Monthly Archives: July 2018

Have you seen my brain?

No, seriously. I could have sworn that I had my brain just a minute ago, and now I can’t find it anywhere.

For all of you who ask questions like “When was the last time you knew you had your brain?”  I am pretty sure I had my brain last December, and I think I might have even had it for part of January. The truth is that I can’t remember the last time I used my brain, which could just be the reason that I can’t find my brain.


What can I say? 2018 has not been the best friend to me. Some years just suck more than others, and so far, this year has had more than it’s share of icky events.

My father broke all the bones in his face in late January, beginning a chain of crises and consequences that forced us to put him in into a memory care facility, a psychiatric hospital for seniors, and finally a memory care facility for seniors with behavior issues.  (read)

My friend Teri died of breast cancer in early February, only a few weeks after the beginning of my father’s multiple crises. (read this and this)

Finally, my father died in early May. (read)

I wish I could tell you that everything has been sparkling and wonderful since all the crises and tragedy have stopped, but that would be a lie. On the other hand, there has been a good deal of fun since the beginning of the year.

I went to visit my daughter and her husband in Portland in late April.  Trust me, Portland is always a good time.

My mom’s best friend came to visit us for close to a month in June and we always have fun when she’s around.

My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary and went on a sort of ‘second honeymoon’ that allowed us to revisit portions of our first honeymoon.  Then we went to San Francisco to visit our eldest daughter and RuPaul. RuPaul is utterly adorable and a total cuddlebg!  (BTW…RuPaul is our brand new grand dog.)

All in all, the laughter and fun have mixed themselves in with the sorrow. Although I have to admit that when it comes to that laughter, the majority of it comes under one heading:


You see, the laughter that I remember best happened at the strangest times and in the least likely circumstances.

I spent quite a few hours sharing hilarious stories, watching ridiculous YouTube videos, and in general cracking bad jokes with my friend Teri’s extended family, especially with her husband Andy and both of his sisters, and Teri’s brother Patrick. There were plenty enough hours of silent vigil and daily serious, tear-filled conversations. God knows there were so many difficult issues to deal with in those final weeks. The thing is that I was already good friends with Teri’s husband Andy, and you find yourself becoming fast friends with anyone who stands side by side with you in such an intense and difficult experience, so bonding with their siblings was quick and easy.  Each visit was filled with both laughter and tears, cementing our camaraderie in the face of pain and loss.

It was the perfect demonstration of bittersweet sorrow.

After my father’s fall and initial hospitalization in January, my mom and I spent hours on the phone. At that point, we were just trying to endure what seemed to be one horrible crisis after another, whether a health crisis or the realization that my father’s dementia and behavioral issues were so severe that most memory care units would refuse to admit him. His behaviors made visits very painful for my mom and me, and it was necessary for us to spend some time every day remembering the truths we knew about my father, both the good and the bad. Remembering the good often led to remembering the silly things my father used to do, which led to plenty of laughter. We found ourselves telling the same stories night after night, comforting ourselves with memories of the good times. It made it possible to go and visit him again the next day, knowing how difficult it would be for us to handle his behaviors.

After my father died, we started preparing for the funeral and going through pictures, which led to even more stories and even more laughter.  We wanted to make sure that his funeral reflected the joy and laughter in his life, and we got help from an unexpected source. Kathy, a seriously ill friend of our family, stood up at the funeral to tell a story she began by saying “I’m not sure this is appropriate, but…”   During difficult periods in her illness, Kathy frequently needed assistance with self-care, bathing, and grooming.  My father showed up at her house one day with a hedge trimmer. When she answered the door, my father said “Hey Kathy! I heard you needed help shaving your legs!”

I can’t even write that story without giggling.

God knows that I’ve laughed enough in the last few months to relieve all the tension of the first six months of 2018, so why is it that I still can’t find my brain?

I am working with a good friend on an end-of-life education project for clergy, and I am embarrassed to admit that I am seriously behind on my deliverables. Even worse, I have little to no memory of the planning and strategizing conversations that I’ve had with her over the last six months, which makes it even harder to remember what the heck it is that I am supposed to be delivering!

This is entirely uncharacteristic of me. I am not the kind of person who commits to things and then fails to deliver.

Okay…I used to be like that about 8 – 9 years ago, and then worked hard to stop overcommitting myself, which led to a much better consistency with delivery.

I find myself embarrassed to admit that despite making sure I am not overcommitted, I am still unable to consistently deliver pretty much anything except clean laundry and the occasional witty comment. After that, it’s a crapshoot.

I guess that I had hoped that my brain would return to normal after the stress of all the crises, tragedy, and death stopped.

Nope…not even close.

Grief is a process, and I have been plenty willing to take time to be sad and to allow myself to cry. You might have noticed the time I take to be sad, because it’s on Thursdays when I should be writing.

Yeah…not many blog posts for the last few months.  Thursdays come and I find myself sitting and staring at Facebook, or at my emails, or at my abortive attempts at writing that eventually get filed away under the name “Blog post STUB.” Some of those attempts are so stubby that there are barely three lines of text. Maybe one day they’ll blossom into a blog post where I string them all together and you will get to see just how dysfunctional my mind can be.

Or you could just pay attention my sense of humor and the things that make me laugh. Do that for very long and my brain’s dysfunction becomes immediately evident.

As much as I love writing, and as much as I love sharing my thoughts (and my sick humor) with all of you, the posting may be kind of spotty for a while because I seem to have misplaced my brain and I just can’t find it anywhere.  I’ve cleaned out a few closets and one of my file drawers in the process of looking for my brain, and Goodwill has benefitted massively from this process. Unfortunately, still no brain.

If any of you find any evidence of my brain, could you email me or post a comment here and let me know where you found it?