While I was at Lake Austin, I met a lot of ladies my age. Some were there with a friend, some were with their mom or sister, and some came alone like I did, for some rest and quiet. Two in particular were there after losing their mom's and really wanted and needed, to talk about their mom's. I'm thinking it might be interesting to ask management if that they would consider doing an annual bereavement week/weekend for anyone that might be interested in coming for something like that. (This might be too big of a Debbie Downer--I dunno-- but I think it might appeal to some.) Frankly, that's just where a lot of us are these days in my age group and even though my mom is still here-technically- the grief process marches right on and beats the heck out of me some days.
My plan would include guest lecturers on the stages of grief, how there's no time limit on it, good self care, journaling, maybe some meditation, and the importance of exercise and laughter during this time. Naturally there would be massages, facials, etc.-- the fun stuff for the sistas! A good cry, a good laugh, and then lots of chocolate. See....I feel better already!
Last night I remembered my conversation with the manager, Tracy, telling me her story about losing her dad to Alzheimer's. He was diagnosed with early onset at 53 and died at 68. It's so weird to me how people who have never met can bond over such a crappy illness, but we just do. Tracy said her dad went to live with his other daughter (Tracy's sister's family) when he started getting really paranoid and thought the man he saw in the mirror was stealing his clothes. He told Tracy and her sister that "the man looks a lot like me" and "he better stop". They finally shoe polished out the mirror so her dad would no longer see "the man".
Tracy's sister's family included her husband and their four teenaged sons, so the dad fit right in. But here's the best part : he thought he was running a school for boy's, since boys were everywhere. The entire family ate dinner together at night, family style, and her dad would always say grace, since duh..... he was the head of the school. See???.... This disease makes you laugh while it stabs you right through the heart.
Tracy suggested I do two things and I plan to do both. First was to video mom--especially her voice--on my phone and transfer later, for all of our family to enjoy. Tracy said that's one thing she really misses hearing. The sound of her dad's voice. With that in mind, today I interviewed and filmed mom. (I missed getting the funniest part because I thought my phone was recording but it wasn't--a combo side effect of my hysterical laughter at what she was saying, and operator error. Oops.) I actually made two videos and sent the smaller file to all of her grand kids since the big file wouldn't go. In the big file, I asked her about each grand kid, and on some she was a little drifty and out there, and on others she was more animated, but the gist of her old personality is still there, and that just blows my mind. Then to have a forever recording of her voice, saying my name in the shorter video, is somehow very important to me and I'm thinking will become more important as time goes on.
The second thing Tracy suggested, was to write down all the funny stories and memories of mom, so they aren't lost over time. Mom has had some real lulu's so that part will actually be fun. My sister said Saturday when she was visiting mom at lunch, she and mom got laughing so hard a piece of meat f-l-e-w out of mom's mouth and hit a lady's shirt, across the table. Then both of my siblings reported, separately, that mom and another lady at lunch speak a language ( to just each other) that is NOT English, but they both seem to understand what the other is saying. Go figure.
Happy Labor Day weekend to all and to all a good night. :)))