Monthly Archives: March 2021

Slavic bones

Tonight for reasons i do not know, i feel my slavic roots. In my bones, my being.

Maybe too much to drink, or maybe the strength of my ancestors. Or both.

I feel the strength in me like my mother’s eyes, as she lay suddenly paralyzed by stroke, saying she wanted to die. I said, not having a clue in this catastrophic event, putting cream on her poor lifeless foot, I said, ignorantly, give it a try and then see what happens later.

Her paralysed foot jerked and moved, (my father saw it) and her suddenly dark eyes were spearing, boring into me, holding me, and drew me breathlessly spiraling down into generations of time.

I knew, with awe and humility and fear at this happening, I was looking into the being of the generations of strong slavic women. I am one.

Her bodily eyes were hazel.

A few years later, after wheelchairs etc, and devastatingly dementia (total left neglect is not for weaklings), she told my dad, this is no good. She began to strave herself to death on November 17th.

But it is very hard to do, when you have dementia, and can’t remember you are not eating, especially when offered food. However, to witness her strength, she did throw up an awful lot.

This was a prolonged and ugly passage.

Of course this whole story is ugly and horrid, and i have only outlined some of it. And can hardly bear to.write this much. What my sister and brother, who lived nearby, dealt with, daily.and weekly, with both our parents, is unimaginably worse.

Yes millions of families are going though these traumas.

I know we children are all scarred and it is hard to imagine how to survive this awful-on-top of awful family story. The back story need not be spoken of, nothing salicious, just normal (we kids thought) child abuse. They didn’t know and we didn’t either. Suffice to say, these days, i would call the kids help line but there was none then.

When my dearly loved father died, i went to the window of his care home rĂ²om as he lay dead, and from my mouth, unbidden unexpected unknown, came a sound, from my being, a howling grieving noise

I know it set him free. And me from him and her.

But there have been too many times lately when I dream or think on a person, and they emerge.

My slavic baba said i was the seventh eldest daughter of an eldest daughter. White witch, she said.

I know naught of all of that but now, when i aging and grieving, need their strength, i feel my slavic bones stirring.

I will be strong because i come from strong bones.

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The little guys

Watching dreadful footage mostly on bbc about the starving disgusting treatment and in another case (cbc i think) bombed and burned children, I can only remember my loved, saying over and over, all through his dementia passage, “You’ve got to feed the little guys.”

Now he too is a little guy, opening his mouth eagerly, for another spoonful.

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Once again, our dementia journey takes a little twist, as behoves the trickster with its show times (when relatives, friends, or doctors come) and crying times.

On.Monday he was so sick, so bad, wheelchair bound, completely incoherent and barely awake, on puree food (no one had told me) and choking on it, and just generally about a gazillion times worse than 2 months ago.

I left in tears, overwhelmed, assisted by an kind caregiver, and spent the next two days in wild grief and, to be horridly honest, guilt and release. Trying to deal with having to phone the funeral parlor. Unable to imagine The After.

This disease sometimes goes like that, especially i guess for dementia longhaulers. All pretty much the same for weeks or months, a slight decrease, a long time at each level of disability, and at the end, very sudden decline. Two or three months ago he was still walking and feeding himself a lot of the tine.

As a loving partner, you get used to each stage of loss of ability. And just as you think, (after shock and grieving), Okay we can live with this, just as you get comfortable, another decline, another blow.

I know many families do not even try to accompany their sick person on this journey (gut wrenching for us observing, but probably just normal reality for our ill ones). They say goodbye at the care home door and go home to grieve. Yes, i have often envied them. I do not judge because grief is grief, no matter how it comes down on you.

Anyway after all that grief the last two days, i dreaded going back to see him again on our next scheduled visit, another dinner date. I dragged myself in and pasted a smile on my face above the mask.

And lo and behold, the trickster was back.

My guy was perky, had a lot to say, and apparently, plans, saying clearly: “I want to go to Canada”- his infuriating way for years of talking about our annual trip to his old sod and family in the Madawsaka Valley Ontario.

He clearly thought the space beside the table would be suitable, and asked several times. He used the extra spoon, upside down, to scrape at the table and feed himself, quite enthusiastically. He was clear about what food he wanted (well, all of it!) and said thank you. He did not cough once.

A month ago, I had hoped for a rebound where he would walk.again, but that is just not going to happen after 2 months in the wheelchair and not trying to walk. But today he was trying to reach the usual mysterious things on the floor and used his legs to move the chair.

He called me “dabe” which is close to the babe he always called me. He even ventured what i think was my name. He very clearly counted his fingers up to eight. I remember being thrilled 2 years ago.when he counted to five.

With what relief i greet this new slight reprieve. Now, and each and every time, every stage, I am back to scheming how to help his ravaged brain, how to comfort the soul i love within.

How to.put my exhausted finger in the hole in the dyke one more time.

Trickster, dementia trickster.



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