It never gets any easier. Mike and I are going on vacation in Barbados so you know what that means, another respite stay (temporary nursing home stay - see Support Systems) for Muddear. As much as I love going on vacation, it always breaks my heart to leave her. I never tell Muddear until the very last minute - usually the night before. I know that makes me a shmuck, but I don't know what makes me feel worse, telling Muddear in advance and making her worry week after week; or springing it on her the night before and potentially creating a panic. Heads or tails? What is worse is that when I choose the latter option, I pretend to have already told her by nonchalantly "reminding" Muddear that I am going out of town.
Usually, after asking a few questions, Muddear accepts her fate rather easily. Typically, she wants to know things like, "Where are you going? How long will you be gone? Where am I going? Who's going to help me?" Nothing out of the ordinary. Once those questions are cleared up, Muddear is on to the next topic, while I continue to harbor guilt.
That was last night. Today was the big day and I started it guilt free. Mike bundled up Muddear and came to pick me up at work (I carpooled today) so we could drop her off together. He knows how difficult this simple task is for me and comes along for moral support. While on the way to my office, Mike calls to inform me that this morning, Muddear was a little resistant to the fact that she was going to respite care - my guilt begins to build again. Once I am nestled in the backseat of the car, I begin to bombard Muddear with light conversation and stuff her with chips. Is it obvious I am trying to reduce my guilt? Fortunately, Muddear takes it all in stride.
It seems like in a manner of minutes we arrive at the nursing home, Muddear is checked in for her stay, and it is time to bid her adieu. I think this is the point where Mike starts to feel a little guilty - the act of leaving her is always the hard part. Mike usually brings a stash of goodies and leaves them with Muddear during every stay. Today was no different; Muddear is armed with Fig Newtons, pork skins, and potato chips. We kiss her goodbye, wave our final farewells, and head home. I am a little sad...