It has been a very long trial. Not the kind you read about in the paper, or the kind Judge Judy hears, but an Endurance Trial, like a marathon. This started about 8 years ago and is not yet over, but it getting close. It is the decline and care of my husband's parents of which I speak.
I was not long married to Eduard, only a couple of years, when his parents started to come undone. First his father was diagnosed with Emphysema. He refused to quit smoking or use the oxygen regularly. He didn't like the lung meds and generally just ignored his condition. But it got worse fast, and soon he was having a hard time breathing without the oxygen. At one point he caught his face on fire while smoking with the oxygen on. He did finally quit smoking about 1 1/2 years before he died, but at that point, he was a total mess. His brain started to die from lack of oxygen, his lungs stopped transferring CO2 out and then it was over in 2009. That was only 5 years after the diagnosis.
In the meantime, mom in law developed colon cancer. There were operations, chemo, radiation, lots of xrays and MRIs, tests. She started in 2006 and we told her we would be there to see her through it. She made it to remission in 2008. The colon cancer had spread to her lungs and the forecast was bleak, but she was fighting hard and things looked up. Even still, she smoked like an old car- 3 cartons per week. After FIL died, MIL traveled to Oregon, went out to dinner some, but didn't really get out much. She seemed to be waiting to die even though her health was improved. In 2011, the cancer in the lungs started to grow again.
The choice of more Chemo pretty much destroyed MIL's body functions. In August she chose hospice care and went to bed to wait for the end. We visited daily, hired 24 hr. care, ran all the errands and shopping, started repairs on the house. She had a brief upturn in health, then a rather quick and continuous slide down. It ended in January.
Well, it ended for her, but we were still doing stuff. We have now gotten almost all of the work on the house done, things tossed or donated or retrieved. We have interviewed real estate agents and are prepared to sell off the assets. There are a few big items left to clean out of the garage, but for the most part, we are looking at getting our life back.
But what will that life be? I am weary to my bones from the work and disruption. I want to go someplace and just relax for a month and try to find my center again. I have a year's worth of work here, just on the yard, projects that have been on hold, people I need to contact, things to do, places to go, sheep to meet. Where is my ordinary world? How do I start putting my life back together?
It was a couple of years back that I started cleaning out and tossing old stuff. Now the garage is full again of things I don't recognize. Please tolerate this mess while I try to recover, find the floor, and clean my refrigerator and shower. Like the other house, all I can do is start at the front door and move from room to room until it is done. Hopefully, it will get done and there will be time for the hammock before the summer is gone. You have all been wonderfully patient and I appreciate that.