You Never Know

You never know when you leave home what things are going to transpire without you. You imagine life will go on as it always has. You imagine you will be missed, but that time will pass and then things will return to the before.

I knew that leaving home for two months would shake things up a bit. But things are different now; there is less to shake up. It’s only my husband and me at home. And he’d gone away and left me behind countless times. Times at sea, business trips, times at sea and now back to business trips.

I said to him, now I’m not going to be left behind. Now I go with you. “Yes,” he said. There are no small children at home anymore. I have only two cats that my neighbors are happy to feed. There is no job to request time off from. I’m a freelancer now. I work when I want. My work is portable to boot. Have WiFi, will travel.

He’s had to make one day trip so far, a meet and greet with the other Directors. “If you were with me, I’d make a weekend out of it and stay in nearby St. Augustine,” he said. I regretted that couldn’t be so. I do so want to see that city. But knowing there will be future trips to headquarters was consolation.

I thought that would be the worst thing that could happen during my time away from home. That he might have to take trips I couldn’t partake in. Sadly that proved to not be so.

While I was away, he decided to move his mother from California and place her in an assisted living facility close to our home. She’d been suffering from dementia and worsening rapidly. He found her a highly rated, top-notch place. The best that money could buy. “It’s so nice, I want to live there,” he said.

During my short trip home, I had a long talk with his sister. Explaining to her what was happening to her mother and promising that I would look after her. When I get back, I will fix up her room, I said. I’ll hang some family pictures and brighten up her room with flowers and mementos. Things to keep her grounded to today.

My husband planned to take her out for the day once she’d settled into her new routine. Shopping, dining, walks in the park. He was upbeat. She liked it there, she’d made quick friends. The reports on her were positive. She was always an ebullient personality. She’d made her living in sales. A people person.

Five days into her stay, she was transferred by ambulance to the hospital. Pneumonia it turned out to be. She’d smoked for nearly sixty years. Her lungs were weak, but she soon recovered and was scheduled to be discharged within the week. Before that could happen, she had a massive stroke. There was a high likelihood of another stroke, the neurologist said. And there would be no recovery from that.

She left us on Sunday, June 15th. Father’s Day. We all think she just wanted to see her son once more. That somehow she knew what was happening to her mind and didn’t want to live that way.

I can not wish that her life had been extended artificially. I would not want that for myself. I’ve seen too much of that kind of suffering during my Nursing days. My husband did not want that for his mother either.

I know that the room, at the appropriately named The Palace, is empty of her spirit now, but I still feel the need to go fix it up for her. I will do so in my dreams during the moments I can sleep. And in my prayers during the time that I’m awake.

I have had to hit the Prednisone bottle more often than not these past few days. My body and my spirit are torn and aching wanting, and needing, to be in two different places at once. There is no Tylenol for the soul.

And while I try to adjust to this momentous change in all our lives, I am informed that our cat, Tigress, is no longer. A sudden illness took her. It will be strange to go home and not see her welcoming shiny, green eyes staring up at me as they did for nineteen years.

Tigress 1995 - 2014

Tigress, born in my home June 19, 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to You Never Know

  1. J.G. Chayko says:

    Wow, it’s such a tumultuous and sad time when things change so drastically, and the people and pets you love take a quick turn for the worse. Sending you healing thoughts that your body will recover soon, and your grief will give way to loving memory. So sorry for your loss. Best, J.G.

    • Irma says:

      Thank you, J. I knew this trip would cause a rift in the fabric of my life, but I imagined a temporary one. No way did I ever imagine how big, or how permanent, it would be.

  2. Wren says:

    Oh, Irma. I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you.

  3. hermit2003 says:

    You have my deepest sympathy–such losses are hard enough at any time, but especially when you are separated from those you love.

  4. phat50chick says:

    Life keeps throwing punches. This I know. Not sure where i had the mistaken idea that life got easier as we get older. I told my boss years ago and he said “who told you that? I never told you that.” All we do is trade our issues for new ones. As my mom, who is going strong at 78 says “the Golden Years ain’t so Golden.”

    • Irma says:

      That is so true. Just when you think you’ve hit an easy patch, it skids right out from under you. Your mom sounds like a wonderful lady.

  5. carlascorner says:

    I am so sorry. It seems like you’ve been hit with so much loss recently. Sending hugs.

    • Irma says:

      Thank you, Carla. Taking care of this baby is a buffer that won’t be there in a few days. What a strange homecoming I will have.

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