East of nowhere,
July 29
"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." ~Helen Keller


ThroughMyEyes's Links
APRIL 2, 2012 2:29PM

The Other Side of Death

Rate: 29 Flag

The days are moving along like floaters racing past by my corneas. My senses have succumbed to the scent of death; her final preparations. 


‘Where’s my brass pagoda with the little bell and ringer?”


“It’s not here, Mom.”


“Where is it?”


“I’m not quite sure. I’ll ask the other kids.”


“I want to know where it is. I need to know it’s safe and in a place where it will be handed down and kept in the family.”


“Then we’ll find out where it is.”


“I don’t care where it is.”




“I hate your father.”


“No Mom, you loved Dad.”


“He lied to me.”


“How so Mom,”


"He told me he’d live to be 102 and die in a house of ill-repute. He didn’t wait. He lied.”


“It wasn’t his choice Mom but I do understand your anger.”


“I’m not angry! Do we have an Oreo’s left?”




“I’m not sure what to do next Dee.”


“Well, you’re in the hall. Where were you heading?”


“I wasn’t heading anywhere. I need to go to the bathroom and I don’t know what to do next. Where’s the toilet paper? I need toilet paper.”


“There’s plenty in there now Mom. We’re good.”


“How do you know what’s going to happen when I get there!  I forgot what I do now? I have to go to the bathroom.”



“Is today Valentine’s Day?’


“No, that was a little over a month ago Mom but we can still say I love you if you want”


“Why is **** home? Isn’t he working today, it’s Sunday?”


“No Mom he doesn’t work on Sundays.”


“Because it’s Valentines day?”


“I think you mixed up my pill box. Today is Wednesday right?”   

“Yes today is Wednesday.”


“Oh. But, its March isn’t it?”


“Yes, it’s March, Mom.”


“So why did you give me Wednesday’s pill box?”



In October of 2011 I took a full retirement from an agency I’d been with for nearly 35 years. During those years of service I was trained to believe, I had to believe, that “death for cause” outweighed “cause of death” I thrived on the uncertainties of life, the lack of normalcy and the stress that swallowed up each day.


As I stare into the vast blue voids of Mom’s eyes I find myself going back to Kuru’s, a tiny Costa Rican bar where the uncertainties, stress and abnormities of the day could be thrust in a glass of cheap brandy. Kuru, a place where sanity and madness held hands. It’s in those very moments that I truly know that all that was….is.



“It’s four o’clock Mom. You ready for your glass of wine?”


“I think I’ll have a Bloody Mary tonight.”


“Crushed ice this time around? And do you want one or two hits of Tabasco?”


“I never put ice OR Tabasco in my wine you know that!”


And for a brief moment, I've been given a certainty when I take pause to say,


“Yes, I do know that, Mom”


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Dee, as I read this I remembered my grandmother and this is one of my biggest fears. May you both find a place of peace.
Delighted to see you here, friend.

Terry was at her mom's home yesterday, she did not know her. Kept calling her her sister's name, Maybel. She then got down on the floor looking for bugs, of course, there were none. We think she had a psychotic breakdown yesterday and she is at the doctor today. Her daughter, still refuses to see the trees before the forest. She needs to be in 24 hour care, now, before she hurts herself of someone else. I am at the end of my rope my friend and I know how you feel!
Every time I talk to my 96 yr old Aunt the conversation is similar to this. I'm going to go and see them soon before the end. I'm sure it will be heart wrenching. I've missed you./r
You have my sympthy dear lady. This is a hard road you are walking and one which, I pray daily, that none of my own loved ones have to travel because of me.
There is not a lot to “believe” when it comes to Death.
All it requires is..patience…as the person…devolves…in front of your astonished eyes & ears.

“ to believe, I had to believe, that “death for cause”
outweighed “cause of death””

(they interrelate them selves insidiously, alas)

I thrived on the uncertainties of life, the lack of normalcy and the stress that swallowed up each day.

Yes, a crisis manager. Thank god for the endless crisis of the human situation, I say, as a fellow drama queen…

, a place where sanity and madness held hands. ?

Yes where I hope to live & have my being…

It’s in those very moments that I truly know that all that was….is.

All that was is=life.
All that is= life.

Comes in 57 delicious flavors!
First, great to see you back, Dee. Second, your mom has some wires loose but the spark's still good. And, not least, this: ...where the uncertainties, stress and abnormities of the day could be thrust in a glass of cheap brandy. Kurus, a place where sanity and madness held hands. It’s in those very moments that I truly know that all that was….is. ~ Chicken/Clark/Matt
You have touched on the hardest thing we will ever do. Watching the people we love lose touch is a heartbreaker. I have been there and it was very difficult.
rated with love
Well it's about [bad word/wonderful meaning] time. How are you? we missed you much, and it is so good to read you again. R
This is our journey as well, except Daddy can no longer speak. Between the dementia and the word salad, it's hard on him and, well, everyone who loves him. We have to keep letting the memory of 'him' as we knew him go, over and over, and just deal with him as he is now. It's a full time job. I really, really hope there's someone around to make me a bloody mary wine with crushed ice when the time comes. You are giving her so much of yourself in these sunset days - have a glass yourself now and then. Cheers to you, Dee.
It's a tough road but an important road to be a loving companion on. I lost my Mum to Alzheimer's too. Hang in there, Dee. Sounds like you have the right answers.

