One moment he smiles, or laughs and seems to be his old self. Loud, lovable, jovial,
then he becomes quiet, morose, and verbal, in expressing his displeasure….. with me,
with life, well with everything; confused, lost, trying to fight his way to clarity.
Often he can’t be reached, nothing helps, just have to ride it out with him, not taking anything
he says personal, it is just his disease. He needs compassion, empathy, distraction when it
is possible, which is not always easy with him. His old loves have faded in to the back ground.
Chocolate not asked for much anymore, or hamburgers, but he still loves ice cream, any flavor:
“I will take anything, as long as it is ice cream” he always tells me. It is good that this is still so, for little pleasures are a very big thing, when ones world shrinks to the geriatric chair, or bed.
We can put him into his bed now. For a long time he would not allow us to do that, though safety measures need to be taken. At times he forgets where he is at, or thinks he is much younger living at home, wanting to find his mother, or his brothers, now all long gone… yes he is alone, but nor really, he has us. He is loved very much; he is so colorful, full of salt and vinegar, humor, anger, joy and suffering, a potent human mix that draws out many different responses, all deepening the connection that is formed between caregiver and the one getting the care.
He is treading now, short plateaus, sudden worsening, a rally, but never getting back to the level he was before. So his world shrinks, he gets weaker, and one day he will stop treading, he will be too tired to bounce back, being all used up. We will stay with him to the end, for he is a joy, a special person, a very lovable person. Even if he was not all that, we would still be with him, for the simple fact that he is our brother, a companion on the way, he is just a little further along, but we will soon catch up.
People don’t understand that in this world, a place of pilgrimage, we are made to serve one another, it is the calling of all, each call different, each equally important. For those who need care, it is their gift to allow it, and if not, the struggle is also a gift, for suffering and struggle seem important in this crazy world, yes, pain filled, but also much love and joy, which brings healing, and lightens all of our burdens. Do I understand (?), well sometimes, at others no, I have no idea really, yet it all seems important, to stay true, and if not, to get up and try again, to not lose hope, fight despair, struggle for faith, and allow the little light I have to help lighten the burdens of others. We all have that light, it is called grace.
Perhaps we are called to be channels of God’s light and love.