It's quiet. The children are still asleep and Steve has left for work. I'm mostly caught up on reviews, though I should be doing school-planning and grading or folding laundry instead. I did start a load of laundry washing already, and showered and dressed. I'm ahead of the game today. Usually in moments like this, I sit down to read something I'll be reviewing soon, or to read more about caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's Disease. I've read so many books on the subject over the past 2 years, but especially the past 6 weeks.
Life is very serious right now. I can feel my frown lines and concentration lines getting deeper at times as I am lost in thought. I wake up every morning and realize I've been dreaming about my Mother-in-law again. The stress of "what ifs" and making the right decision is coming out even when I sleep.
I am a planner, an organizer, a think of all the possibilities and try to solve them woman, an evaluator, and a worrier. My husband has more faith, is more optimistic and less focused on all the different "what if" scenarios I can think up. My mind is trying to figure out all the different ways my Mother-in-law could react when told she has to move into assisted living, and how we will respond to each of those things. I am preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.
My children say that I'll just pour it all out to anyone who asks me how things are going. I don't think that's really true, though there is some resemblance. I guess that means I just need to take it all to God, spend more time praying, and develop my faith in Him that He will work it out. Trust. Rest.
But I love my Mother-in-law. She is my second Mom. I want what is best for her, and I want her to be happy. At this moment, though, she is about to be very unhappy with us. She is not going to like being told that she can't live on her own anymore. She won't understand because she doesn't see that she isn't taking good care of herself, isn't able to.
She'll say she wants to move back to her childhood home, and not believe us when we tell her there isn't anyone there to take care of her. Her high school friends will not be able to take care of her since they have their own families (multiple generations) to care for. But the bottom line is she doesn't realize she needs someone to take care of her.
So while we know what we have to do, and seeing her every single day keeps driving the point home, we're still steeling our resolve for her response: her fear, her anger, her confusion, her sadness. We will have to stand firm, even when we just want to cry with her or throw a tantrum of our own.
She may be angry she can't keep living on her own and driving, but we are angry at the disease that's affecting her. She may be afraid of losing her independence, but we are afraid of what will happen to her if she keeps living alone. She may be sad that she can't move to her hometown, but we are sad that she doesn't remember our first name most of the time, doesn't remember our birthdays anymore, doesn't remember the words she needs to finish most of her sentences, doesn't remember that she needs medication or what she ate for lunch (every single day). She may be frustrated that she is being told what to do, but we are frustrated that she has lost the ability to use her microwave and washing machine in the past year and doesn't see that as a problem.
Please pray for us. Please pray for her. Please pray for Steve's siblings, and her grandchildren. Change is hard. This change is very sad. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the family feeling the lines in my face deepen and waking up after dreaming about this situation.
I think it's time for a comedy movie. I need to balance out my laugh lines with my concentration/frown lines. I don't want to be a frowning wrinkled old lady ... I'd rather be a smiling wrinkled old lady someday.