It is sad to say that our first four days without the AP have been good. We have finally relaxed and begun to enjoy our own company and our space without the ever present shadow looming over us.
We have come to the conclusion that although we at times over react to some situations it is simply that we can never relax and just be ourselves when the AP is here. Even when up in her room we are aware of her and when she does come down we wait for what has become the inevitable dig, at mostly me but occasionally the LSO. We have also become acutely aware of her innate snobbery, her vanity, her need to be centre stage and her criticism of others which is so unnecessary and quite cruel. We all, I am sure have some of these qualities but I would like to think, no, hope that we let our better sides rule and treat others with respect and love.
There were, in the beginning some fun times with the AP; lots of laughter and trips out but about two years ago it all changed. We have pinpointed it to her sudden decision that she was gaining weight (her vanity again) and insisted on eating only tiny meals. It came out of the blue and was nonsense but nothing we said made any difference, her mind was made up. Her stupidly small meals did result in weight loss but she made herself ill in the process and seemed to mentally change. It was only the nurse at the health centre who said her dieting was unacceptable and unnecessary as she was not overweight. But I do think it was too late to reverse the damage she had done to her mental capacity never mind the inevitable loss of muscle.
Is this what happens when we grow so old? The AP was never, as far as I know so stubborn, unpleasant or so unforgiving about others. The LSO and I have wondered about this and we have come to the conclusion that her daft eating regime did contribute to a sudden personality change and a physical deterioration but also as we age the brain struggles to cope with everything, causing confusion and fear. Because of this it uses shortcuts for expression; hence the lack of grace, the sharp voiced demand for things to be done and the centralisation of emotions. We are aware that she has hated growing older and the loss of her sight is particularly distressing and it is a sad fact that this whole situation can only get worse.
Thankfully we have some time away on the North Norfolk coast courtesy of a special friend and the dogs are coming with us. It does mean an overloaded car for a short trip which is a bit different from our bi-annual trips to Spain which involve far more pre-preparation but a lot less luggage. It will be a joy to just chill out and do a bit of revisiting of places and the discovering of new ones too. It will also be good to have a change of venue, to be away from the shadows in our own home and hopefully they will have cleared by our return.