I've been watching the HBO Alzheimer's Project films all morning. It is Monday as I write this, the day after Mother's Day.
It is raining now and has been nearly all night. When I went out to Judy's farm this morning the pasture road was really muddy. Even slow going threw mud all over the side of the car. It is funny to me that the mud is black for a while but the more rain we get the redder the mud becomes.
It is not funny that the weather mirrors my mood as I watch these videos. The longer I watch the more I feel like I am suffocating from the memories of my own time caregiving for my parents.
Every video, every person, every situation, every place all conspire to raise old memories long since buried but not very deeply it turns out. Mostly I would just as soon those memories stay forgotten I guess. I am surprised I feel this way and did not expect it.
Yesterday morning I was already melancholy for a while. I avoided church. Not because I did not want to worship but because I really did not want to be around other people. I didn't want to be reminded that my parents are gone and I am still here. I drove over to the cemetery and stood there in the plot that has 6 of us already. Didn't do anything - just stood there - and thought about each one of them. Maybe I gave a bit more thought to the women in honor of Mother's Day.
Mom has been gone 8 years this year and my grandma will be 21 and my aunt who was like a mother 22. I walked over to my other grandparents' graves and realized she's already been gone 24 years. Then I went to find my ex mother-in-law's grave because she also was a mother to me. I didn't put out flowers. It was raining anyway. But I counted how many I need to buy for Memorial Day and I will put them out then.
Then last night I watched an older X-Men movie on TV. I followed that by watching the HBO video about Caregivers. I chose that one first for some reason. I could not help but think about how like the X-men are both those of us with dementia and those who try to care for them. Irony?
This morning I began again by watching The Memory Loss Tapes. My blogger friend, Annie from Maple Corners, is in that one. I wish I could say it was good to see her and her mom but it would be a lie. I recognized her instantly of course and her mom. It was painful for me to watch though. But I made myself watch all of it.
I have to stop watching right now. I am not sure I can watch more. I want to. I wanted to write about how great it is that these videos exist and I wanted to like them just as everyone else has commented about them. Maybe I will like them later but I don't right now.
I want to go throw up right now.
My son is in the next office. He can hear the audio though. I just told him I thought I was going to puke. He said he thought he might, too. He said he wasn't sure he could watch these.
One thing I can tell you is that a few minutes of video footage does not and maybe cannot communicate what it is like when the minutes turn into hours and the hours become days and the days fall into weeks and the weeks grow into months and the months accumulate into years.
I don't know if I will post this.
It is Monday afternoon now. I am home from feeding the horses and checking on Judy's mom. She reminds me so much of one of the women in the memory video.
The videos are very honest and very real. They are well produced with very high production values. But they are raw, too. RAW is the right word I think.
I did not know I was still so raw myself but apparently I am. I really thought I was more healed. I really thought these stories would not bother me so much.
I decided to post as you can see.
Nine Years and Counting
4 months ago