Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Laugh or Cry?

For a few days, I haven't had anything noteworthy to post in this journal, except that I'm absolutely mortified that I misspelled "Carrot" in a previous post, according to Merriam Webster. I've been negligent with the picture taking, too, and adding photos to my posts are a requirement for me, since I'm a visual learner/person. Maybe my loss of original thought is due to my brain not being sugared up anymore and my body is in shock. Whatever. I'll just wing it today.

The Christmas season is annoying the heck out of me. Homes are decorated and the stores are reminding me to make my list and check it twice. I'm just not ready. Our Indian Summer gave us temperatures in the mid-seventies this week.

Two bagged Christmas trees have been laying on the floor of my dining room since Saturday. I just walk by them, wearing my sandals, t-shirt and shorts. Looks pretty bad, but I'll assemble them in a day or two. I'll definitely decorate them over the weekend. I do love Christmas trees...

I had an interesting conversation with my brother the other day. He picked up Dad from the nursing home and brought him to his house for Thanksgiving Dinner with the whole family, in-laws included.

His oh-so-serious comment to me was, "Dad is really slipping fast, Mare."

"Oh, what is it?" (Nothing surprises me anymore.)

"You should have seen him at the table. Eating with his fingers - I had to tell him to pick up his fork ten times! Finally, I just fed him, then rolled him in front of the TV in the family room."

"There's nothing you can do about it, Victor. He's more senile these days and you just need to accept it."

"Yea. I know. But then later, I looked over at him watching TV and he was eating the drawstring on his pants!" (This is when I lost it...choking back the laughter, although he could have choked to death.)

He heard my muffled laughter and shot at me, "Mare, it's not funny! I'm tired of his antics!"

Still holding back a guffaw, "Oh, just lighten up Francis! I agree that it's not really funny, but sometimes you gotta relax and stop worrying about every little hiccup. Laugh a little, will ya?"

I'm telling my brother to relax and all the while I'm wondering if there's something wrong with me, laughing at something so sad.

This conversation brought to mind my father's newly acquired conversational skill of mocking and it can be quite frustrating unless you have a good sense of humor. Here's an account of a conversation between the two of them a few months ago while Dad was still living at home.

Victor: "What do you want to watch on TV, Dad?"

Dad: "What do you want to watch on TV, Dad?"

Victor: "I'm not Dad!"

Dad: "I'm not Dad!"

Victor: "Want the History Channel?"

Dad: "Want the History Channel?"

Victor: "I said that!"

Dad: "No, I said that!"

Victor: "Get your hand out of your pants!"

Dad: "Get your hand out of your pants!"

Victor: "I said that! Stop it!"

Dad: "I said Stop It!"

Victor, under his breath, "I'm caring for a freaking parrot."

Your sense of humor will get you through. If you don't need to be serious, smile and nod, laugh with gusto, and be silly when you can. It will do your heart good.

A sunny subject: Bella, soaking up the rays and enjoying a new chewy.


Anonymous said...

I went to comment on this post earlier and it was gone. So glad you put it back up. In my job, I have learned how important it is to be able to laugh and see humour in otherwise sad situations. Dementia is like experiencing an age reversal from 12 years to 0 years. It is hard on families who remember what their loved one was like, but you have to live one day at a time and enjoy special moments that come along.

Mary said...

Thanks for your comment, Ruth. My father had a major stroke that paralyzed his left side in 1995. He's been wheelchair bound since and the dementia has become increasingly noticeable in the last few months and there have been several mini-strokes during the last few years, too. I live a few states away and it's hard on me. I worry, but it's OK. He's a happy soul and that's what counts!

LauraHinNJ said...

I was so hoping that you might rant a little about how clueless brothers are, but yours sounds like a peach (albeit an anxious one).

I have two brothers and it was interesting to see how differently they each handled caring for my dad in his illness.

I think it's good that you laugh. Laughter won't change what's happening, but neither will sadness. Daughters know something that sons don't, I think.

Help your brother to laugh. It's probably harder for him to do, because he's closer, but your perspective will help ease his stress, I think.

(Aren't I just full of advice! - I've no room to talk - I was a mess with my dad).

Susan Gets Native said...

Mary, my image of you is totaly blown. If a person can't spell the word "carrot"...jeez..


Keep laughing as long as you can, Mary.
My grandma started showing signs of dementia when she was 90, and she declined steadily until she passed away at 94. The one memory I have from that time that makes me smile is this:
The last Christmas we had with her, we were all sitting around the table getting ready to start eating. And my grandma stated to all of us: "You know, I am the head of the Kailholz clan." She said it with such pride, even if she didn't recognize any of us, she was proud of us anyway.

I love blogging...reading other people's blogs makes me remember so many things from my own life.

Mary said...

Laura - My brother has become more patient lately but not without some bumps along the way. I don't know how he cared for him in the evenings for so many months. It drove me crazy after three days...:)

Susan - I wish my spell check would work in Blogger! LOL! I've been spelling "carrott" all my life! It just *looks* right. Jeezzzz.

I guess everyone dropped their forks after your Grandma's announcement. That was cute.

Susan Gets Native said...

Little tip:
i have the Google toolbar, and there is a spell check built in. I use that one when I comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sending me here too Mary. I know how hard all of this is on you, especially being so far away. We can only do what we can do I guess. I need to learn that too.