Christmas day found the whole family at the hospital to see mom. We went to church in the morning, and then went to the hospital. They served free Christmas dinner for whoever was at the hospital that day. It wasn't too bad. It was still cafeteria food, but not too bad for a christmas dinner.
Mom, however, was not doing so well. She had no idea who we were. I don't know if having all of us there was too much for her, or if it was a bad day, or what, but she was disoriented, she didn't want us in the room, she was totally distant from Emma, which is HIGHLY unusual. She just wasn't mom. When I mentioned it to dad, he totally blew me off, of COURSE she knew who we were. She didn't. There was one moment of clear lucidity, she smiled big and you knew that she knew what was going on, but then it was gone, and she was lost again. We didn't stay long that day. My brother almost has anxiety attacks whenever he has to go see mom. To see her in that state is just more than he can handle. It is hard to see her like that. To measure her existance and her well-being by the numbers that are flickering and flashing on moniters. It's hard to watch and make sure the foley catheter isn't irritating her and to clean her up and keep the yeast infections under control. It's hard to help clean her up after a bowel movement. My brother has no idea what to say or how to say it, and he covers up for it by trying to get any kind of reaction he can from mom, good or bad. He gets really antsy and nervous, ready to leave in just a few minutes. Absolutely useless. My SIL, though, is a rock. She is nice to mom, talks to her in a normal voice, brings Emma and as much as Emma will let her, lets Emma interact with mom. She is a support for dad, as much as she can be. She is a blessing to this family. I can't thank God enough for the gift of my brother's wife.
I must give my father his due. Everyday he is at the hospital. He is taking care of her, doing all of the personal necessary things for her. I'm worried about how small his world is becoming, but he is a comfort and help to my mom in this difficult time. And he is strong, in his own way. To be at the hospital all day, everyday, is a hard thing to do, it would be hard for me to do, because you can't really do anything. You can't give medicine, you can't speed up the recovery, you can't walk for her or talk for her or help her get out of bed. All you can do is be there, and hold her hand, and try to soothe and comfort as best as we can. And to do that day after day after day after day is hard, and my dad does it without a second thought or a doubt.
I'm finally able to say, without shame or hesitation or too much embarrassement, that someday I hope to find a man like my dad. I'd like to find someone who loves me the way my Dad loves my Mom. Someone who loves me beyond all doubt, in all conditions, and without any hesitation or second thoughts. This is truly what marriage is supposed to be, this is what God intended when he ordained marriage. Not the silly, floaty, lusty love of the early years, but the love grown over 40 years, love that enables you to take on the task of caring physically for your disabled spouse. A love that looks beyond the bald head, the pale sick palour, the tubes and machines, and still see the young woman of 20 in the white dress walking down the short aisle to be with her husband.
May God grant that I one day get to have a love like that.