When are We Leaving?

[Note:  Two months have passed since I last wrote.  It has been a difficult two months during which my mother became very ill, then on August 1 she died.   At the same time,  Bo began to decline more quickly.  His memory is now gone.  He has no knowledge of Mother’s death despite the fact that he attended the Memorial service this week. I wrote the following blog at the beginning of all of this but never posted it.]

I’m beginning to dread late afternoons and dinner time. That’s when Bo gets up from a nap and his worst confusion begins. It usually starts with the question:

“When are we leaving?”

“Leaving?  To go where?”

“To go home.”

“We are home.  This is our house.”

He looks at me quizzically,  then shakes his head to clear it.

“There’s something happening to me,” he says sadly.  “I don’t understand. When are we leaving?” he immediately asks again.

I’m standing at the sink,  wondering if I should just say, “Tomorrow.”  I try to gauge the mood and some days I attempt to explain that this is where we live,  where we’ve lived for 36 years.  Other days I say we’re leaving tomorrow.

Trying to find out where he thinks he is, I ask him where we’re going.  He can’t get the words out, doesn’t remember where it is that we’re going home to.  Sometimes he asks the state, but none of it makes sense to him.

“But when did we come here?”  he asks repeatedly.

The thing is that not only is he confused and lost,  but he also keeps asking these same questions over and over.  It’s a cycle that won’t stop, but I have to interrupt the cycle some way.  Often I stop what I’m doing and say, “Let’s take the dog for her ride now.”  Maybe we can stop somewhere and eat.  Take a long walk. This helps.

The other thing that can help is if he lies back down for another nap.  He may wake up more clear-headed.

Two days ago he didn’t know me.  Kept asking me if I’d seen Nancy.  Also wanted to know if his mother knew I was living here.

This morning he wanted to know if there were other people here besides the Germans.  When I tried to figure this out by asking what other kinds of people were here, he just stopped and didn’t know what he was thinking about, and like so many other times,  the conversation just faded away.

I have developed a strategy to help myself handle the mealtime frustration.  I put the day’s crossword puzzle beside my plate, and as we’re eating and he’s asking questions,  I answer, but I’m focusing on the puzzle.   Most meals he asks me if I usually “win” and I say, “Yes.” Multitasking helps a lot.

His confusion seems like a maze to me,  a maze that he’s trapped in and can’t even verbalize.  Each direction he tries to go in becomes a dead end of lost words and ideas.

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6 Responses to When are We Leaving?

  1. maureen says:

    Loved the bit where he wanted to know if his mom knew you were living with him!

  2. Arleen Stolzenberger says:

    You and Bo are in our thoughts. What a tragic journey for you both. Bob fondly remembers the times when Bo and him would discuss shooting when everyone was together at dancing. I hope you are getting some time for yourself to reduce the stress. We will keep you both in our prayers.
    Bob & Arleen

  3. Ruth says:

    Nancy, sending sympathy to you concerning your mother. I know that is a difficult time to deal with in ones life. Mothers are such a vital entity in our lives. Hard to think time changes so much in our lives. Will continue to keep you in my prayers asking that God gives you the strength and wisdom to continue handling all that is happening in your life at this time. “Blessed be God, who comforts us in all tribulation.” 1 Cor 1:3,4.
    Do you get a chance to chuckle a little? Like when you were writing what Maureen quoted above? Think your sense of humor is still in tact evidenced by your telling it, even though, at the time of Bo’s asking you were probably a little awestruck/flabbergasted by his question.
    You write so well and interestingly. I think it is not only good for us to read, but it’s good for you to verbalize it. A plus for all of us. God bless.

  4. greg says:

    Remember Nancy, God will never give you more than you can handle.
    Much love to you both. Greg

  5. Cheryl Simone says:

    Nancy, your strength has always amazed me. And now in these very difficult emotional times you can rely again on your inner strength. Losing your Mom all of a sudden was tragic enough but losing Bo a little bit every day is some how worse. All of us are keeping you in our prayers. We pray for your inner strength to get you and Bo through each and every day.

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