It's blustery and raining today with temperatures dropping from the 60s to the 40s. Prediction is that 40s it will be from here on out. No more warm weather reprieves like yesterday when it was in the 70s. Time to turn inward, and stay inside. There are still some holdouts in the garden -- carrots, cabbage, kale, spinach, parsley, peas -- but everything else has died and been pulled to be added to the compost pile. Life and death.
I visited Sky yesterday after a month's absence. There were only two phone calls in that time, brief calls, where Sky wanted to tell me what he was doing ("Just finished tiling the bathroom! It looks great!" "I've been baking bread with the kitchen ladies and just bought a new grill.") and then, abruptly, he says he has to go. All I can do is listen to his voice -- which sounds completely "normal" -- so I am confused for a moment. Maybe he doesn't have dementia? Wait, no. He does. And then he is gone.
The staff calls me every time he "falls" (or places himself on the floor) which is happening with greater frequency. They're not really falls though -- he's just busy doing different things -- like a "project" that involved him crawling across the floor, or sleeping on the floor in someone else's room. I still wonder what it's like to be him.
Yesterday he hardly spoke, mainly looked at the floor, and muttered from time-to-time. He said Gary Oldman and Sean Connery were there. He kept repeating the words for ice cream (morozhenoye) and please (pozhaluysta) in Russian. He said, "There is good potential if I have enough energy to follow them." Though when I asked what he meant, he did not respond, just like he did not respond when I told him about the nice weather, or about a friend who had died, or that we took the boats in for the winter.
Once again, I am faced with the decision of whether or not to keep visiting him. It is painful for me, but I think it would be painful to not see him. So much pain all around.
The changing seasons also mark the time of year when we remember our dead. There has been a lot of death recently among my friends and their loved ones. Cancer, in particular, is taking too many people too soon. We honor their lives by remembering them, the gifts they brought to the world, the challenges they faced. We look our own mortality in the eye. And then we go inward to await spring's rebirth.
Between the virus and the election, there is a lot of stress and anxiety out there -- and in here. I grieve the end of the garden season, the lake season, the boating season. I grieve the loss of friends and colleagues. I grieve the loss of the Sky I've known and loved for 35+ years.
Thanks for sharing in our journey.
This is what Sky looked like yesterday: