It's been just over a month since mom passed away. I don't know if I'm ever going to feel normal. It's just so strange to think about something that I want to tell her, then remember that I can't. I've been torn between moving on because she would want me to do that and feeling guilty about moving forward even just a little. I don't cry so much, in fact, I haven't felt a big need to cry much at all. Sure, I've broken down a few times, and those times have been major, but they've also been rare. I expected many more tears.
I think that she had Alzheimer's made a difference for me. It's as if I started accepting the loss before her death. Life had become learning how to adjust to her stages. I kept a running list in my head of things that I believed she would want to talk about and questions to ask her in the hopes that I could help keep her engaged as much as possible. Daddy and I had decided we'd do this long ago. I told her about work and quilting projects, chatted about "the girls" (my sisters) and their families, prayed the rosary, discussed anything that I thought might hold her interest. Eventually, we talked to her even when we knew she wasn't listening. She'd fade out and stare into space, which made telling a story rather difficult, but it didn't matter. We continued the story and when she came back and glassiness in her eyes had cleared, we'd retell the story, or answer her question, or just change the subject. What mattered was keeping her in the here and now as much as possible for as long as possible.
Maybe that's where I picked up this crazy habit I have of talking to myself--out loud. I've found that even now students will look at me funny or ask me what I'm talking about. I just tell them the truth--I talk to myself. Strangely, they've come to accept it as one of my idiosyncrasies. Oh well, I haven't had to explain my habit.
Of course, saying I don't cry much and writing this without crying, are two different things. I could not hope to get through a few minutes of thinking about her without some tears. But surprisingly, someone who can't think in quiet, can cry in silence.