Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Surviving The Holidays When A Loved One Is Dying

The Doctors have informed my Brother that our Mom is in the final stages of Hospice Care.   This won't have been the first Holiday Season a Loved One was dying, we lost Dad just after Thanksgiving many years ago, it made for a somber and difficult Thanksgiving that year... Christmas too... and for many years afterwards Truth be told.  It's tough surviving the Holidays when any tragedy occurs... when a Loved One is dying... or if a Loved One has passed near or on a Holiday that normally is Celebrated as a Festive time of year.

Especially if you have Children there still has to be a Balance of Festivity and Normalcy to the Holidays regardless of whatever serious Issues of Life might be playing out simultaneously.  If you've never been an Actor now is the time to give the Performance of a Lifetime for their sake, if not even for your own.  A Holiday can be a Welcome distraction from Sorrowful times... and yet, it feels Weird to be Festive during Sorrowful circumstances, it's very conflicting emotionally.

You might not really be Feeling it, just going thru the Motions.   I do Enjoy the kickoff to the Holiday Season every year, I have been engaging in Enjoyable activities on purpose because emotionally I've been struggling due to the weight of various Issue of Life piling up to epic proportions.   Recognizing a struggle is important, ignoring it or pretending you aren't struggling is generally not Wise.  And yet Life cannot be put on Hold nor grind to a Stop just because things happen... unpleasant or difficult things... tragedies and challenges... it's all a part of Life.

I had woken up at 3 a.m. knowing something was Wrong... I'd had Mom on my Mind a LOT in recent days... an awful lot actually... peculiar because normally I do think about Loved Ones who aren't near, but not obsessively unless something is Wrong.   One good thing about Technology is it's instant updating if you utilize it that way and our Family tends to... so it's the first place I went to see if there were any recent updates... there was... and it wasn't Good.  In fact it was very Bad... and yet not so unexpected.

Things being what they are in our World I know logistically I have to Plan for any Crisis about to unfold on short notice.  Especially adequately preparing a Spouse with TBI for changes in his Routine, which is Epic to him... and Children for something that is always difficult to relay because it's Negative and unavoidable.  There will be Grief and range of emotions they will have to work through themselves as well.  It is my duty to be Supportive of them all whilst allowing myself the same range of emotion and Grieving Process.   So in my head I'm mapping out coverage and logistics for an Emergency turnaround Road Trip soon, probably just with The Son this time, and Coverage for the Crew to remain here in my brief absence.   Tall order economically and logistically... but we'll make it Work... I'm resourceful and adaptable about handling Crisis on the Fly, since that's typically our 'Normal' anyway.

I've got the Holiday already Covered for the Kiddos... Real Pumpkins for each to carve into their Jack-O-Lanterns, Candy for The Man to hand out to the Neighborhood Trick-Or-Treating Kiddos, Decor all up and The Young Prince could take his little Sister Trick-Or-Treating if I have to be out of Town during Halloween this year to attend to their Nanna's deathbed situation unfolding rapidly.   I'm Glad now that I got things squared away early this year, I kinda had a Knowing I would Need to... and so I did.

The only thing I'd left rather Last Minute was the picking out of The Young Prince's Pumpkin to carve into a Jack-O-Lantern.  Mostly because our temps have moved back up into the Nineties again so Summer isn't wanting to hand it over to Fall just yet and Pumpkins bought too early are spoiling rapidly.  He didn't have the Time with his busy itinerary of Practices, Games and Competitions to go pick one out with us this year for himself anyway.   There HAD been an abundance of Gorgeous Heirloom and Traditional Pumpkins at all the Stores... suddenly now there was NOT!   Ooops... that's the Risk you take of waiting until Last Minute for any Holiday Planning.

So, as I leaned over the table at the Store that had the best selection left, in my White T-Shirt and just before my Night Shift at our Antique Mall, I didn't notice the stinky spoiled Pumpkin guts all over the front of the table!  Yeah... in my Quest to get The Great Pumpkin since he insisted on the largest one I could find, I was too fixated upon the Pumpkin and now I had Pumpkin guts and dirt all over White T-Shirt less than 30 minutes before Work!   Crap, Wet T-Shirt from failed attempts to wash it out in the Ladies Room only made matters worse, now I looked like an Old Girl's Gone Wild spectacle!  *Yikes!*

Since I live out in the boonies now it wasn't like I could rush Home to change... so a Goodwill Run was in order at the 11th hour before my Shift began.  It was Senior Day with a 20% Discount and James Dean was waiting on me to throw him on myself literally *Winks* so this disaster was averted!   Cool Shirt actually, brand new with original tags in fact and at less than two bucks, Score!!!   Timing is everything... you gotta be at the right place at the right time...

