Fair warning: The journaling is long and probably kind of depressing. When I saw this picture this afternoon it all just came pouring out.

Paper: Krafty Elegance kit and Naturally Krafty paper pack, both by Katie Pertiet
Alpha: Krafty Elegance kit by Katie Pertiet
frame: Kraft Cuts Frames No. 4 by Katie Pertiet
Mask: Border Die Cuts No. 3. by Katie Pertiet
Flower: Digital Pressed Petals 5 by Katie Pertiet
font: Monotype Corsiva

Journaling: I know it may seem crazy, but sometimes I wonder if coming to our wedding was what triggered everything. You were sick the entire weekend, and couldn’t even stay for the reception. After you finally got home, you were sick for months. By the end of the year, you’d been diagnosed with deteriorating disks, chronic pain, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, prostate cancer, and Parkinson’s. The pain was bad when you were lying down or standing, but excruciating when you sat. It prevented you from sitting for more than a few minutes here and there for the next 3 years. Never an easy-going man, you became sullen and angry. You had radiation therapy for the cancer and it resolved. The pain never stopped, and none of the treatments you received provided more than temporary help. The Parkinson’s progressed. You had no ability to enjoy your family or activities you’d once found pleasurable. You refused to get any in-home help, insisting that Mom do it all. And she did – despite her lack of training, her increasing isolation (because you refused to let any of her friends visit), and despite your ever-increasing outbursts and anger toward her. You began forgetting what you had done or said, but didn’t believe that when we told you. You couldn’t get yourself in or out of bed anymore.

About 5 years after our wedding, you had to be checked into the hospital for evaluation, because they thought your cancer might have metastasized to the bones. It hadn’t, fortunately. But you were abusive to the medical staff. Mom saw how difficult it was for teams of professionals to care for you. They observed – and documented, God bless them – you abusing her as well as them. They spent time talking with Mom and got her to go to a domestic violence counselor. They initiated an alert with the state that she was an “elder at risk of abuse” if you came home, and that got a social worker assigned to help her. She finally came to realize that she couldn’t care for you any more. It broke her heart. You went crazy when you were told she couldn’t care for you anymore, and that the hospital would refuse to discharge you unless you had adequate care. Finally, after much negotiation, you agreed to be evaluated for a rehab facility, to see if you could improve again. When the evaluators came, you told them that you were getting out as soon as possible, taking a hatchet, and killing Mom with it before setting fire to the house, “to go down in a blaze of glory.” After that, you were sent to a psych ward, and died less than 3 months later.

I know that your diseases caused neurological changes and dementia, that the man we saw at the end was not the “real” you. I know that you loved Mom and us. I am sorry that you felt abandoned, but have finally forgiven myself for agreeing that you needed to be hospitalized. I am so sorry that you died alone, under such horrible circumstances. I wish you could have known my children. And I miss you.