The Holidays are Not So Bright
A time of mixed feelings. That is how I would describe my outlook on life at this holiday time. I've recently returned from a twelve day cruise; that could easily cause a letdown feeling. My dad is dying; his death is expected within days. That certainly brings feelings of sadness. And then there's Christmas, the celebration of Christ's birth...and the joy of God's promise to love us always. I can only feel that happiness from moment to moment. I wrap gifts with little enthusiasm. I shop with even less. I bake cookies just so I will have some. Top all of this off with the problems that dementia and little to no short term memory causes and no wonder I have such mixed emotions this year. Granted, many people are going through similar situations and feelings, people who do NOT have dementia. Maybe they are better able to handle all of this than I am...
Dementia is definitely having an effect on my life now. It causes me to doubt myself all the time! For example, one day I wanted to make dinner-that's quite a celebration in itself! I needed orzo, pasta that looks like rice. I remembered that there had been a great sale on it and that I had bought four or five boxes (I like using it, can you tell?). I looked in my cupboard upstairs, in the cupboards downstairs...later, I looked again. Surely, I thought, I COULDN"T have used all that orzo already. I looked again and again, believing that I must be overlooking it... This went on through the day. Finally, I gave up and fixed something else. Later, when we were eating dinner, I explained to my husband that I had wanted to make something else but couldn't find the orzo...that I guessed we had eaten it all...sigh.....sigh....
"No, we didn't. I must have given that to the food pantry at church...Remember when I told you while you were at the cottage that I had cleaned out the pantry of the extra stuff we had? I must have given away all that orzo!" my husband said.
I do remember him mentioning something about giving stuff to the food pantry...but, gosh darn! He gave my orzo away to people who probably have no idea that orzo even exists much less ever used it!!! I had been second guessing myself all day...
Going to my local grocery store, to which I have gone for thirty years or more, is becoming a real chore. I might as well be Little Red Riding Hood walking through a fog-shrouded forest. Sure, I can find flour because it's in the aisle marked BAKING, and I can find the meat department and the dairy area. But, where in this big world (store) is the ketchup? And the olives? And the orzo? Usually, anymore, my husband goes to the store with me, but, if he doesn't, I call him several times asking where something can be located. Upon thinking about it, I know that I need to go to the office and ask right at the beginning where the items are and write down the aisle on my list. That will save me lots of time!
Mixed feelings this season? I don't remember much of the cruise. I looked at a picture of me standing in water. My first reaction was: WHO is THAT? Once I realize it's me, I try to remember where I am and when it was...Was it this past cruise? It has to be...why can't I remember?
Mixed feelings? Oh yes! Grief is so immediate, but I'm afraid I will forget these last moments with my dad...and that saddens me too.
So, my Christmas season 2009 is pretty depressing. I know some things will get better. All hope is not lost. After all, it is Christmas. Thank God.