An unexpectedly bittersweet day of family time, shoved my mind into overdrive. I am already an over thinker, but some of the events of yesterday, kind of pushed me to the edge. I started off the day making my daughter very happy, by attending church with her and her little brother. My church going habit has been pretty horrible for a few years, and that stemmed from working at Sportsbooks, with their crazy shifts, that sorely lacked respect for my weekends. Even though I have been out of that type of work for a few years, I still have not been diligent about attending church, though I make sure my children attend with their grandmother. Am I a religious person? No. Will never be either. Do I believe in God? Yes I do. I can’t imagine that THIS life, is all there is to it. I have experienced too much to not believe in a higher power.
However, I won’t EVER argue with an atheist about this, except to say,..‘If I’m wrong..eh, I’m wrong. If you’re wrong, you’re screwed for eternity’…lol, story done. 😀 Every man has the right to believe what he wants to. I made a promise to my daughter, to go to church more often and I intend to keep it. I must admit, that the church we attend does not focus on what I think are weird rituals, but on just living better lives, being better human beings and not living a life of hypocrisy, so it will not be like pulling teeth.
Yesterday began me fulfilling my promise to her and in a way to myself. The morning started off beautifully. I woke up feeling refreshed, there was no frantic rushing to get either the kids or myself ready in time, and my son said..“Mommy you’re beautiful” after I got dressed. There is nothing like the feeling you get, when your kids tell you that you look nice. 😀 The dress I put on, I’d never worn before. I bought it maybe about 6 weeks ago on a whim. I thought the colour was pretty, the combination of patterns was quirky and a little unconventional, it felt nice in my hand hanging on the hanger, the size looked about right, ( I don’t ever try anything on except jeans and shoes) , and the price was even righter. lol Yeah that’s a word, thats my word. Righter..meaning a littler more than just right. :-D. It was like $35.00 EC dollars. It didn’t have that much shape swinging from the hanger, but simply because of the price, it couldn’t have been a bad purchase. How bad could it look? Somebody said ‘put a ring on it’ I say ‘stick a belt ‘roun’ it’. My go to fashion policy. lol A belt will fix anything,..well almost anything. My dress looked pretty cool. My mom came to pick us up so that we could go together and it was nice to spend time with her as well.
I felt uplifted after church. I think we all did, even my son was trying to get me to take him up on the stage to sing, though he wanted to sing Bob Marley,..lol..I told him next time. 😀 My mom suggested we go to visit her aunt, who resides at a home for the elderly. Up until about a year ago, my auntie was a feisty senior citizen, ‘wit nuff gumption and energy’, to put a hell of a lot of young people to shame. I love that lady a lot. My kids love her dearly as well. You should see her. She is this tiny, little fair-skinned lady, who I share a birthday with. When you look at her, you can’t help but say, I can see she must have been a real looker in her prime. She was too. 😀 She’s in her eighties and she’s lived a full life, though she never had any children of her own. As little as 1 year ago, her memory was stellar and elephant like. She could detail a story, like Norman Rockwell could detail a painting. I loved listening to her speak and tell her stories. Now, she barely remembers us. She has rare moments of clarity, and its amazing when they show up, but it’s been happening less and less, and I must admit, that I don’t visit her as often anymore, because it’s really difficult seeing her like that.
Today when we went to visit, she was crying uncontrollably. We could actually hear her wailing before we reached to the front gate. It was the first time I’d ever seen my auntie cry. One of her caregivers was giving her a bath, and she was fighting it. She did not want to have that bath. I started to cry and I took the kids outside, leaving my mom inside to assist the care giver. My daughter did go back in though, because she is stronger than her mother, and she would come out every couple of minutes to report what was happening. Eventually, the crying stopped and my son and I went back inside. We followed behind as she was lead back to her room where she could lay down. I saw no memory in her eyes. It looked as if my mom wanted to cry. My great-aunt shared a room with another elderly lady, who would just randomly scream out ‘murder!’ every 3 minutes or so and it frightened the kids. I hated seeing them be so distant with her, because not even a year ago, they would be all over her, hugging her, until I would have to remind them that she was old and that they couldn’t hang on and swing on her like that, even though she would tell me to ‘low dem’. 🙂 My mom sat on the bed with her and held her hand for a bit, but my aunt was tired from the bath ordeal, so mom decided to cut the visit short. She asked the kids if they wanted to kiss her, but they were too scared.
By this time, I kept wiping my eyes faster and faster to prevent any tears from being seen. I went over and sat on the bed with her and held her hand and she gripped my hand. I leaned down and hugged her, and I rubbed her skin. She was like a baby. I said ‘I love you, I hope you know’ not expecting anything. It was as bad a day as any. Surprisingly, she squeezed my hand and said ‘I love you too’. For about a minute, she remembered. She remembered me. I hoped she would mark my face, and that I had on red lipstick, and that my dress had big purple flowers with leopard print and green leaves. She loved flowers… Always gave me and my mom plants to take home and plant. So I hoped the colours of my dress would stay with her.
When the kids saw me hugging her, they came over to the bed and did the same. It was only about a total of 2 minutes of her clarity, but those 2 minutes were ….
The uplifted feeling that I had when I left church was gone. All I could think about was her. I knew we left her in good hands, but still it was just so sad to see my strong auntie, who was still driving like a mad woman, 😀 as little as 3 years ago, in this condition. It hurts my kids to see her like that. My mom and I didn’t speak for a bit when we left. I guess she was thinking the same things I was thinking. Then I started to think about my own mom getting old, and maybe not remembering me or her grandchildren. Old age is a scary thing. I pray God blesses me with long life, to see my children become adults, get married and have children of their own. I pray to live a life that I am proud to look back on and remember, even the bad things, and I don’t think I’ll be fighting wrinkles and grey as much as I’ll be embracing wisdom and a strengthened character. I’ll let you know if I freak out, when the first real deep and settled wrinkles start showing up. 😀 (‘Oh my god, a way di botox!’)
Just thinking back to my aunt and the other residents in the home, I became more concerned about the state of their mental capacity, more so than their physical capabilities. I try to take care of myself physically, hoping to keep my temple in good condition to take on old age, but what does it matter if I’m 75 + years old, in excellent physical condition, and my mind has left me? If you are mentally astute, but your body is broken, then you have to sit and wallow in your thoughts about how much you can’t do, and how much you have to depend on someone else to get through your daily routine. If your body is strong and physically you could give people half your age a run for their money, but your mind has been taken over by Dementia or Alzheimers, then what have you really got? 2 minutes of clarity, to see that you are still very much-loved and that your ability to tell someone that you still love them, means more than you could ever know. It’s as if God has taken her soul a little early, but left her body alive to prepare us to grieve her, when she’s really gone. Every now and then, he sends her spirit back to comfort us, but he only allows her to stay a little. It’s hard, but as even my auntie used to say..‘He knows best.’
When my mom brought us home, I felt the most incredible urge to take pictures of all of us. The ones I took in the dress above, courtesy of my daughter and then I took some with them and their grandma. Many, many years from now, I hope that even if I cannot remember the colours, I hope to remember the moments.
Suddenly a random memory popped into my mind, mid picture-taking. Whenever we would go to her house before she had to go to the home, the kids would make a b-line for a particular wall plaque she had hanging on her wall. She had a ‘don’t worry be happy fish’, and it never failed to make them laugh like little vagabonds. The batteries in that thing would be done after each of our visits. That song was and still is stuck in my head. Maybe that’s what she would want me and all of us to do right now….
Not to worry, but just be happy.