Planning and preparation
2015 is here, I feel relieved, the end of the year dragged and depression was starting to eat at my soul. I have survived. With the start of a new year comes new beginnings, I have started to plan. Meals, exercise, work, holidays, goals. It all goes into a massive pile and I start to sort through what I want to achieve.
1. Keep your car clean!
2. Keep your room clean!
3…. The list is long and endless, the list keeps me focused.
I have mapped out two months worth of meals and gym sessions, vowed that I will exercise 30 minutes every day – rain or shine, because as a Facebook meme once said to me, ‘you will never regret working out.’ I plan with precision my days and weeks and it soothes my soul.
However during this planning and preparation I start a different kind. The Martha plan.
The oxford dictionary states;
Alzheimers is a; Progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle to old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain.
I start to prepare myself. Martha will not be getting better this year, her alzheimers affected brain will mean she gets worse. Which means, regardless of all my planning and preparing, regardless of a positive attitude, the reality is, this will still be a tough year.
I watch as Martha blinks her eyes furiously and mutters to herself;
‘Are you ok Mama?’
‘mmmmm’ This is the most she responds
‘I don’t know what that means’ I stare at her, pleading with my eyes for her to talk to me. She manages a yes.
My brain starts to buzz, but yesterday she was fine, asking questions, talking, telling me she had a lovely day. Today that person is gone. I squeeze her hand. I say the words ‘it’s ok’ more for myself than her.
Every interaction we have I am reminded that alzheimers is an unforgiving disease, that each good moment is precious but fleeting and each bad moment is heart breaking and frequent.
I start to prepare myself mentally. I repeat to myself ‘you can’t be shocked every time something changes.’ I check on Martha, consciously or subconsciously it is now a habit to worry about her whereabouts. The feeling unfamiliar and every time we go out I prepare myself to be vigilant of Martha’s whereabouts. I prepare for accidents, I have a small bag in the car with a spare change of clothes for Martha. I smile to myself, how similar this must be to raising a small child.
I prepare myself for the inevitable, this year I will lose even more of Martha. A thought I don’t enter into too often. I will watch as she disappears before my eyes, I will watch and wait for the day that my name disappears from her lips and her light flickers off. I will prepare myself to let her go.
For now I prepare for the weekend. What will we have for dinner tonight? Should we go to the movies? I ask Martha;
“What would you like to do today Mama?”
“Oh, we could go to a movie..” Her face lights up.
I turn my phone on, find a movie trailer, “this movie?”
I plan for us to go to the movies today. Just for a moment, for that one fleeting moment, Martha was in control. I shall honor that.
‘If you resist it, it’ll be cruel to you, if you let it in, it’ll be magic!’