Melancholy

I am sort of blue today. Possibly mainly caused by fatigue. My vacation is over. But that typically does not make me sad. I loved this vacation. It was just wonderful, relaxing, a beautiful place, lots of beach time. But by the time we left, I was ready to get home. I like home life. I like routine. I like my job. So too much nonroutine time is sort of tough for me. We had a slightly stressful end to the vacation, with some car trouble. Caused us a three-hour departure delay but could have been much worse. I am doing my routine Sunday things today – laundry, groceries, tidying. And visiting with Mom.

I went over about 45 minutes before lunch. I bought some cookies to take with me. I haven’t taken her cookies for quite awhile. She went through a spell of really demanding to have cookies at all times. Now I see the cookies she does eat – probably from the dining room – in pieces all over her apartment, in her purse, still in boxes in which they arrived. So these cookies will probably go to waste. But I wanted to take her something since I had been away.

I was sad to find outside the facility that the Canada goose nest was surrounded by overgrown grass. The mother goose was gone. Two eggs still lay in the nest there, I assume bad eggs that produced no babies. But worst of all was a dead baby lying right there in the nest as well. It had yellow downy feathers. It was sort of hard to recognize, as it had been flattened a bit, perhaps by the rain that I heard about but missed while we were gone. Seeing the dead gosling just broke my heart. I have been close to tears every since. I know this will pass. I don’t know why nature sometimes makes me so sad. So I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I went in to see Mom. But I’m also relieved that Mom isn’t as interested in the “thingamajig,” as she last called the goose nest, as she was last year. I hope someone clears away the dead baby. I don’t want Mom to see that. She won’t like it.

I found her in her apartment, and I think she had just woken up from a nap, but I wasn’t sure. She seemed blue, as well. Her hair was a total mess. She sat on the couch and said things haven’t been going well. The people aren’t as nice. The people are hard to deal with. I don’t know if she had a fight with someone, or perhaps was dreaming about things going badly. She said the cat had been sick. I asked if she felt sick and she said yes, that she had chills. She looked just a little bit peaked. But I thought this could all relate to being asleep. The place didn’t smell all that great, but it wasn’t a strong urine odor. The smell was strongest in her bathroom, and I thought it could have been that the towels supplied by the facility were sort of musty. But I certainly don’t know for sure. She said, “I thought I might never see you again.” I said I am back now from being away and that I’m not going anywhere again for a long time. I reminded her that I had called her a few times while I was gone. “You did?” she said. I did call her, and she seemed fine when I talked to her. But seeing me again seemed to provide relief to her. “It helps me immensely to have you here,” she said. She said she’d like to get away for a few days. She has expressed interest in travel before, but of course it is no longer in her future. I told her we’d go to lunch this week.

I looked in her purse to find a comb so I could comb her hair. Its contents this time included a sock, cookie crumbs, cat food, two pairs of scissors and a disposable razor. It makes me chuckle just now to think about it, though at the time I was fishing the comb out, I didn’t like all the food crumbs. After combing her hair, I plunged my hand into the purse twice and just brought out fistfuls of as much of the crumbs as I could grab. I think it could upset Mom to see me dump all her belongings out of the purse, so I tried to clean it a little without any drastic action. She complained of bothersome hairs on her chin, so I have since placed a pair of tweezers in my purse so the next time I see her, I can tweeze her chin. I scooped the litter – again, not much to scoop. The cat isn’t looking so good. He isn’t thin, but he has lost weight. He is not grooming. I combed him for a little while and he tolerated it well. That, too, made me sad, as even though he hasn’t lived with me for quite awhile, he was sort of “my” cat in the way that our other cat had been my husband’s. This cat has always been sort of independent, but he would sit with me quite a bit, especially before we got dogs. He is about 13 years old. Not ancient, but definitely showing age more than he ever has before. He has always been quite fat and maybe that is now taking some toll, even though his health was never particularly bad when he was fat.

I found that Mom had left clumps of toilet paper and tissues all over the place. In her purse, on her coffee table, by the bed and on the bed. This made me wonder if she had been sick and blowing her nose. Except she showed no signs of illness of that sort today. I cleaned up all the stray tissue and threw it away. I also replaced her almost-gone toilet paper roll. She has had a funny relationship with toilet paper during her time in assisted living. She has always tended to think someone wants to steal it. She used to hide rolls in drawers and cupboards. One can only guess what the housekeeping staff thought of all the disappearing toilet paper, but they always made sure there was plenty of extra in Mom’s apartment. I imagine she would find a new roll, move it, and then think it had been stolen. She has a few suspicions like this, but thankfully she is not fully paranoid about everything.

I dropped her off at the dining room and checked the mail. The company holding an annuity that I am trying to surrender sent her a note trying to talk her out of canceling the contract. The letter said the cancellation as requested is being processed, but encouraged Mom to call to discuss other options. It’s a measly five thousand dollars, I thought to myself. Just let it go. How annoying to have a company place no trust in a customer to know what the hell she wants with her own money. I was happy to see that the cancellation and surrender is progressing, but I am going to call the letter writer to ensure that the process is really moving along. I will need that money to pay for assisted living in June. And still need to surrender one more annuity.

So now I am quickly back to the usual grind. I’m already glad a long holiday weekend is in my future, I’m sure just because I am feeling tired. Ten hours in a car can do a number on the body. I’m sure this mood will pass. Also my sister is visiting next weekend, something to look forward to. For now I think I will read a book to occupy my mind so I can stop feeling sorry for myself.

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2 comments so far

  1. Sara Strong on

    Emily,

    I think you are very compassionate and very caring about your mom. There is grieving going on with you, I think, and that’s natural.

    I’m glad you’re finding things to get your mind off the sadness, too.

    Re: the cat. House Calls for Dogs and Cats, Jennifer Taylor is on Facebook, phone number 457-8761. Very fun lady who graduated summa cum laude from OSU vet school.

  2. momsbrain on

    Thanks, Sara – for the support and the vet info. I definitely agree about the grieving. I already grieve the loss of my mom as I once knew her, and yet here she still is, slowly declining, so I grieve every little loss of function, too. It can be terrible.


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