For approximately the past month or month and a half, I have been in a continual deepening fog. This is not necessarily unusual except for one major irregularity. In the past, I have always been able to just “feel” that the end would eventually come and I would cycle back to my “normality”. But not this time.
Now, during this extended period of confusion, I can see or feel no end. It just seems this fog is so pervasive, so heavy, that there is no possibility it will recede, that this one is all but inevitably irreversible. It was with this in mind that I sat down with my wife for a discussion I had been avoiding for sometime.
Some of you may remember my post on starting the process of exploring senior care facilities, especially those with memory care units. Well, although that first visit was extremely informative, it was also extremely distressing for Karen. So much so that I believed it prudent to put the whole subject to bed for awhile. But with my recent developments, I felt this was murky water we needed to dip our toes back into.
With this in my mind, I began our discussion. It soon became apparent that, although she was still not at all on board with the idea of a senior care facility, she had definitely noticed and concurred with my impression of the current fog. From here, our discussion eventually turned somewhat to her life after I am gone. Karen expressed her concerns, all valid. I, in return, expressed my desire for her to move move on with her life, to be happy, to realize I will no longer be in pain, in a constant state of confusion. I want her to find love again, although I understand how repulsive this thought is to her right now.
It was about this time that I realized I had tears rolling down my cheeks. The thought shocked me. I had never been emotional about the thought of my passing in the past. Then it hit me. I wasn’t crying at the thought of my end. The overwhelming thought was for the grief, the sadness, the loneliness Karen would be suffering leading up to and following my ultimate demise. I know this feeling from the loss of my parents and brother but I can’t even begin to imagine the scale of that loss when it’s the love of your life, the only person you’ve ever dated, the only person you’ve ever wanted to be with, the person you’ve intimately shared almost a half century with. Even now the thought of her suffering brings tears rolling down my face. I can’t stand the thought of her suffering. Even on a selfish level I feel horrible, her suffering will be because of me. I don’t want to hurt her in any way for all the riches in the world.
Soon, again selfishly, I began understanding how horrible my own current thoughts were making me feel. If I have to take this horrifying walk with my unwelcome companion, at least soon enough I would be in a place where the anguish wouldn’t matter anymore. I would be oblivious to those feelings. But then that thought began to drill the repulsiveness of that event into my soul. For what is life if not the true living and feeling of emotions. Aren’t we little more than shells without them. With this in mind, more clarity and understanding about Karen’s emotions revealed themselves to me. I now understood what I was asking her in his moment was an impossibility in her mind, it was unthinkable, unimaginable even. It was at this point I softened my stance and more or less dropped it for the time being. The subject is to important to dispose of but, for the immediate future, I felt it best to table the discussion.
We did return to our previous topic of conversation. And although she is not onboard with the idea and we both agree that we’re most likely 1-1 1/2 years away from needing those services, she understood my need to explore these options while I’m still sane enough to have some say in my destiny. So, with that in mind, I’m going to schedule at least one more visit with another care facility I’m interested in. Depending on how deep the fog is, I will try to report on that one as well.
So, to sum everything up, if I could deliver one quality piece of advice, it would be to revel in your emotions, love to the fullest extent possible, and truly believe/trust in those closest to you. Enjoy life, in whatever stage, to the fullest breathof your capabilities . Emotions, even the vilest of them, are the basis of the very meaning of life. Value them.