I am back from my extended trip to Costa Rica and Virginia. When my traveling companion, Sandy Raymond, and I arrived at Dulles Airport at midnight on Sunday, March 9th my Dad was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s and had been refusing food since Friday. He had been given last rites and all we could do was keep him comfortable. I sent Sandy home to NC in my car and stayed with Mom. Dad died Thursday morning. Mom, Miriam (his hospice helper), and I were there holding him as we said our goodbyes and asked him to lead the way for us.
I’ve been gone from home almost a month now so I am peddling like a clown on a circus trike, around and around the ring, getting crazier with each minute as I remember yet another thing I have to do to get caught up. The good news is, according to this email I read yesterday, I am not losing my mind every time I go from one room to the next, forgetting what my mission was:
“What a relief to learn this . . . Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was? Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses. Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what’s known as an Event Boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale. Thank goodness for studies like this. It’s not our age; it’s that damn door! Did I send this to you already?”
I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica with Sandy, she is a bunkmate extraordinaire, and I would go anywhere with her just to spend time with her. So far we’ve done the canals of Venice on a gondola-with three Japanese businessmen who did not speak any English, and the most terrifying 11-Platform Extreme Zip Lining Canopy Tour in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. We’re glad we did it, but we would never do it again. We were going to get “I Survived” tee shirts, but just the reminder of that adventure raises our blood pressure. It’s been checked off our bucket lists with permanent marker.
Mom is doing very well, much better than we all expected really. Losing Daddy a little at a time has speeded up the grieving process for my sister, brother, and me as we all said our good-byes over two years ago when his memory of us left him. Over the last few years, I’ve cried off all my mascara while driving home after leaving Mom and Dad’s house, so while I’m a little teary and maudlin now, I am not overwhelmed with grief. I’m mostly worried about how my Mom is going to manage things, for even as Daddy steadily declined, she still thought he’d get better.
It is good to be home, especially now as I can see some signs of spring. The Bradford Pears are in full bloom here and they are a sight to behold. I wish everyone a wonderful spring and Easter. Oh, speaking of spring . . . did I mention that CBS Sunday Morning News out of Washington called while I was in Virginia? They want to do a feature article on the Kindred Spirit Mailbox and asked if I’d like to be interviewed this spring. I’m setting up things now. It really is a circus around here!