In anticipation of the real subject of this post, I want to talk a bit about last week which was, for me, a difficult up and down experience and certainly tested my ability to live only in the here and now. Our life is getting smaller, some little bit because of my desire to minimize aggravations but also as it was made clear that connections that I had always assumed existed, really didn’t exist.
I hadn’t told Jackie’s caregiver that Monday was her birthday because I didn’t want put any pressure on her to get Jackie anything. When I came home from the store with a little rose bush in a pot and a nice little cake, I see that her caregiver had also brought a cake and some gifts for Jackie. Jackie was beside herself happy.
But, except for a message from a beloved niece and my bio-kids, the day was quiet. Where were the calls from her children, from her relatives, from her friends?I admit that I was angry. Not the red-in-the-face, yelling kind of anger but the disappointed in the human race kind of anger.
Jackie had been especially close to two people, she did everything she could for each of them as they needed it and, when individually their lives were in disarray, Jackie lent them money.
Not huge, buy a car money, but wow-that-will pay the rent for a while money. So I wrote to each of them saying that, since there were lots of expenses associated with Jackie’s care, that getting the money back would be a help.
Of course, no answer. No excuse, no expression of regret, nothing.
And thus I come to the subject of this post – ‘what is wrong with people?’
Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to interact with someone with dementia.
Yes, it might be saddening.
Yes, it might be frightening when one’s own mortality is revealed.
Yes, it’s inconvenient to waste a bunch of hours with someone who really doesn’t understand and who, without explanation, might go off and go to sleep at any moment.
I’ve been on this planet for quite a long time and I’m pretty familiar with all the excuses – good and bad – and when all is said and done, the excuses don’t count.
I don’t care.
Ignoring Jackie, saying that she doesn’t count enough to absorb a bit of discomfort or unpleasantness, neglecting even to call routinely to ask how she is getting alone, is an enormous insult to her and to me.
It makes me think that we have wasted every moment and penny that we’ve used to support our half of the relationship.
How can her caregiver, a person that we’ve known for only a few months, make more of an effort, take more care than people we’ve known in some way for decades.
So, I’m done.
Not with life, not with my friends, not with those people who’ve evinced some sympathy but with everyone else.