Monday, November 10, 2014

There's No Turning Back...

My Logitch K120 keyboard, which I've owned for about three years. Note the dents, the missing letters, and possible pieces of peanut butter sandwich lodged between the keys. This is a writer's keyboard.
If I had been on the ball today, I would have written a post for Caregiving.com about caregiving my father from a distance. That topic is so muddled these days that I can't make sense of it, though, and I can't put it on paper yet. Death, when it touches someone close to us, changes us. All of us. There's no turning back.

That change goes very deep, too. I realize, in my conversations with other caregivers, that we're a breed apart in many ways. We have one portion of our lives (usually our own) that's disorganized and unimportant. The other part of our lives is insanely organized, much like Temple Grandin's Livestock Handling Systems. What goes in follows a defined path until it exits.

My life as caregiver to mom was organized. It became more organized the sicker she became. The one-time-per-day seven-day pill holder went to a two-week pill holder that held morning, noon, and night pills. The journals became real journals instead of sticky notes. The physical observation went from downright obvious to sly, so it wouldn't upset mom to know that I was becoming more concerned about her yellow skin, her swollen ankles, her swelling stomach.

My life, on the other hand, kept fading into the distance. It helped that I wasn't at home for this illusion to work. Home became a lone fragment of fog floating up and over a mountain away from my daily routines.

But I'm home now. It's real. I'm becoming more organized. You may have read about part of that organization in my previous entry about changing the spare bedroom into a basket-making studio for my husband. My office? Still the same -- I have a path that leads from the door to my chair. I have a keyboard with no letters from overuse. I have chaos.

But, I'm focused on my mission to finish this memoir. My tool is the clock. I've used it before in keeping time with mom's daily routines, and I can use it again in writing this book. I know how that time-keeping works, as do so many other caregivers. Time. That linear framework consisting of hours, minutes, and seconds is all we have to align ourselves among the realities of health, sickness, and death.

There's no turning back (except for this damnable daylight savings time bullcrap).