Friday, August 2, 2013
I love language. I love the sound of words, the alliteration, the musicality. I love the mystery, the puzzle aspect of jumbling symbols together to make extraordinary sense or to simply communicate. Reading and writing are my mainstay, my safety net, my escape. Or rather were those things. I can't concentrate well enough to read. I forced myself to read a book, with my daughter's prodding, and although I enjoyed the book, it was an effort to get through. My issues, not the author's. His language is totally gone. He has vestiges of phrases, more a brain habit than meaningful word patterns. He sits like the oldest tome on the shelf--stiff, yellowed, dusty--some pages glued together and indecipherable, others smeared by mildew and damp. Of course communication is not only through language, but when it's your own most special venue, losing your husband within it is excruciating. His doctor says it's time for "palliative care" and we can stop giving him large pills that are difficult to swallow and to handle. (He sometimes chews them.) Her words startled me a bit and brought me abruptly from my strange new denial place, which looks a lot like my old denial place--anger. The professional pronouncements, when they come intermittently, jolt me into the reality of where we are, and what's happening. I question myself constantly. "Wait! Maybe I oversold the severity of symptoms! Maybe he isn't slipping away that fast! You know my penchant for drama!" Have I misrepresented him to his doctor? Am I hastening his demise by eliminating some of the many pills he's taking? And on and on, down the crazy road of balancing reality, denial, hope, and despair. I am a reader but am also a fighter. It's not germane to me to "be" in the moment of watching my partner become my child. Words can't stop this train, and as much as I enjoy their taste, I can only angrily spit them out on these pages.