For the last month and a half I've watched my MIL decline from the occasional benign hallucination or brief spell of confusion to believing her house has turned into a nursing home filled with people she doesn't know and won't talk to her. It wasn't caused by a UTI because she was already 6 days into a 10 day course of antibiotic when the s**t hit the fan. That went on for about a week and a half. Then she seemed to snap out iof it, did really well for about three days. In the midst of all that I had a health scare of my own and had to go for an endo-biopsy (which turned out to be benign - whew!) Then MIL started believing her husband who passed away 17 years ago was still alive and missing. For four days we tried the placate and reassure approach, but for every well intended reassuring word or "little white lie" we told her she came back with three or more questions. She wasn't buying any of it, and eventually became so determined to find him that she was on the verge of calling the state police and filing a missing persons report. We decided we had no choice but to tell her the truth. We located a copy of his death certificate (because we knew she'd demand proof) and spent two heart wrenching hours with her, watching her suffer through the grieving process all over again. It worked....she has accepted that he's gone now, but her memory has turned into alphabet soup...she doesn't remember going to his funeral, but she does remember placing flowers and a flag on his grave every Memorial Day....she understands it happened a long time ago, but she still thinks she needs to make phone calls and notify people. The anxiety she was feeling when she thought he was missing has eased now, but she's.....sadder. Today was the first day that she seemed to be coming to terms with it all and finding some peace. I thought we might finally be getting out of the woods, at least for a little while. Then her home care worker called out sick today so my "morning off" flew out the window. And then I discovered our dog (of almost 14 years) was not acting right. I called my daughter (a vet tech) and she came and got her. She knew as soon as she looked at her that she wouldn't be bringing her back.
I loved that dog. She was a royal pan in my butt sometimes, but I loved her. And I miss her terribly. There's one less heart beating in our home tonight and the silence is deafening. I know I'll get over it in time. I know things could be worse. I know there are many people out there suffering through FAR worse. And I know the pain in my heart isn't all about the dog. But right now, in this moment, it feels like a weight on my chest....like I'm swimming against the tide and the shore is slipping further and further away.
Don't know what I'm looking for here...guess I just needed to write it down - get it all out. Thnx for listening.