I'm an intense, hyperactive woman with an imagination in overdrive who loves her Husby, her two Wonder Wieners, and her emerging career as an author and photographer.

Wednesday, January 18

Nurturing Sadness

The Camillia bush in our backyard is blooming. It is a life-affirming reminder I'm clinging to in a week that has been far too full of mortality. First, I learned that the ex-husband of a friend of mine had died of a heart attack in his early 50s. Their relationship was a tormented one, ending in stalking, abuse, restraining orders, and his attempted suicide on her birthday, January 25th, to "get back at her." This was years ago. His death seems the final pain in a painful life, and his timing sucks, yet again, as she approaches what should be a happy day, but is full of painful reminders.

On Saturday, I belatedly heard of the death of a family friend, from prostate cancer on December 11th. He and his wife have been a blessing to my Bio Mom, sticking by her through all her ups and downs, enjoying her company when she is sane and caring for her when she is not. Too many people can't handle the stress of severe mental illness, but they are not afraid of it. They've always been there for her. Bio Mom couldn't bring herself to tell me until I asked specifically how he was doing.

Then, yesterday, the hardest for me. A very dear friend of the family is essentially gone, brain dead, his body kept alive on a respirator only long enough for his children to find his living will, if he has one. I've known him since I was eight years old. He took our wedding pictures; it was his first gig as a professional wedding photographer, and he went on to become quite in demand for his skills. He's with my Dad now, I bet, in heaven's Officers Club, shooting the shit about Vietnam and the stunts they pulled flying C-130s. The situation is horrific. His wife is suffering from the same dementia that took my father. They found her bloodied and bruised from several falls, wandering the street, and sent police over to the house to find him collapsed in a coma. My Mom had been talking to him for weeks, trying gently but persistently to convince him to place her in permanent assisted living, knowing that caring for her was wearing him down. It wore him to death, is what it did. An ear infection exploded into his brain, even though he was on antibiotics to treat it. Now his two grown children, all that's left of the family, are faced with both his final arrangements and getting their mother into a care facility as soon as possible, with no instructions or plans left behind. My heart breaks for them while it forces me to deal intimately again with my father's death. I'm not ready for the intense emotions that are assailing me. My heart is too raw. It's too soon. I'm trying to deal with it by being gentle with myself, allowing the sadness to fill me, even as I acknowledge the beauty and joy of everyday life and simple things. I know I will go on, and happiness is still all around me.


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