Physical therapy - after an inauspicious start - went really well for Mom today. There was stretching and moving and I was very proud of her. We stopped at Quiznos to pick up lunch, Walgreens for a prescription refill (I called doctors and got things arranged this morning), and WalMart for knit nightgowns rather than the ones that aren't soft and stretchy.
With all our errands, we didn't arrive home until 11:30 rather than 10:30 as planned. I was eating part of a cookie when the clock said they day had moved into afternoon. I glanced over to see Mom crying, felt my stomach turn, and wrapped the rest of the cookie and tucked it in my purse. I found a spot to sit on the couch and let her bury her face in my neck, her sobbing breaths tickling my neck even as I cried on the top of her head.
"This is silly." I gasped, trying for control. "It's not like I'm leaving forever and ever. I can come back soon."
She nodded, twisting her face as she tried to stem her own tears. I clung for a moment, realized it wasn't going to get any easier, then released her with a few more kisses and murmured words, then walked to the car. I spent a great part of the drive home weeping - it was rather awful.
But I have returned home to a clean house that doesn't smell like me. It's odd. Chienne was very pleased to behold my homecoming and even braved some fireworks to sit on my lap for longer. She is now hiding and I have taken Advil for my headache and am preparing to sleep without waking up every 3 hours. In my own bed. With my own bathroom and shower. And no noises I don't choose. (Well, we still have firecracker idiots, so make that few noises.) I ordered pizza and have unpacked the few things I brought home. I basically wore 3 pairs of pajamas for the past week - Dad really kept up with laundry so I just kept cycling through. As wonderful as it is at my house, I miss Mom terribly and am struggling to transition out of being a major player in her care.
This is hard. Feeling pulled in two directions, getting used to waking at odd hours and taking care of someone then leaving, being back in a life that felt very far away and now doesn't feel right anymore. I'm a bit unsettled.
So I'll shower and read and sleep. And I'll leave you with a photo of Chienne and Little One on the couch at my parents' house from a happier trip home. Given that I saw my mother in a lot of pain on that couch, it's good to remember that it's not normally a place for illness and misery.