Sunday, November 19, 2006

A mind is a terrible thing to lose

Grandpa didn't recognise me today. He didn't recognise me a few weeks back either, when my brother and I went to rake the leaves from their yard. Back then grandpa did know my brother, but had thought that my brother's brought a new girlfriend with him...

So there we were, raking leaves again. This time with mom and dad. I was already busy with my corner of the yard and grandpa had seen me from a window. He had muttered to mom that "There's some girl out in the yard with a rake. Come, look! Who is it? Do you know her?" Mom had explained to him that "the girl" was in fact his granddaughter. Grandpa had looked puzzled and sad. "My head's not working properly anymore. I get confused."

His Alzheimer's is getting worse fast. He doesn't remember that grandma lives with him (he keeps asking her if she lives there and when will she be leaving), he doesn't always even remember my mom (he had asked grandma where does she know her from) and the list goes on.

It really is heartbreaking to watch how a person's mind crumbles. On better days grandpa seems to understand his condition, but today, for example, he has problems with the most common words and if he tries to tell a story, it very soon becomes incomprehensible, because he confuses times, places and names. Sometimes there is no connection between two consecutive sentences.

The silence around the table when he tries to find words is a sad silence. I'm not sure whether it'd be better to try and help him with his sentences or just wait till he finds his words (or falls silent himself). And in the middle of it all, what makes me most sad at the moment is not the thought of me losing grandpa but of mom losing her dad and grandma losing her beloved husband.

There's no way for me to know what it must feel like to foresee the end of a 60 year marriage, but I do know that the thought of losing a parent is frightening as hell. It's something most of us have to face some day, but I can honestly say that I fear the day terribly. And that's why I feel so sad for mom.

I suppose it might have something to do with my life situation. I don't have a family of my own, except for my parents and my brother. No husband, no kids. I've pondered about this before (and the thought is very difficult to put into words, but I'll try...) - does the fact that I haven't gone through the "transition" from being "only" a daughter to, say, being also a wife, make me cling more to my parents? (Agh, how medieval do I sound? The thought is obviously clearer in my head than it will ever be here...) I mean, since I don't have anyone else in this world that I'd love as much, does the fear of losing my parents become a bigger monster, even now that I'm not dependent on them as such? Or do I just have ridiculously unrealistic ideals about "real love" and how it would make a difference? Or am I just being a selfish idiot, who thinks she's somehow different from everyone else, feeling like this?

Or am I just being ridiculous altogether? Agh.

Be how it may, I can honestly say that no matter how quickly this all ends, Alzheimer's has had its chance to show us how cruel a disease it really is.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Random observations of the day

First observation. If one wakes up in the morning after dreaming about the Russian Revolution of 1917/1918 during the first part of the night and then about one's bank card crumbling into tiny pieces when one wants to pay a dance course (which, oddly enough, was held in a castle somewhere and sadly it didn't make me feel any better) during the second part, one does not feel refreshed. Nope. Somewhat disoriented, yes, but not refreshed.

Second observation. People disgust me sometimes. Like on the bus where a woman was loudly discussing her ugly custody case with someone (most likely a social worker) on the phone. She was getting ruder by the minute and I was feeling bad for the person on the other end of the call. But I guess if the loud lady didn't care about the whole bus hearing how the child's dad has behaved badly or how the social workers had lied to her, I shouldn't care about it either, but for cryin' out loud (literally!)... When I sit in a bus, I do not want to hear about other people's court cases / sicknesses / arguments / whathaveyou. People really should think about the stuff they talk about in public on their cell phones.

Or like the young couple at the bus stop, right after I had survived the first piece of annoying bus behaviour. The girl of the couple (they must've been around 16-17 years of age, I'd say) was dressed in camouflage coloured tight jeans, with a lacing down to the crotch in front. Ewww. The fact that the pants were reeally lowriding doesn't probably even need mentioning. Combined with a winter coat which left her whole lower abdomen bare to the world. Brrr, thought I in the winter weather. But her dresscode was only the first thing that I noticed. I went seriously "eeeewwwww" when she started to squeeze the zits from her boyfriend's face right in the middle of the crowd waiting for the bus. Seriously, how gross can you get? Not much more than that.

Then, a random observation about footwear. Silly, silly fashions. It's now fashionable to have cute boots with an absolutely flat sole. I think most of the boots are nice and I could have a pair myself, but when there's a 4 cm layer of watery slush on the ground - not a good choice. Lots of wet feet squishing about today.

And finally, a random observation about work. I like teaching a lot (especially in senior high), but I hate the junior high "extra stuff", like recess watches and detention duty almost as much. Urgh.

There. Thanks for reading, if you read this. I'm off to do some work.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Silk and Audis for me

I went to a Halloween party last night. Lots of people, lots of costumes and drinks and dancing and fun. I must admit I find the dress up part of Halloween heaps of fun, especially when almost everyone has gone through the trouble of finding some costume for the occasion.

I have fond memories of the Halloween party we had in the States, when us exchange students were housed in a funeral home for the night (I mean for real, spooky!) and ever since (and probably before too) I've liked costume parties. Which probably explains some of my hobbies, like the Fantasy Feast stuff. Escaping from the boring every day life. Heh.

Anyways, my dress for last night was a real Indian sari and I loved it. I want one for myself too, as the sari I was wearing is actually Satu's souvenir from Goa (a million thanks for borrowing it to me, hon!).

It's certainly a very feminine thing to wrap oneself up in several metres of pretty fabric and my goodness, even with my less than perfect skills of wrapping it, it looked elegant. Very beautiful. I've spent quite a lot of time lately surfing the various sites selling saris on the net, and especially some of the bridal saris are stunning. (Well, I'm probably not likely to be wearing a sari on my wedding day, if such will come in the distant future, but I sure love the idea of having such a beautiful piece of clothing in any case.)

All my enthusiasm about saris resulted in an interesting description of me, by a friend (somewhat tipsy friend, that is) of mine. He happens to know I also love big cars, like the Audi Q7 and he pondered how this combination of wanting to have several metres of gloriously embroidered silk around me, preferably while driving a Q7, makes me "a high class woman". You can imagine I giggled at that. (But at the same time the image seems very enticing, heh.)

The Indian version of me. I should've arranged the pallu a bit better for the picture (pallu is the end part of the sari, the part that comes over the shoulder), but you get the idea. Seems that it requires a bit of practice to learn how to keep the folds of fabric in order...