beautiful mother to spend her last years. Alzheimer's is the cruelest disease I can imagine. I don't want her to become one of the patients that stares into the air. My gorgeous and loving mother reduced to a shell of her former self.
I'm mourning my mother. I know she is still with us, please understand that I really do get that mentally. It is just going to take my heart some time to fully grasp this life. Most people visit grandparents in nursing homes. I will now be visiting my mother. She should be in her garden.
PS-Please don't send food. Seriously. I've gained the 15 pounds my dad has lost. Stress and grief work differently on women and men. Send some uppers and Leese Fitch. And maybe Ouiser Boudreaux so I can take a whack at her.