Well mom has flown home. Back to her home in Georgia. And we have entered the first out of three stages of recovery. They are as follows:
Stage 1 - Decompression
This is the stage where each member of our family puts on their comfort clothing - old sweat pants, pajamas, robe, favorite jeans, etc - and retreats to a quiet spot in the house to do something they find enjoyable and relaxing. At the moment, Son16 is upstairs watching TV in our bedroom, Son19 is watching TV in his room, Daughter13 is watching TV in the family room, my wife is in the office on one computer listening to her favorite podcasts, and I'm hiding out with the laptop writing. This stage allows us to bleed off the anxiety and tension and can last from one evening to as much as three or four evenings, depending on the needs of each individual.
Stage 2 - Debriefing
This stage is most notable for the numerous instances where one member of the family approaches another, looks confused, and then utters the phrase "Did she really say (insert bizarre comment here)? What the hell was that?!?!" This is a real healing stage. During my mom's never ending monologue, so many freakish comments and stories poured forth. But in that particular moment, we were trying so hard to appear interested while really meditating on the dust bunny in the corner, that only now do we begin to comprehend some of what was said. And the healing comes in knowing others heard it too...that it is not a stroke-induced memory caused by the pressure of so many words pounding against our brains.
Stage 3 - Celebrating
My good friend, LD, asked today if we would celebrate now that mom was gone. Eventually. But these things must be done in the proper order. If the family went out to dinner tonight, we would sit and mutter while pushing the food around on the plate with our forks. Not until we've passed the healing of Stage 2 can we really move on to the celebration of having our life back to normal. Well, we may not be normal, but we like what we have. And it will be good to get back to that.