It really is: SIX whole years since all this began.
December 2 in 2008 I was a carefree English teacher in Japan with a cool boyfriend and a cat. Teaching and skiing and drinking and......
Full of responsibility. Feel I've grown up a whole lot. Now a middle aged, wife and daughter-in-law/carer/cleaner/cook/planner....
Well, I AM 53 years old. Had to grow up sometime!
Okaasan came north to live with us 6 years ago this week. Poor woman.
Well, no - actually. If she'd stayed in her own home in the Tokyo suburbs she would have been in a sorry state with a confused and dirty life. Fighting with the post office and bank about money and always looking for important things. Going out to the sports center for a bath and to the local noodle restaurant for food.
But - she would have been in her own home, with her neighbours and the area she had known for all her adult life.
Can't get away from that. We dragged her out of her familiar environment and into a place where 4 months of the year there is so much snow, it is hard to go out and walk. To a place where she has no friends or memories.
I guess that is the trade off every family makes: Familiar, but uncared for vs Unfamiliar, but cared for.
And so our 6th winter begins.
DS goes off today to start ski work. Maybe home once more this week, and then gone for a week.
And today the day center helper will come to take Okaasan out in a taxi for a visit to the supermarket and dinner preparations. The weather is really cold and windy, with snow flurries - which should reinforce the idea that "you can't go out alone today, so this nice lady is going to help you".
I'm working till after 9 pm today, so I can't see how the day care helper visit goes down. Just sit here between classes....wondering!
How long will it all go on? And when freedom comes...will we know what to do with it?
This experience has definitely aged us. Made us better people? Probably.
And Okaasan? Her condition is a little worse, of course. Not dramatic. But the independence has gone. The variety of every day she used to do. Replaced with a lot of sitting/Tv/sleeping. Conversation style: declining. Walking: declining. Personal care: declining. Interaction with the physical world around her: declining.
Overall: happy day to day.
And when there is a change of condition - whether that is a physical problem or stress with us or the world - oh boy! We see a scary change suddenly.A change into paranoia, aggression and raw emotion.
So. 6 years.....
Thankyou so much if you've been reading this blog for 6 years. Thankyou too, if you are a recent reader. I love knowing there is a support network.
Onwards into winter.