A good friend of ours, M, came over for a visit and dinner tonight. She has known H and me since the early 80's. It was so wonderful to spend an evening with her.
H felt too ill to be up for very long and went to take a nap for a few hours.
M and I talked about where H is and what has been going on for the past few months. I assumed that H had told her what was going on, but she had no idea what was happening with the whole placement issue, his family's reaction, and my break from work. She did say that H had told her that he hadn't been feeling all that well recently (not news).
I really needed her support after being kicked (while down) by H's family, and, since I've known her for a long time, I trust her judgment. She and H had spent a fair amount of time together recently and she had stories about some odd behavior and some even odder delusions. She expressed a lot of concern about H's decline the past year or so. Yup, I see it too. I'm worried and sad too.
I was talking with her about H's family reactions to placement and all that, about how they think he is fine and able to live on his own. I was relieved to hear her say, "But he is dying, they just don't see it. It's just taking awhile and they don't see him reguarly and he tells them that he is OK, but we know he's not."
Yes. Thank you so much for your honesty and especially your courage, my friend.
I talked with her about my struggles to handle this with love for H and gather his family around him. But instead I get denial and guilt. So, I told her that instead of me worrying about his family anymore, I'm just going to focus on me and doing the right thing for H. They will either come around or not.
She had a great idea: since his family is unaware of how he really is doing all of the time, I should send out a weekly or so email that briefly outlines how he is doing. How much he's been sleeping, how he's functioning, and when necessary, lab results, any special events that happen.
I'm going to try this, but I have to hard sell this to myself as just trying to improve communication with his family…even tho' I'm still steamed at them. M's take is that after a few months of this email newsletter, their denial may begin to crack. Who knows.
I've written about forgiveness being essential…and here is a lesson for me too. I need to forgive them for their anger, guilt, and fear (I have these too) and help them see what is happening with H. And to get them to the table to talk about where H really is and how to be there for him as he makes this transition, whenever that happens.