Life seems to cycle around and move too quickly!!!
Ah Dee dear. So many burdens...

Take some Dee Time as this situation allows.
And take good care of Dee too.
She is important.
Put her at the top of the list.
And I will be sending the best karma I got for you woman.
I wish you courage and strength.
Sanity.. and madness Dee.
My god I cannot imagine.
Much love- hope that helps, some
tr ig/\steve
it's a terrible combination, this person you know mixed with one no one's ever met before. worse is that you get no hints of which one is going to be speaking the next sentence. if any of the dialog is fictionalized, you took it from the well of truth. i've drunk that water and i know. incredibly touching piece, dee. i wish you strength.
*Linda, TY. There are times that I've often thought that the place Mom might be in a more serene than where we are. Who's to know....

*Jon, You're a dear. Despite the topic, writing even this little piece felt great.
*Scanner, Mom came here 5 yrs. ago to recoup from a broken hip and wrist. The intent was solely to get her back on her feet and on home to her apt. in NY. I'm grateful she asked to stay because I can't imagine ( as much as I admit the anger and frustration I had at times) her being in a strangers care. I hope you can work with Terry's family to get her Mom the help she needs, with lots of family support to boot..

*Christine, I've missed you too. Yes, go see your Aunt. It will a big difference for you and for her. Even if it doesn't appear she knows, I truly believe somewhere inside they do.
*David, Caring for Mom has been one of the best learning experiences I've had, for many reasons. The biggest, of which, is exactly what you are afraid of. I asked my husband to make a pact with me that things would not change for us when Mom moved in. They did. Tremendously. In five yrs. we have spent two days away from our home, alone, together. It's not healthy, for us, or for Mom, but it's all we have for options. You see life so very differently when you're in the midst of caring for someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's and you can't possibly know the outcome, or affect it has on you and others, until it happens. With that in being said, I've already spoken with my kids and told them that if it were to be me, in the same situation, they were not to consider being my designated caretakers.We do what we do out of love, and it's out of that love that I now realize they deserve to continue to live even when I can't.
I recognized this by your fifth line. So many of us do. I am sorry.
Take care of yourself first. That is the only rule of caregiving. Sounds like you are doing the best you can. It is a heavy weight. I work part time at a day care for adults with dementia. We give the caregivers some relief and we have lots of fun. It is like an extended family in a big old house where we play the old songs, games and sort out the universe.
*James, We must sit over coffee one day. We can chat about brandy at Kuru.

*Matt/Clark my dear chicken, she does have spark left. She will still ask if she can have men over when I run out to do a quick errand. I tell her yes, as long as they're gone before I get home! And yes.....all that was is...

*RP, TY for your compassion and understanding. I'm sorry you had to go through such heartache as well.
*Thoth, Oh hell use the word. It will lighten the mood a bit! Thank you for being you.

*Scarlett, You know it's like raising your first child. You have no idea what the flip you're doing but hope for the best.

*Tink, Yup, just like a merry go round. As long as you keep spinning and don't grab for the dang gold ring you have a chance of hanging on. Please tell me you are not telling your wife you're living to be 102 and dying in a house of ill-repute because whenever Mom brings that up I think of you and the visual is getting to me.
*Mission, Grabbing that Karma as I type! Ty dear lady.

*Sheila, Thank you!
You've been very missed, Dee. She does have spark but this sounds so incredibly hard. Abnormities is a fine word. What is it with mothers loving those oreos? Loved the writing about Kurus, in particular.
Again,great to see you. You have been, and remain, the best that OS has to offer.
*Steve, Your words helped more than I can tell you!

*Gary, Come visit, I have no doubt Mom would adopt you. Twice.. if you asked her nicely ;-)

*Candace, If I could have one wish, it would be that the dialogues were not real or best a little bit more racy.
Thanks for the support.

I live with my 81 year old mom, while she has some medical issues, she has remained sharp. I feel blessed, and would not have made different choices given the opportunity to do it over. I don't know how I could keep up if she had dementia or Alzheimer's. Heartbreaking. I wish you strength and love.
I wish you strength and grace. I'm glad you are able to enjoy wine with your mother in the evenings.
Sigh. I had so many of these kinds of conversations with my mother, & it's a blessing to be able to laugh about them even when the exasperation & the sadness of it all make you want to cry. I never felt so "mortal" as when watching my mother fade & disappear & die. As weird as it sounds to say your mom is blessed, she really is, because she has you there to help her though the tough ending.
I miss you- yeah.
wishing you both peace
Wishing you and your mom the best, Dee.
“I’m not angry! Do we have an Oreo’s left?”

We were spared these Alice in Wonderland conversations (mainly), as Mami still had her mind together even as her body failed, but I remember my grandmother greeting Mrs. P and I warmly once when we went to visit her, and chatting with us easily and in the most friendly way for a couple of minutes before she turned to me and, with the most puzzled expression on her face, said "Who are you?"

It is a grace that we can help them in these times. It is a blessing--a necessary, sustaining blessing--to be able to laugh about the surreality.

“Yes, I do know that, Mom.” What you know, of course, is that you are (were) fortunate to be there for her, as much as she was.

Bless you. Again.