Today's lunch for my FIL: scrambled eggs served with mushroom and parsley, beef and leek stew, yogurt with a lot of fruits and honey
It's the sixth month since I decided to be here, taking care of the cleaning and cooking for him.
I've learned a lot, especially about realizing the changing reality and reaching a dynamic balance. We started to introduce further resources from outside, which became critical for both my FIL and us.
His illness, just like the time, keeps moving forward with no hesitation. His mind deteriorated, and the gap between his and this world became wider and wider.
"Are you my favorite brother?"
He asked DH this question last week.
We found a day-care group for dementia patients, where they can meet up with people who have similar issues. They will have group activities, teatime, and meals together. Meanwhile, we got a worker from the local church system to visit him twice a week, who can walk, play a card game, or read a newspaper with him.
"She is a SPY, always monitors me."
I was a bit sad when the church worker told me this. However, I guess I am much stronger than I used to be. If life is like a play, I am just playing a role of a bad cop in this chapter, like the many who take care of their elders.
Between Helpful and Helpless?
Does a clear border between Helpful and Helpless ever exist? A few days ago, we were still in the kingdom of Helpful, and then we suddenly found ourselves trapped in the jungle of Helpless?
There is no way to be accountable for the life of the people around us. We might be able and willing to carry some burden, spread our wings as a temporary shelter, and offer companionship for the closed ones under certain circumstances, but nothing more than that.
Maybe there is no border between helpful and helpless; instead, we are helpful and helpless at the same time in most scenarios.
What is past is prologue.
With all the training I had in my life, I won't take my FIL's words seriously. However, I still asked myself questions like, what's my function, or value, in this play? What is the meaning of my efforts over the past six months?
Watching my FIL laugh happily with the church worker today, I suddenly got the answer to the above question: to make THIS MOMENT happen, to ensure he can stay in a proper status until meeting the next group of people, whoever would take care of him in his journey.
That might be one of the most realistic lessons I can learn from attending this chapter. Every day since we were born, we play different roles in all kinds of stories where we are involved. Maybe, I can conclude that most of the time, the roles we play, whether somebody or nobody, are just different connectors, linking the past and now to the future.
I have no idea when I will officially be off from this stage of my FIL, but a dynamically aligned purpose would always help me focus and perform properly.
it is hard to lose a friend and harder to lose a family member even while they are still alive. you can be a new friend to them, but you also can't expect much beyond the moment and things can rapidly change.
I see what you are doing from a different perspective. I may be on the same, or a similar, path as your FIL. Recent stressors (I believe) have contributed to a sudden sharp decline and it is frightening to me. Is it temporary? Or will it just be downhill from here?
I see your posts and am so inspired by what you are doing -- all of it, not just with FIL. But I think, and I hope, that I will be so lucky as he is.