As we watched mom, we often asked ourselves, nurses, Google, “Is this normal?” Even if the answers are dreadful, as a caregiver, you want to know want to expect and where new developments (or diminishments) fit on the spectrum.
In 2018 and 2019 I traveled to Puerto Rico a dozen times to hang out with my partner who took a job in San Juan. I didn’t feel bad about leaving mom and dad behind for ten to fourteen days at a time, because whenever I wasn’t in Puerto Rico, I was at the farm. I actually spent more time with them during those months.
The loops from New Orleans, to Miami, to San Juan (where all the local passengers applauded as soon as the wheels touched the tarmac) and then back from San Juan to Miami and New Orleans stretched lazily, like a hammock between trees. When Steven’s job there ended, I was in shock for a minute. In the middle, we don’t always sense the edges of the time container.
Steven was thrilled to return home after two months of earthquakes, which was particularly unsettling on the 24th floor of a glass building. Even the walls in his penthouse condo were glass.
I mention in this post that we’ll have to figure out the “New normal.” A mere forty-three days before lockdown.
Is this normal?
We didn’t know that one short month and thirteen days after his return, we would enter the new normal of lockdown. Just like that, the glorious hammock of weeks stretched between the farm and the island had come to an end. And we wouldn’t have much time to sort out our “new normal” before, just like that, mom and dad would be drastically isolated.
We’re lucky that Steven left when he did. Being stuck on an island isn’t my worst nightmare, but stuck alone on an island in lockdown with disease swirling in the air isn’t dreamy.
I was caught up in Mardi Gras preparations and figuring out normal, without a clue about the pandemic months ahead and how hard the isolation would be on mom. Loss of stimulation for Alzheimer’s patients always is.
I have to hope that the extra stimulation she received for the sixteen months helped her float just a little.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023