Sunday, 19 March 2017

Live Life NOW, while you still can ! (or How I met my mother)

Checking into my hotel is not as easy as I had anticipated. I manage to bridge the 2 meters from the taxi's door to the hotel door reasonably dry, but the door is locked.  And the intercom doesn't actually connect to someone sitting inside but establishes a telephone connection to someone far away, who tells me to punch a code into a key dispensing machine right above the intercom.   I punch in the code but the machine is not dispensing a key. Gotta LOVE Germany.  The owner of the voice on the intercom says that she'll be there in 2-3 minutes.  It is still POURING. 10 minutes later she arrives (German punctuality?), opens the hotel door for me and draws the key to a different room from the key dispenser.

Now I have a room ;-)

After a much needed 2 hour nap in this sad town, I head to the local LIDL to buy provisions. It is still raining.

 The general quality and excitement of life in this town seems to correspond exactly to the mood in the above picture.  No wonder my mother never liked it here !

I tried calling my mother earlier but no one answered the phone, just before I reach LIDL, my mother calls back (apparently she had to ask a neighbour for help) and we agree to meet tomorrow morning at 9 am.   

This seems a simple endeavor, pick a time and a place, but in this case it takes about 10 minutes, which probably is a good indicator of the mental state of my mother.

Later in the evening I get a phone call from mom's neighbour who continues to tell me some of what mom has been up to.   NOT exactly things I wanted to hear.

Stress is building. I don't want to be here.  The usual solution to that?  Book a flight ;-)

Lisbon, not my pic
 After watching another episode of Bourdain's No Reservations on Netflix, I am SO VERY CLOSE to booking a quick get-away to Lisbon this week.  SO CLOSE !!!
A pleasant short dream. Why didn't I book that trip, you wonder? 
Let's just call it a sense of obligation.

                                       I'm still not entirely sure whether this is a fortuitous coincidence or a trap set by life's more sinister forces.  At a time when stress and worries seem to increase by the minute, I find myself in a region where a 1 L bottle of very decent white wine costs less than 2 Euros (see receipt!).   The label says that it contains 11.5 % alcohol, but it goes down like water ;-)

At least I have NO problems falling asleep, LOL.

OMG, I SO miss those sun rises in Phnom Penh !
7:45 am
The notice board dictates that breakfast on this Sunday doesn't start until 8 am, but there are unmistakable indicators in the breakfast room that other guests have already broken their fast and have consumed ALL the smoked ham.

This time breakfast is not included, but is charged at 5 Euros per person. But even that is very cheap for the big spread of cold-cuts and cheeses.  The attendant even asks me whether I want some scrambled egg (I decline because my pants are already getting tight ;-).

8:45 am

Time to start walking to meet my mother.  Not an easy walk because I am afraid of what I will find.


I ring the door bell and someone presses the buzzer-opener. So far so good.  Mother looks skinnier than I remember her and there is a vacant aspect to her gaze.  But then she always had that.  But after 5 minutes I realize that Dementia has reduced whatever logical brain she ever had to even less. I could never ever listen to my mother for extended periods of time because what she said just never made any sense.  In that sense not much has changed, but what she says makes even less sense now.   In addition she's lonely and yearns for human contact.  Unfortunately being around her gives me anxiety attacks.   

Just what the doctor ordered !

But after 10 repetitions of her saying that she is hungry, me telling her to eat something, her insisting that there is NO food in the house, and me opening the fridge door and showing her provisions for at least 3 days, I just need to get out of there for a while.  I walk over to the local Lidl with the objective of buying dog food (imagine the same 10 repetitions just with dog food instead of human food). 

Lidl is closed (it's Sunday and stores are CLOSED on Sunday in Germany !)

But there is a bakery right next door and I get two buns and two big pieces of Cherry Streusel.

The Streusel vanishes quickly and now she even eats food from her fridge.  The worst is that this behaviour has nothing to do with dementia, my mother was always like that, making a mountain out of a mole hill just to attract attention.

The still son-less Irish in 2014

I return to my hotel exhausted. Yes, jet-lag is hitting home again, but the exhaustion is more of an emotional than physical nature.  I start googling escapes again, in particular one which would allow me to meet an old friend and his new son and wife (the son is much newer than the wife, LOL)

Sligo,Ireland (not my pics).  I was there in June 2013, and under the circumstances it looks just what I 'need' right now. Escapism at its best (worse?).

Enough dreaming (only for now ;-).  Thankfully I fall asleep right away and sleep deeply for more than 3 hours.

6 pm. As agreed I'm at mother's door step again. 

She starts whining.  About EVERYTHING.  She always did that though.  Now she's lonely in addition to all of life's other problems.  Not easy.

And if someone asked me whether I believed that my mother is insane or demented, I'd honestly would have to say "She is as irritatingly manipulative and high-maintenance as she ALWAYS has been, only to a much greater degree!".  And Yes, I do feel sorry for her.  Sorry for her loneliness. Sorry for the fact that her independent life is pretty much over.  

What else is there to say?  Not much, and Dylan Thomas said it already a long time ago:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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