Not quite the plan

on finding my groove as a 30 something single girl and caregiver for mom with dementia


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Always dancing.

My father loved to dance.  He was always first on the dance floor at a party or wedding.  I will never forget him dragging me out on an empty dance floor at my high school father daughter dance night.  He had looked forward to that very much and had made me a deal about attending together.  I was less enthusiastic about though lost my dancing self consciousness as a young adult. 

My mother though never did.  She and my father at some point took ballroom dance lessons together, which I think suited her.  She could tap out the beats of a waltz. 

And yet, since arriving at this particular stage of dementia, Mom cannot seem to stop dancing.  A freestyling, so what if there is no music kind of way.  One day recently, Mom and I were looking at a magazine together and saw an image of a drum set.  She immediately suggested we dance.  So dance we did, me twirling her and her twirling me.  Sometimes there is finger snapping too. 

Most of the time, I am grateful that my dad missed seeing Mom go downhill like this.  Sis and I are agreed that it would have broken his heart too much too bear.  And yet, I wish he could have danced with her like this– confidently, with music only in their imaginations, through the assisted living halls. 

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What we gained in the fire.

This is the name of one of my favorite songs, a song that I listened to countless times in the weeks after my father’s death.  For me, it captures the nature of grief and our struggle with mortality, a moment that I find myself in again tonight.  I sit here listening tonight to the Mynabirds:

“And I got something I don’t wanna lose.
But I’m learning to let go of you.”

My best friend- also in her mid-30s- lost her mother this week.  It makes me so sad for her, for me, for all of us who lose our parents much too early.  In the story of how life is supposed to go, our kids are supposed to grow up with grandparents.  Our parents are supposed to be there for advice, future Christmases, shared humor and memories, and simply love, for many years to come.

I wander down the hall to check on Mom, who uncharacteristically headed to bed early tonight.  I could not of course simply appreciate this but have decided to worry that this means there is something wrong with her.  She is fine.  Within a moment of me poking my head into her bedroom, Mom and I are laughing about a stupid joke.   Loss reminds me to be grateful for our middle of the night laughter.