And speaking of Timing, in this other Crisis about to unfold it is everything since I couldn't spend much time in Cali even once I get The Call.   You know, the one you dread getting but know is coming soon now.  This time there is no bouncing back, she's already begun shutting down... since Dad was Cared for in a Wonderful Hospice when it was his Time, we know the stages of the dying process when it is a Natural Death occurring.  It has begun, so I'm just hoping she can hang on until payday for me which is Friday Morning, so that I have the funding necessary for a bereavement Road Trip.  Lucky for me I picked up some extra Shifts recently.

And at least Sales were up and there is a check coming at the end of a financially strained Month... whew... Property Taxes in October are always that hitch during the Holiday kick-off... Taxation a necessary Evil!   That is also why I'm liquidating Real Estate holdings and cashing out now with putting any other properties we own up for Sale.   But Real Estate right now is soft due to the Political climate, crazy elections are never good for the economy.  I'm Glad tho' to have Investments to liquidate, so many do not and for them it's a very bleak situation when Issues of Life come up.

I also have the Young Prince's IEP this Afternoon... I'm actually pre-scheduling Posts so you won't be reading this in Real Time and by the time this Posts it will all be a Done Deal.   He had an extreme Anxiety Attack and deep depression this Morning and has to take a Mental Health Day Sick from School, though he's required to attend his IEP regardless.  He's dreading his IEP as much as I am... they Suck.  Every Parent or Guardian of a Special Needs Child will inform you how much they Suck and are dreaded, so I know it's not Personal, it's just the Nature of the Beast.   I mean how long can you sit up against a team of Educators stoic while they are telling you everything Negative about your Child and in front of your Child, you know?

Magic Wand and Fairie Dust not being at my disposal to wave over and sprinkle on the situation to make it all go away and provide Miraculous Healing of an Incurable serious Disability, well, whaddya even tell these people really?  We are after all Dealing with a Seriously Mentally Ill Child folks, it just is what it is... So how are we going to most Successfully Deal with it in a way that doesn't absolutely crush his Spirit, slap more Negative and often inaccurate Labels upon him like 'Lazy' rather than acknowledging the Factual Medical Symptom of a Diagnosed Illness, or derail him further than he's already gone wheels off the rails due to his Disability? 

  Those are the million dollar questions, I don't have any of the answers anymore, I've exhausted my resources, suggestions and options, frankly most of my Patience as well, so I'm not in the Mood at all right now, with everything else I'm Dealing with already.  I'm Hopeful his Mental Health Advocates and Caseworkers show up this time... Hell, I'm Hopeful all his Teachers bother to show up this time, last year they were conspicuous by their absence and lack of compliance to the IEP we hammered out!  Then they Wonder why he Fails miserably... go figure!

This time I'm even bringing a little Cheat Sheet with me to fully explain and Share the definition of a portion of his Serious Mental Illness Diagnosis to them. Since clearly most are Clueless or downright ignorant about the Mentally Ill and how to Teach or Cope with Students with this form of extreme Disability. So you have to be very specific since it's not quite so evident as when you might wheel your paraplegic Child up in the Wheelchair, so it's much more obvious what the Challenges might be to accommodate them and empathy is typically extended.

In all my years of raising two Generations of Children with Serious Mental Illness I have never once been extended an ounce of empathy or even compassion from the Educational System, nor have many other Parents or Guardians I've talked to with SMI Children.  That's just how archaic Society still is about the stigma associated with Mental Health and the discrimination and biases still very active almost everywhere that they Deal with daily.  Even as a vulnerable Child and even getting an Education they are Legally entitled to receive!

So I plan to premise said Meeting with the definition of Borderline Personality Disorder and what it actually IS.  Just so that the Label 'Lazy' isn't even ignorantly uttered this time as their uneducated Diagnosis or layman medical opinion of what is Wrong with him that needs 'Fixing'.   Unless there is a Psychiatrist amongst them, which there is not, their opinion holds little weight with me in what is actually Wrong... and he doesn't need 'Fixing' he's not 'Broken'... just so they know.   And the threats to not allow him back in School due to a legitimate serious Disability, well, Lawyer Up then coz it's gonna get spendy when I sue!   I'm not normally a litigious person, but I won't have his Rights violated and a Disability discriminated against so blatantly that it has now broken the Laws designed to protect him and others like him.


