To elaborate more on what I said yesterday, once my sister came home from rehab, the care for her was pretty intense. She would be dropped off at my house before the sun came up and she'd hang out with me until dinner time. It was then that I realized, truly realized, that this was the "new" Leslie, and that's when I stopped accepting it. When she was in the hospital, I had the hope that she was improving. At home, it felt like it was God's way of saying, "Okay, she's home now, this is it!" ...and I didn't like it. She couldn't remember anything. She needed to even be reminded to shower. I had to do everything for her. It wa so strange, and so not what I wanted. Sure, I would walk to the ends of the Earth for her if it meant she stayed on this Earth longer, but it was hard to accept. It was like a light switched and I got a new, different sister. She was like a stranger to me.
As the weeks and months went on, my method of coping with my "new" sister, was to simply avoid being around her. That way in my head, I could remember her as best as possible how she used to be. But of course there were times I would see her, and those times I would get so angry. I wanted to say "Just stop it! You remember this! Why are you asking this again? Why aren't you trying?" I hated it. I hated the constant reminders of what I was being forced to accept.
Of course, this method of coping doesn't work well AT ALL. By pushing my sister away, it wasn't bringing me any closer to what she once was, because that Leslie was gone. This knowledge pushed me into a very very deep depression. The worst depressive episode I have ever had. Where just getting out of bed was a huge task. It put strains on ALL of my relationships. I was either crying or bitterly angry. The bottom line was, there was NOTHING I could do, think, or say that would make things go back to how they used to be, and I hated not having that control. I hated having that ripped away from us with no warning.
Lately, the Leslie I know is coming back. Her real smile is there and she says things she used to say. Sure, she repeats herself, but she also remembers A LOT. When I think of how far she has come this past year, it's just unreal.
Today, since my husband and kids are out of town, we went to lunch at the Oak. Later in the day, we met for dinner at Angelina's (SOOO GOOD!) and then went back to my house. We turned my kitchen, living room, and bedroom into Leslie's personal spa and we pampered her :) It was so much fun. Lots of laughing and giggling ensued. We ended it with an ice cream at Twist and Shout. Part of me leaves a night like that thinking, "Man, that was fun!" and part of my mind flashes back to the night of September 20, 2010, as I walked out of Henry Ford Main, sobbing to my mom saying "She CAN'T die! She just CAN'T! I need her!"
....I'm so happy I HAVE her.