Feb 26, 2004

Subtle mourning

I have discovered that when my mind is scattered, I can't focus on things like writing something sensible in my blog. For what it's worth, I can't focus on things like answering friends in e-mail properly, either, when my mind is like that.

I feel like I'm being pulled in umpteen directions emotionally and it's been like that since before Christmas. The main reason is Grandma. Still, yet.

I didn't realize until this month why.

I didn't realize that I had gone into mourning.

It's not the same as actually losing someone in death, and attending a funeral and realizing the finality of it all and just getting used to the idea.

Mourning the loss of someone when that someone is still around, living and breathing, is not so obvious. That's why it took me by surprise and still does. But the usual reactions of grief are there: The shock, the disbelief, the anger, the pain of loss.

It's a new process for me and I realize that I just have to get used to it. This is my life right now: Letting go of what was, of 43 years with a woman who was always the strong and dependable one for me, whom I could discuss anything with. It's reduced to explaining (now patiently) that I am not Mom, but Mom's daughter, and to explaining over and over again that this is a nursing home and that she's here to stay.

There's nothing new here. Millions of other people are going or have been through this very same experience: Watching elderly relatives fade away. It's just new to me.

I'm learning to laugh at the situation now. To see the humor in constantly being introduced over and over again to the same fellow patients who all respond as if meeting me for the very first time. I'm rather fascinated by what happens to the human mind at such an advanced age, by how loss of memory affects sense of time and circumstance. In one way, it's not funny when Grandma is upset one day because she doesn't remember any of the other days. I have to remind myself (not her) that this too shall pass and not to worry about her. The truth is, she's fine. Well cared for, well fed, and safe.

I was telling another woman who was having trouble sleeping at night to do the yoga pose called the Universal Spine Twist, since muscle tension can affect sleep. It's time I took my own advice. It would probably help me pull myself together and not be so scattered. Or mourning.