On the north shore of Oahu, the lifeguards patrol the beach early in the morning, watch the waves and decide how safe the beach is for the day. One flag, two flags, or three flags. It became a game for me to watch the waves, decide how many flags would be planted in the sand and see if I was right. I got pretty good at it. I was blessed, fortunate, lucky, what ever you may call it to spend the month of February in Hawaii last year. I had never done that before, spend a month on the beach, well 24 days, so technically not a month, but, close enough. I want to run away. Go back to the beach, sit down and watch the ocean. I want to not think about the stuff, this dance I call “Life-at-the-moment.” I cannot change partners mid-way through this dance. I am here for the duration.
And, how do a dance and a three flag day fit together…I’m getting there.
Watching mother progress down the abyss of dementia is hell. So…I put a pretty tag on it and call it a dance. It sounds much better than the slow walk into darkness and death, doesn’t it. Or I could call it a 3-Flag Day. The waves are high, crashing on the beach, the undertow will drag you out, pull you under, kill you, spit your body back up onto the beach, with sand up every crevice, and leave you there to bake in the sun kind of day. So, don’t go in the water.
3-Flags Days warn of danger if you get too close to the edge and step into the water. Watching mother is like standing on the edge. I am no longer my mother’s child. I am not someone she knows. My voice is foreign to her. She seems to be afraid of me and will not let me brush her hair or feed her sweets. Mother calls for the nursing staff when I come into the room. So… I will just stay by the water’s edge.
I can do this, except…it hurts. In my fifty-something mind I know this is life. In my little six-year-old mind, it is abandonment and it is not fair. I must set my face like flint and watch her slowly sink into fear and darkness. The change in meds does not seem to have helped or she has had a small stroke or any number of reasons which need to be investigated. But, will they? She is 95. The protocol may be just to make her comfortable.
Geri and I were talking about the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” to which we both said, “bullshit.” I love what Geri said, “I have enough character, I don’t need this to make me stronger” or something like that. I am definitely “the glass is half empty and draining fast” kind of woman this week. I need to rest my head on my God’s chest and hear his heartbeat. There I will find strength for my spirit. Resting my head on my Big Guy’s chest and drawing on his strength, helps too. So…off to fill up my glass and face the day. A bit of a downer today, but, that’s life, carry on.
Stay warm, loved and safe from harm’s way.