Borderline Personality Disorder is just part of his complete Diagnosis, the Poor Child has way more Disabling Baggage than that in his full Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis, but we'll just start with the one that tends to most affect functionality in everyday life and especially Educating him.   It is a serious mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others.  Causing problems functioning in everyday life.  It includes a pattern of intense unstable relationships, distorted self image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.  It causes instability of Mood and makes it difficult to complete Schooling, maintain stable employment or have long lasting healthy relationships.  There are strong feelings of anxiety, depression, worry and suicidal ideology.   Any questions?  {Insert room falling Silent.}  It's not like the Child WANTS to have this Baggage, he's just been saddled with it, it's the hand he's been dealt.

Clearly they're not going to get me on my Best Day, with my Mom dying and all to contend with... so it's really gonna Suck to be them if they play me Hard during this IEP Meeting or make him unduly Anxious and Upset by attacking him in front of me.   I'd play me Soft, but hey, if they're Feeling like they wanna go to the Mat for Educational Smackdown 2016 regarding the Case of Prince D, fair warning that I'm quite scrappy when I Need to be and I don't fight fair, fair is rare and I fight to Win any way I can.  Advocating for my Loved Ones to protect them from abuse and illegal victimization against them is something I take as Seriously as a Heart Attack coz there is too much at stake to risk negligence or indifference by others.

So that's the Score and I'm Hopeful I don't have to go over to the Dark Side of my personality at the Meeting for his IEP re-evaluation?  I've decided not to pre-schedule this Post after all but to Post it in Real Time as a second Post of the day.  But later on so you can fully Enjoy the initial Post of the day that was more Upbeat and Cheerful.   Then Tomorrow we'll get back to the Fluff of Life in a Post that is already pre-scheduled out for our Good Time Blogging Journey Together.   Mingling in the Fluff with the Stuff of Life, that's just how it often plays out doesn't it?   It's actually how you survive the Holidays... or any day really... when a Loved One is dying or other such Tragedies and Challenges that we will come up against... and if you doubt that... well... just keep on Living.


Coming to you from the Arizona Desert... where I Predict it's gonna be a tough somber Holiday Season for our Family this year and will take determination to make it Festive and somewhat 'Normal'... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. No matter how old your mom is or how long she has been sick, when you get the news it is like someone punched you in the stomache as hard has they could and it leaves you gasping for breath. Keep blogging. It is free thearpy. PS I am shedding a few tears for you.

    1. Thank you my Friend, I appreciate your condolences during this difficult time and I know that when the one who brought me into this World leaves it, there will be a profound void like no other. Dawn... The Bohemian

  2. Sorry about your situation.
    I remember having a couple of holidays like mom passed the friday before easter one dad starting behaving strangely and was diagnosed with dementia right before Halloween 15years later..the years between made no difference either...
    I hope you take care of yourself during this difficult time,
    lean on your family, breathe and focus on anything positive.
    big hugs to you and yours.

    1. Yes, Mom has ended up with the full blown dementia and Parkinsons on top of all the other ailments she has battled for years so she's had a very profound amount of suffering in this Life. My most Positive thought is that when she is absent from the body and present with the Lord, all suffering and pain will be a thing of the past and she will finally be Free and have relief. Thank you for the condolences, those with a point of reference know that a Loss or Tragedy around the Holidays is particularly difficult. Dawn... The Bohemian

  3. My mother had Parkinson's for many years. She passed away in March 2015. My thoughts are with you. Your answer to incipient wings' comment is very much the same as mine was when Mom died. I am sorry this is happening for you, especially just as the holiday season is gearing up.

    1. Thankfully Mom has only been suffering from both the Dementia and the Parkinsons for a relatively brief period of time, it was just a lot more on an already difficult Journey for her since she's had very poor health since she was about forty years old and now is in her eighties. At some point the body just can only weather so much. I appreciate the condolences and I'm sorry about your Mom suffering for many years before finally being Free. Dawn... The Bohemian

  4. Having fought for a child with borderline genius intelligence but a learning disability...I kinda know what you mean. Also have been in education, I understand the difficulty with dealing with 'all' children in a large and sometimes crowded classroom. I hope you succeeded in surviving your meeting and he will have the proper education and assistance he needs at this time. And I hope your mother's journey is a smooth one. Thoughts with you all, Sandi

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